You Will Never Appreciate Your Crummy Old Breast Pump Until You Lose It
I will never forget the last time I laid eyes on my breast pump. I gave it a nasty look and said, “Ugh, you stupid thing.” I wish I had been nicer to it. I wish I had appreciated it more, because now it is gone, and I miss it more than I thought possible.
Breast pumps suck. It is great that they exist, but they are just awful to use and drag around and clean. Everyone who uses them is probably grateful that they exist in general, but full of loathing for their individual pumps. I know I was.
I took my pump with me on vacation this week, because I was traveling without the baby and I wanted to pump to both keep production going and to be able to store up what was expressed for the days I was away. Unfortunately, I did not plan properly and bring enough storage, so I wound up having to throw about 20 ounces away. That’s part of why I was so mad at the pump when I stuffed it in my suitcase on Tuesday without even bothering to clean it.
But Tuesday night someone stole my suitcase, and my pump with it. When I realized it was gone, I panicked. The baby had eaten my entire freezer stash in two days, and I was desperate to start replenishing, lest I go back to being on a very short, metaphorical baby leash like when she was a newborn.
A pump, luckily, is a relatively easy thing to come by. I had a new one by the next morning. It looked fancier than my old one. It was pink and flashy and had a special rubber “comfort” seal around the cup. It was all smooth and sleek and streamlined.
“Sweet!” I thought. “An upgrade!”
Then I used it. My new pump is an asshole. It looks all sturdy and colorful and fancy, like it was some kind of smug, high-performance, asshole pump. But it squeaked. The flange was too short. It was pink, so I couldn’t see anything that was happening inside. And when I used it, nothing happened! The fancy new pump is the worst. Learning its finicky nature is like learning to breastfeed all over again. The old pump sucked, as all pumps do, but it sucked in ways I was used to. I knew it was leaky and fell over a lot and came detached if I looked at it funny, but it was mine.
I miss my shitty old pump more than I thought possible. I knew how to hold it upright, attach the container so it didn’t leak, and specifically how to position and reposition it to get the most milk out. They say you don’t know what you have until you lose it. I did not realize that aphorism applied to breast pumps.
And now I’m glad I didn’t wash it before I put it away, because I hope whoever stole it gets gross old breast milk all over himself, because that will serve him right.