If you have spent any amount of time expressing breast milk with an electric pump, first of all: hug me, for we are sisters. (I'll hug you gently, as I don't want to hurt you if you're engorged.) Secondly, I feel you, because pumping is the worst. No doubt you could gather in a group of other parents who have done the same and go on about the annoyances and peculiarities of pumping all day long. (You probably wouldn't want to, but you could.) One weird thing many moms have told me? Things their breast pump "said" to them.
Any parent will tell you that the cruelest thing you can do to a mom, dad, or caretaker is give a child a noisy toy. I once actually cried saying "Who the hell gives a 4-year-old a harmonica?!" as my son ran around my living room blowing into the damn thing as hard as he could. It had been a hard day. While listening to a pre-schooler beat a drum or artlessly strum a guitar is annoying, you can at least comfort yourself by thinking "Well, exposure to instruments is good and may help nurture an early love of music." The really horrible ones are the electronic toys that make the same loud, tinny noises over and over again, but here's the catch: it's not just toys.
Baby items, even items meant to soothe a child to sleep, can wind up making repetitive noises that, after enough time and exposure, begin to sound like human language. My kids had a swing with a noise machine on it that sounded like it was saying, "Tell Minnie Driver!" over and over and over. (Tell her what, baby swing?! What do I need to tell Minnie Driver?! Is she in danger?!) In my conversations with other parents, breast pumps are far and away the most notorious culprits of this phenomenon. I asked other moms what their breast pump "said" to them and got some, well, interesting answers...
"Red Rum! Red Rum!"
Celie, you in danger, girl. Throw that demon pump in the garbage and burn some sage.
"Mean Mommy! Mean Mommy!"
Wow. That is also pretty disturbing. What's with all these ominous breast pumps?!
"Also, when I told my husband my pump talked to me he about had me admitted. [But] mom's get it!"
We do indeed, Arica! We do indeed!
"Mine repeated different things every time I pumped. I could evaluate my state of mind by what it was. My favorite was "Bacon" and the worst was "Robert did it" because I don't know a Robert and freaked myself out."
Maybe Robert is the guy who's going to bring you some bacon, Marcie!
"I never heard anything, didn't realize this was a thing!"
Oh, it's a thing, Renée, you just have to be willing to hear it...
"'What a boob, what a boob, what a boob...' both my husband and I heard it."
Well, at least your breast pump was cleverly keeping in theme.
"'Monkey, monkey, monkey!' I thought it was just me!"
Definitely not, Marissa. You're not crazy: the breast pumps are all talking to us, telling us very important things, like "Monkey, monkey, monkey," apparently.
"The sound of my breast pump was like nails on a chalk board to me, I'm cringing just thinking about it! Mine varied depending on what I was thinking about, but usually turned into something like 'I hate you, I hate you, I hate you' but then I'd realize that was me, talking to the pump/metronome."
"'Milk-eeee, milk-eeee, milk-eeee!' It's what my kiddos call nursing/breastmilk."
Like Samantha, your pump had a very clear sense of purpose, obviously.
"Mine said 'milk milk milk milk' in a low creepy tone."
I didn't know the word "milk" could sound sinister, but I will take your word for it, Sandra.
"Mine said 'f*ck you, f*ck you. f*ck you.'"
I hope you said "F*ck you" back! Because seriously: f*ck that rude-ass breast pump!
"'Weirdo.' My husband would hear it, too."
So does that mean the pump was gently mocking you and your husband, Kristin? And, really, who is a breast pump to call anyone a weirdo? You're the weirdest machine on the planet, breast pump!
"Ugh. Ugh. Ugh." Or maybe that's just what I was thinking? I exclusively pumped for both kids.
"I swear that thing said 'pizza.' Pi-ZZA, Pi-ZZA, Pi-ZZA...over and over. Any doubts I ever had about the power of subliminal messages vanished when I started pumping because, without fail, I would crave pizza after I did it."
Do you really need someone to tell you to crave pizza, Sarah? Because I don't even need the whiff of a suggestion. I'm pretty much in a perpetual state of wanting to eat pizza, eating pizza, or wondering when I will be able to eat pizza.
"'Yucky' and 'Black olives'."
This is a smart pump: black olives are very, very yucky (in my humble opinion).
"Mine said 'Murder'!"
Clearly Celie and Darlene need to get together to form some kind of support group/protection circle. Unless, of course, this is the beginning of the rise of the machines. In that case nothing can help us: we're all doomed to a robot apocalypse where those of us who are spared will be forced to serve our metal overlords. Fortunately, those of us who have pumped are used to serving a horrible machine.