This breast pump is freaking me out

By Published On: August 15th, 2014

Baby girl is knocking on four weeks, and I’m itching […]

photoBaby girl is knocking on four weeks, and I’m itching to get back to a regular workout schedule. But I’m exclusively breastfeeding, so the few times I’ve managed to squeeze in a workout I can pretty much chalk up to sheer luck. Then fate stepped in—in the form of a hand-me-down electric breast pump. I’m waiting on new tubing and suction cups. (That can’t be what they’re called, but you know what I mean.) Meanwhile, this thing is kind of freaking me out.
First, a little background. We’ve never used bottles with any of our kiddos. They were all breastfed and then went straight on to sippy cups of water. My limited experience involves a little hand pump number that I used for engorgement relief with our very first baby. I vaguely remember freezing a few baggies’ worth of milk, thinking that it would be nice for my husband to be able to give the baby a bottle once in a while. But whenever the baby was hungry, I had big swollen boobs that needed to be emptied, so the milk stayed frozen until we started him on solids anyway.
Now, I’m the new, intimidated owner of this electric version. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this thing comes packed in its own shoulder bag (that it doesn’t come out of, apparently). I told my friend just to leave it on the porch for me, but turns out it’s the kind of thing that needs some instruction. She breezed through the details, and it wasn’t until I was home and actually looking at it that the heebie-jeebies started setting in.
Here’s the thing. The hand pump I had was as straightforward as it gets, and I was totally in control. When it comes to breastfeeding my babies, I was willing to put up with engorgement, beat-up nipples, the occasional clogged duct, first teeth—the works—because I kept my eyes on the prize. But this electric job … I can’t shake the feeling that I’m going to hook myself up, and I won’t be able to get out fast enough if things go south. The whole concept seems seriously counter-intuitive. Stick what where? And then turn it on? Gulp.
So tell me, do these things hurt or what? Any tips for a seriously inexperienced electric breast-pump user?