This was advice from my friend Marnie, the only breastfeeding mom I knew when I had my oldest son in 2008. Sure, my mom had breastfed me back in the late 70’s but she didn’t have advice about breast pumps. My lactation consultant was straight from La Leche League and warned me I should wait to breast pump, so I was taking Marnie’s advice about pumping.
I bought the smallest one I could find at Babies R Us, knowing that I would need to shove it into a purse or diaper bag during my return to work and any business trips, travel plans, or wedding events I’d need to attend. I chose the Dr. Brown Manual, which looked like this:
My friend assured me I would get used to the style of it, and that if I did it consistently it would work well for me. She said she used hers in her office before a work meeting, in her car before a dinner event, and even in her hotel room between seminar sessions when she was traveling. She loved that it traveled well, wasn’t bulky like the double electric pump she had at home, and it could fit easily in her work bag.
Initially, I found it difficult to use: if the positioning wasn’t just right, I couldn’t easily achieve the “let down” like I could with my double electric version. I found I needed to frequently switch hands to keep my muscles from cramping, but Marnie continually reassured me that my muscles would adjust to the repeated pumping and that I would be able to more easily express milk the more frequently I used it.
Even with the tired muscles, I definitely appreciated the benefits of my manual pump. I could quietly pump during a conference call and not worry about distracting the other parties. I didn’t need to bring cords, adapters, or tubes because it was such a simple unit and I loved that I could take it apart and carry it in my laptop bag, and then store the expressed milk in my lunch bag – which eliminated my need for a separate pump bag to carry to and from work.
I brought this pump with me to family functions, date nights, client meetings. It wasn’t as cumbersome to load and lug as my electric version and I could easily store it in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag “just in case”. I was happy I had this pump handy when my trusty electric one suddenly wasn’t functioning and I was desperately trying to express milk one night when my oldest baby wasn’t feeling well. I was also able to use it to quickly express a small amount to relieve engorgement, and allow my baby to get a better latch and more successfully nurse.
Because it’s non-electric, a pumping mom is not restricted from using a manual breast pump on an airplane (in flight) or having it scrutinized through security. I’ve had my electric one checked for explosives in the security checkpoints multiple times, but the TSA agents simply nod their heads when they see the manual one. This alone can save time, energy, and even aggravation as you’re traveling.
Thank you to Marnie for educating me on having more than one pump and sharing her own Adventures in Breastpumping with me all those years ago because they certainly are still applied today.
Please like and share MomsPumpHere.com to help other moms find safe, secure places to express their milk – and Happy Pump Day!
Thank you for contributing to the Moms Pump Here community. We welcome any inquiries and feedback from you, just contact us here. Feel free to Share Stories about your adventures in breast pumping submitting a blog post!
“What IS that NOOOISE? My Goodness, it sounds like a machine in here.”
I heard this exclamation as I cowered in one of the two bathroom stalls at a wedding reception. I tried to put a receiving blanket over the pump to quiet the motor. No luck.
“Whoosh-whoosh, whoosh-whoosh.” I was hiding – in a beautiful strapless black bridesmaid gown, hoping no one knew I was pumping breastmilk for the baby before the DJ announced the bridal party. I had been away from the baby for nearly six hours (hair, makeup, photos, church, receiving line) - I felt I was going to explode from my strapless dress and certainly distract attention from the bride, so I had desperately begged for my pump and hurried to the guest ladies’ room to (ahem) relieve my discomfort – and provide nourishment for the baby.
“It’s a breast pump – I’ll be done in a few minutes.” I explained from behind the stall.
“Really, what on earth is that noise? What is going on in here? Maybe we should call someone.”
Oh, geez. I crouched further behind the door. Hurry up and let down, Boobs. Get the job done so I can excuse myself and let these ladies pee in peace.
I fill two drop-ins with breastmilk, pack up my cooler and bag, re-fit my strapless nursing bra and fix my dress – open the stall door and introduce myself to the inquisitive lady in line – the groom’s grandma.
We are getting ready to celebrate my oldest son’s 5th birthday this week, and I am finishing up pumping for my youngest son who also celebrates his first birthday this week. My husband and I did the math. Amazingly, for the past five years, I’ve been pregnant/nursing/pumping for more than 90% of the time I’ve been a mom!
I think back about my Adventures in Breast pumping and I really have to laugh at the places I have brought out my trusty pump. From starting out on my couch watching trashy reality TV to becoming a professional pumper and feeling comfortable enough to pump on a flight from Jackonville FL to Baltimore during a snowstorm, I’ve become best friends with my pump.
Hopefully, other moms can learn from and laugh at these Adventures in Breast pumping! Happy Pumping!