When I was pregnant, I figured using a breast pump was something I would do on occasion after my baby was born. I just assumed my breasts would produce bountiful, thoroughly overachieving quantities of milk for my baby, and that since I would be (naturally) excelling both at parenthood and my career, I might find it necessary and convenient to quickly hook myself up to the pump, effortlessly squeeze off more-than-enough ounces to keep my kid fat and thriving. I didn't stop to consider the lowkey irritating things your partner will do when you're pumping, or really any other annoying aspect of hooking your body parts up to a goddamn machine. I was really optimistic during my pregnancy, and my thoughts about my relationship with my breast pump were as rosy as my thoughts about everything else my post-pregnancy life would be like.
I'm sure I don't need to tell you that the reality of, well, all of it was so laughably removed from my expectations. When the baby was earthside and it was go time, my boobs were not even remotely bountiful and I was glued to my pump every few hours in a very uncomfortable attempt to keep my massive baby fed. And that was fine. It was hard work, but it was work I was willing to do. What was slightly less tolerable were all the weirdly annoying things my partner would do while I was pumping.
In his defense, he probably had no idea that any of these innocuous things were bugging the hell out of me — but they were. So to help further education the non-pumping masses, here are a few things that the pumping mom in your life would almost certainly rather you not do:
Talk To You
If I have to literally milk myself with a machine, the least you can do is respect the fact that I'm trying to mitigate my suffering by getting through a few chapters or finish the podcast I've been trying to listen to for a week now. Don't make me listen to your voice. It and everything else is annoying right now.
Ask You To Hold The Baby
Hey, how about while I forcibly expel food for the baby, you just, like, keep it alive for a few minutes. Fun fact: extremely hard to hold a baby when you're hooked up to a breast pump. Just... handle it.
Ask You A Question
It's hard to describe the specific discomfort of being attached to a breast pump, but it's a kind of discomfort that makes your brain sort of... not work as well. At best, you're distracted and shouldn't be quizzed on anything, whether it's the whereabouts of the remote or, god forbid, something more complicated. Whatever it is, it can wait until pumping time is over.
THIS IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT, DUDE BRO. No one needs to remember my breasts like this. I don't even want to remember them like this. Erase it from your mind. Most women want privacy while pumping, even if they're the type who will whip out a boob and feed their kid in front of Congress if necessary.
Make Jokes About Pumping
I. Will. End. You.
Bring Up Sex
There is no time when your body feels less like a vehicle for sexual pleasure than when you're pumping. It's so aggressively utilitarian. "You are here to make food, and by god, we're getting that food out of you by any means necessary, food machine."
Make A Lot Of Noise
Listen, if you can't keep the rest of the house relatively peaceful while we're pumping, how the hell do you expect us to space out to the mechanical, rhythmic sounds of the breast pump reminding us that we are closer to being a robot than we ever wanted to be?
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