These are the words my sister said as she handed me her Medela Pump In Style double electric pump. She had used it to express milk for her twins in 2006 and she was passing it on to me in 2008 for my oldest son. I didn’t realize how much she meant that this “machine” would really be my best friend.
I started using the pump when my son was about two weeks old, as I was trying to build a freezer stash for when I planned to return to work and for an occasional evening away from the baby. I felt like I needed a tutorial on how to use it, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone for help. Where do I put the shields? What setting do I use? How long should I pump for? When do I pump? What do I do with the milk it’s expressed?
My first pumping session yielded less than an ounce – very discouraging. I began to maneuver my way through the speed settings, the vacuum level settings and I became a pretty efficient pumper. I learned to set everything up quickly and always have a spare of EVERYTHING just in case I didn’t have time to sterilize all the parts in between pumping sessions. I learned how to relax and let the pump do the work so that I could think about more important things in my life as a new mom – my new baby.
I pumped in the mornings before everyone in my house woke up. I could have a few minutes of “quiet” time, just the sound of the pump and whatever DVR’d television shows I could catch up on. At home, I pumped on the couch in the living room, in the master bedroom, at the kitchen table, at the dining room table. At work, I pumped in my office with the door closed. Sometimes I could check my email or even take a conference call (if I was cognizant enough to press mute, of course).
When I traveled, I could take the pump with me. I found that I could remove the actual pump from the messenger style bag and put it in a cooler-type bag so that everything was in one tidy place. I was able to fit the pump in a large tote bag when I needed to head into the city for a bachelorette party. I can put the pump in my computer bag while traveling for work, even in a larger purse for day trips with the kids and my friends.
Bringing my breast pump with me everywhere I went reminded me of my Cabbage Patch doll when I was a little girl. My parents have photos of me with the doll in various settings – at the park, in the house, in the backyard. The doll was my best friend at that stage of life, and now in my breastmilk-making days, my Pump In Style appropriately became my best friend.
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