Pumping is the stupidest thing ever. I hate it. Hate it so much. If it wasn’t for the fact that there’s apparently a million benefits to breast milk for the baby and it’s given me the metabolism of a teenager, I’d take my Medela pump out back and throw it in the garbage.
I know breastfeeding and formula feeding each have their difficulties, but here are six reasons why pumping is the worst, and why I will be counting down the days until I can kiss these stupid pumps goodbye! (41 weeks if I make it to a full year).
1. Counting Ounces
The first problem with pumping milk for your baby is trying to figure out how much to give them. When I first started exclusively pumping, I acted like I was a god damn mathematician trying to figure out a complex equation. “If baby equals 2 weeks old and I pump out 3 ounces, how many ounces should I give her before a train comes and I jump on it and run away from home?” The benefit of breastfeeding straight from the boob is that while it is a big mystery of how much the baby is getting, which can be a bit stressful in making sure she has enough, you don’t have to guess how many ounces to put in the bottle. And while formula fed babies’ parents are going through the same calculations, throwing out an extra ounce of formula, while expensive, isn’t as painful as throwing out hard earned milk. Every time my baby finishes eating and leaves extra milk in the bottle, I revert to sounding like my own mom when I wouldn’t finish eating her meatloaf, “I slaved over a hot breast pump machine to make you a nice delicious meal and you are going to finish it!” but then I immediately relent as overfeeding is just a big of concern as underfeeding. While some babies will have very distinct cues as to when they are full (relaxed hands, turning away, simply stop drinking) some babies (such as my kid) would drink a 24oz bottle if you put it in front of them, leading to the over-obsession of portion control. Subtract the amount of hours you sleep to the calculation, and you have a day full of confusion.
2. Cleaning Bottles
How. HOW is it possible for one baby to take up the entire top rack of the dishwasher on a daily basis? With around 8 feedings a day in the first month, it makes sense for 8 bottles. But with a pumper, you have even more bottles to clean if you are pumping each boob at the same time. That’s math I can’t do! No matter how much I try to plan it out, at some point every day I am frantically loading the dishwasher while busting out the Medela quick steam bags just to get the next session in before my boobs explode. Which leads me to the next issue-
3. Boob Pain
When my husband asked me if it hurt to use the breast pump, I was apprehensive as to how to answer. Having gone through giving birth- the highest example of pain, it is hard to describe anything else as ‘painful.’ And while it’s not as sharp of a pain as having a human come out of your body, it is highly uncomfortable. What’s worse is that it is a pain that is scheduled multiple times throughout the day, so you know it is coming. By the time I reach for the pump dial at the end of the day, I am making the same sad baby face that my newborn makes every time the pacifier falls out of her mouth.
4. Milk Stains
I am constantly covered in milk, all day every day. No matter how many baby wipes, Kleenexes, and wash clothes I have within reach, I always manage to get milk drops on me and the surrounding area. Although it’s not a lot in quantity, it feels like someone just took out a gallon of milk from the fridge and dumped it all over the room. Actually, that would be preferred over human milk, which I don’t care how magical it is for baby, is definitely grosser to have spilled on you as opposed to pasteurized cow’s milk. Now I know why moms’ like taking baths so much- it is because for those brief moments they are not covered in milk.
5. Glued to the Pump
Before I got wise and splurged on a hands-free pumping bra, I was paralyzed for 15 minutes, 7 times a day in the first few weeks of my baby’s life because I had to hold two suction cups up to my boobs. I couldn’t even hold anything, unless I awkwardly did the one arm hold to keep both of the pumps in place, which never worked well and usually resulted in one falling off. The day I strapped on my pumping bra I felt like I could fly- or at least hold a book to read while I was sitting around pumping out milk. But even with two hands, you’re still glued to the pump for the duration, which when you are sitting there, feels like an eternity.
6. The Noise
A simple thought that constantly comes to mind while I am making nutritious meals for my child is, “WHY CAN THEY PUT A MAN ON THE MOON, BUT NO ONE THOUGHT TO MAKE A SILENT BREAST PUMP?!” The sound- which sounds something like a whiny dryer, is so freaking annoying. My pumping sessions would improve 60% if I didn’t have to listen to the constant whu-WHAA whu-WHAA whu-WHAA every time I turned on the pump. My biggest hope for my daughter is that when she is a mom the world has advanced enough to offer her a silent pumping machine so that she can sit happily with my granddaughter while she pumps. And for her to be happy and healthy and stuff. But mostly the silent pump thing.