As of yesterday, here is what I knew about breastfeeding/breast pumps:
As of today, here is what I know about breast pumps: it falls into the same exact category as every single other baby item/topic of “it is never, ever, EVER as easy to understand as it seems like it should be.”
Now, my husband works for a company that happens to have a ridiculously generous (for our times) program that gives out breast pumps to expectant mothers and spouses who are expecting as well. It is incredibly generous and something that I want to take full advantage of. I should have known something would be amiss because the scariest thought of all baby-related thoughts popped into my head: “this will be so easy and great!”
Protip: if you ever have this thought about anything to do with babies and/or baby products go ahead and stab yourself in the eye with a spoon. It will be less annoying than what you will inevitably have to endure.
I like to compare the breast pump to the stand mixer on your wedding registry: everyone has a different opinion on how much use you’ll actually get out of it, but it’s a big ticket item that no registry would be complete without, unless you already have one. I thought this analogy was especially apt since I did have a stand mixer already when I got married, so how perfect would it be that I could already have the breast pump, too! ADORBS, RIGHT?!
I am now going to take you through a step-by-step guide on how to obtain said breast pump.
1. Fall in love with a storage system called Kiinde that direct-pumps into measured bags that have a timed heater that automatically shuts off so it can’t overheat the milk and that also fit directly into a bottle that is supposedly some sort of godsend bottle that works better than normal bottles. Clearly. This is step one.
2. Register for the Kiinde and brag to your mom about how much better stuff is now than when I was born. Be secretly smug about this product you’ve “found” and what a genius you’ve become. Read reviews and fall more in love.
3. Ask your husband to talk to his company’s HR about said breast pump and/or paternity benefits/leave.
4. Wait 2 weeks for number 3 to happen.
5. Remind your husband to talk to his company’s HR about the breast pump and/or paternity benefits/leave because, for really real, he should probably get acquainted and we need to probably get a move on this in case they need a certain amount of notice.
6. Wait another week and a half for number 5 to happen.
7. Get extremely annoyed at your husband for dilly dallying and being embarrassed to ask about anything from HR. Get more annoyed when husband accuses you of having a pregnancy mood swing. End argument with him buying you a Wendy’s Frosty. Pretend that was your plan all along.
8. Have your husband ask HR only to have them tell him there is no such thing as a free breast pump from his company and the HR person had never heard of this.
9. Pull up press release from the company talking about the free breast pumps and rehash argument from number 7, only without the Wendy’s Frosty.
10. Call insurance company to ask about the breast pump. Have them give you the number of the company with which your husband’s company has a corporate breast pump partnership and whose number should have been given along with all maternity/paternity benefits by the HR person.
Note: I still have literally 0 idea how this is used and still think all breast pumps look like the suction device Count Rugen uses on Wesley in the Princess Bride movie.
11. Call breast pump company (that only works during Pacific Coast hours, obviously) and then have them verify through your husband’s company that your husband works there. Start to become mildly excited because the breast pump they give you is a $600 hospital-grade breast pump, so there’s a chance that this might be worth it after all. (The pump is made by a company called Limerick and the pump is the “PJ’s Comfort Standard.” I am sure that I will be reviewing it at some point later on down the road because hey, free $600 breast pump, amIright?)
12. Out of a masochistic curiosity, look up the Kiinde again and the brands with which it is compatible.
13. Re-read list, making sure that your realization of this free $600 breast pump you have just spent the better part of a day reading about and/or trying to track down is not on the list.
14. Contact Kiinde customer support out of desperation.
15. Receive email back from Kiinde very kindly explaining that no, you cannot direct pump Limerick’s PJ’s Comfort Standard into the Kiinde bags because a) the thread is unique and b) the Limerick pumps do not use valves (valves?! what the hell is he talking about? I barely know what a valve is, let alone how they apply to breast pumps!) and so the direct-pump Kiinde bags that are so convenient and awesome supposedly collapse with this system.
However, the very nice Kiinde email goes on to explain that I can still use the bags and that they are quite useful. Of course.
16. Get sad.
17. Laugh at self for thinking that anything could ever be easy! HA!
18. Get sad again realizing that self degradation still doesn’t lead to knowing anything about breast feeding other than it has to do with breasts. I think.
At the end of the day I am still getting a supposedly wonderful breast pump and accessories for FREE, something for which I am very grateful when I put all joking aside.
My current thinking is that I will (of course) take the $600 breast pump+accessories and make the Kiinde bags work because you can still pour into them and the storage+heating is great, even if I can’t “direct pump” into them (one of the features I really loved). The “active latch” nipple of the bottle is still apparently fantastic so the bags fitting right into that is great and still a lot less cleaning/sanitizing than the traditional bottles, etc.
Now the next task: learn about how to sustain another human life with breast milk. That might be important.