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Before I was pregnant, I wasn’t sure I’d breastfeed my children at all. I have epilepsy, which means that if I don’t have enough sleep my brain literally short circuits. I wasn’t sure that if I had to be the primary source of food for a baby that I’d also be able to stay, y’know, conscious. When Paulo was born, I figured we’d try it and aimed for a 50/50 split. It was remarkably smoother than I had thought it would be. There is one and only one thing that I do not love about exclusive breastfeeding.

The pump.

The stupid g-ddamn stupid awful stupid pump. That is stupid.

I didn’t buy one before Paulo’s birth as I was advised by my neurologist to sleep through feedings if someone else was caring for him rather than waking to pump. Also, since I wasn’t going back to work, it didn’t occur to me that I’d really need it at all ever. Then in the second week there was a cracked nipple issue. I couldn’t nurse at all, it was just too painful. So. Went to Target and got a cheapo electric pump so that I could empty the boob without wincing in pain. It did its job – it got us over that hurdle and allowed my nipple to heal before subjecting it to Whuffle’s gaping maw again.

The only other times I’ve needed to use it have been that one time when I was making an airport run during the wedding week and did not bring The Whuff along to avoid my boobs exploding (which they nearly did anyway) and to do the famous pump and dump.

I don’t drink or do any exciting drugs, so the occasions for pumping and dumping have been few and far between. And mostly onion related.

Today was another one of those days. My mama had come down yesterday to hang out with The Whuff while I went to the dentist (OH JOY) and made some boeuf bourguignon for Nuno & I to have for dinner. I couldn’t see them or even taste them, but hidden there in the delicious gravy. Onions. Not having seen them, I didn’t think anything of it when nursing Paulo this morning. Or eating the leftovers for lunch. Or nursing him after that. He was a bit cranky today, but I figured he was just in a bad mood.

Until around 6PM when he’d been SHRIEKING inconsolably for hours and nursing wasn’t helping. Unlike last time, he wasn’t rejecting the boob. It just was distinctly not helping. So, I called my mama to see what to do in the absence of other symptoms. Truly, this wasn’t like The Whuff at all to be that upset and I was thinking that perhaps he had reflux. I even called the pediatrician as my gut was telling me that something was not at all right with my poor Whuffle’s tummy. Again, given the incognito nature of the onions the stew, I didn’t think of that as the source of his troubles. Thankfully, my mama did remember that there were indeed onions hiding out in there and she thought it would be ok since they were very, very well cooked. (To the point where I couldn’t even taste them.) Guess not.

The pediatrician agreed that this was probably what all the fuss was about and so, my evening included a hot date with the breast pump to pump and dump.

And lo, the Whuff felt better. And lo, I did not.

Most of the reason I hate the pump (other than being cumbersome, annoying, and loud) is that it makes me feel like shit. Every single time I use it, I feel awful afterwards. This time, I had to pump both boobs to flush out the offending onion milk and by the time I was finished, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. Headache. Nauseated. And I don’t know what it does to my hormones, but there’s something about the pump being unnaturally forceful that I always feel both on the verge of tears and about to light everyone on fire afterwards. It’s best to just keep your distance. I totally, totally could not pump every day.

And yet, some mamas do. Lots of mamas. How on earth do you ladies manage this? Am I the only one who gets physically ill from that stupid thing? Am I Doing It Rong? Is there some better pump that would lick my boobs with kittens or something?

Thankfully, we don’t have to problem solve this one very often. Onions are easy enough to avoid (when not slipped into my food surreptitiously by well meaning Omas that is) and we’ve structured our schedule around my being able to breastfeed on demand. One thing I totally look forward to once Paulo weans is dumping this stupid g-ddamn pump.

(By which I mean, dumping it in a box for Eventual Second Baby, but still. It’ll be a dramatic dumping.)

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