The Case of the Missing Breast Pump

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Photo: Karissa Whitman

I was four months postpartum. I was struggling with nursing my son, but we had a wedding we had already committed to going to. I was so nervous because I was worried I’d lose my breastmilk supply for not nursing for so long. I spent the entire day packing myself a little bag full of my supplies. My breast pump, bottles, an icepack inside an insulated cooler for my milk, my nipple cream, etc…I was packed and ready.

I needed to run to the bathroom real quick and figured “Hey, why not rely on my sweet reliable awesome husband to put my bags in the car?” You know, I trusted him so much I didn’t even think to check all the bags made it into the trunk. 

About 25 minutes into our drive, I told my husband I’d probably have to pump upon arriving and once again before the reception starts. His response, “Well, did you bring your pump?” I looked at him and said, “Well duh, you packed the bags in the car, right?” Nope. He only grabbed one bag. My purse. Which, thanks hunny, I did need that. But I really needed the pump more.

At this point, the panic started to set in. This was our first long outing without my son. It was about 50 miles away from home. And already late at night. Once I calmed down, I figured I could just run to a local Target or Walmart and pick up a little cheap hand pump. Well get this, we get to Target, run in, and they were sold out of hand pumps. The next best thing was a $100 electric pump.

At this rate, I was thinking I could just grab some bottles, a little cooler and manually express myself. We were now running about 15 minutes late to this wedding we had already driven so far to get to and decided that would be the plan. During the first “manual” pump, I sat in the car all by myself with my husband’s shirts hanging on the windows for some privacy. I was trying so hard to express anything but just kept getting a drop, drop, drop. I never even had a letdown, yet my breasts felt so full and engorged by this rate.

I sat in the car and shed a few tears, I mean come on, can ya blame a girl with breasts full of milk who is pumpless and it’s the first long outing away from her baby? Talk about the worst-case scenario. I tried going back inside and running some paper towels under warm water to try and warm compress, but that didn’t work either.

Looking back I think I was so stressed it definitely played into my ability to have a letdown. Also looking back, I will never let my husband pack my pump again, well I probably will, but that trust is hard to regain. I mean, lesson truly learned. By the time we got home that night (and yes, we ended up leaving early), I was able to nurse my son and relieve all the pain and pressure from the milk.

So new mama, my tip to you? Take a moment to double-check that you’ve packed your breast pump and that it’s also in the car.