Machinery I Have Loved

The Medela Pump in Style (PIS) is the second* piece of machinery that I have actually kissed after using it for the first time. I had used a manual Avent Isis pump a few times in the first few months, but always found it taxing. The Isis saved me when my milk came in and I thought my breasts were going to explode with a big, milky bang. It also helped to perk up my less than perky right nipple so that my son could latch on, but it fell short when it came to collecting massive amounts of milk. For me, the Isis combined with surfing the Internet was a Carpal Tunnel cocktail I couldn’t swallow.

Pumping wasn’t really much of an issue in the beginning. I knew I had to teach my son to drink from a bottle at some point if I planned to return to work, but I wasn’t in a hurry. We were always together and we had a great nursing relationship. I found it annoying when people would tell me to pump so I could “get away”. Some people acted like pumping was a panacea for all parenting issues. I think some people just couldn’t stand to see a baby without a bottle in his mouth. It became a joke between my husband and I. If I complained that my breasts were tender, mentioned I was hungry, or moaned about not getting any sleep, his reply was, “Why don’t you just pump?”

When it actually got to the point that pumping was going to be a part of my daily life I was frantic. The PIS does not come cheap. Not everyone can afford to fall in love with it. I was lucky enough to have a generous neighbor who loaned me hers free of charge. I didn’t even have to buy the attachment pieces because my best friend had an extra set. And best of all, my husband was able to decode the instruction booklet, identify all the parts, and actually teach me how to use the PIS without too much difficulty.

The PIS is designed specifically for working moms. It comes in a black leather bag that looks like a briefcase. It is very inconspicuous and professional looking. It has a cooler on the inside and a place to put a picture of your baby (to stimulate a “let down”). It is quiet and can be plugged into an outlet or even into a car lighter. Its only flaw is the gaudy gold buckle on the strap! It was a bit of a hassle toting it to and from work each day and rinsing out all the small parts at night, but it was worth it to me. I was determined to breastfeed my son for at least a year, and I didn’t see any other way to do it. The PIS made it possible and for that I am grateful. The electric breast pump is a technological advancement that I can stand behind.

Just this week, my son turned one and I packed up my PIS. I am still breastfeeding him, but no longer need to pump. Our cosleeping keeps my supply up at night and he takes organic cow’s milk to daycare. As I washed out the parts one last time and prepared to return the PIS to my neighbor, I was a bit sad. I thought about all the good times I had with my Pump in Style… pumping in my mom’s car in the Temple parking lot after Yom Kippur services, the time I embarrassed a male coworker by explaining why I couldn’t answer the phone or the door the minute he needed me to, pumping in my kitchen while hanging out with friends… I’ll miss you PIS, but I know that it is time for you to move on and make another woman happy. I must say goodbye. Mwah!

*My first “love” was the Hitachi Magic Wand.