No, not your American Express card. Your breast pump. Your electric breast pump. Because here’s what happened when I did…
My husband Jason and I were headed to New York for the weekend. We were leaving our 2-year-old son and 5-month-old nursing daughter in the capable hands of Susie, our life-saving baby sitter. I packed all the cute clothes I could fit into and headed for the airport. I felt so relaxed, sitting in the terminal, reading a magazine. We boarded our plane and took our seats. Then I remembered.
“Oh no! Jason, I forgot the pump.” Not just my pump. THE pump. The miraculous little machine that gathers those drops of gold to be frozen for baby. The pump that let mommy go out with her friends last Thursday night. The pump that gives a few extra hours of sleep when early-rising Dad takes a feeding. The pump that enables a nursing mom to take a weekend getaway to New York. THE pump. And we had just begun our six-hour flight.
I was more than mildly uncomfortable by the time we reached the eastern seaboard. I informed Jason that our first order of business was to find a breast pump. He dropped our luggage and me at the hotel and took off in a taxi. I raced to our room and jumped in the shower, seeking relief. When I began to prune, I got out and waited.
And waited. And waited. After about an hour and a half, my very visibly frazzled husband returned.
“Did you get the pump?”
He opened a brown paper bag, inside which was a manual pump. As I frantically fumbled with the pump, he relayed his adventure of multiple taxi rides to three different “grocery/drug” stores, all with vendors amused by his predicament, but none of whom actually carried a breast pump. He found this manual pump on his fourth try.
For those of you who have not used a manual breast pump, it is not quite the experience of an electric. The comparison in Barbie’s “The Princess and the Pauper” movie comes to mind: Princess Anneliese has her breakfast brought to her on a silver platter in bed, while her look-alike Erika must retrieve the eggs from the chicken coop for herself. On the upside, I was building strong biceps.
I somehow survived New York City with my manual pump. And when I returned home, I immediately purchased the Medella Pump In Style Advanced, upgrading from my single handheld electic to the double-pumping pump with two phase expression. Although it is primarily advertised as the pump for the working mother, I’d argue that it is the pump for every mother. We are all working, and at least at this one thing, it would be nice to be able to work a little less.
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