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Sunday
Sep092007

The Next Time You're Nursing...

Think of This Story...

My partner Sarah and I co-nursed. Having met in Germany when she was 7-months pregnant and my youngest was 2-days old, by the time we left the guys we were well into co-nursing the two babies. It was really nice, this having four lactating breasts around... I, the stay-at-home mom, nursed during the day, and she, the Army diesel mechanic, nursed during the evening hours while I cooked dinner and had a respite from feeling touched out. We shared the family bed with the babies and both nursed all night long. In our waterbed. With the babies on their stomachs. But that's a story for another time. (Yes, they're still alive.)

Anyway.

So, this one time, Sarah had to go to the Field for a couple of weeks. Going to the Field meant leaving civilization and pretending you were at war, no real food, eating MRE's (Meals, Ready to Eat), pooping in makeshift latrines, drills every day and night, very little sleep... things like that. Stuff that would make me cry, but that made the soldiers have big fun and got to play in the mud and with their guns and hand grenades. (Not making any comments about the un-peaceful aspects here.)

Well, Sarah, who was nursing two kidlets, was certainly not going to stop nursing, pumped while in the field. She being a diesel mechanic on trucks 22.5 tons and larger, was the only female in her company, but the guys were pretty used to her crazy ways by the time she brought her Medela cylinder hand pump (I can't find a picture of one for the life of me) on the trip.

The pump was clear plastic and had one tube inside the other. The inside tube was flared at the top to allow the breast to lay inside and when you pulled the bottom tube, the nipple was pulled deep inside the tube and the milk was expressed. I see nothing like that is made nowadays.

Sarah was really great at keeping her milk supply up for two kids, too. She pumped a lot despite maneuvers. We always joked about carrying around a freezer to store the milk since it really seemed a sadness to pump and dump such liquid gold, but she thought her commander might notice the extention cord.

One night about 9 days into the two-week trip, as she was driving after a terribly busy day where she couldn't pump at all, her breasts were hugely full and she had to pump. She put her knees up to steer the 5 ton Army truck and pumped her breasts under her filthy Army tee shirt and BDU's on top of that. Unable to do anything else, she flung the milk out the window, shoved the pump back under her clothes, pumped more, flung more, pumped and flung for more and more kilometers.

When they finally stopped, the driver of the truck behind angrily ran up screaming at her wanting to know what the hell she was doing throwing milk onto his windshield for! Sarah started to laugh, but he continued, screaming, "Here we are, eating nothing but shitty MRE's and you are getting fresh milk! And when you are done with it, you are throwing it out the fucking window! You aren't even sharing it with us?! Where the hell are you getting it?!"

Sarah just said, "It's mine and you can't have any." He was livid.

"What do you mean it's yours and I can't have any... why won't you share with the rest of us? Don't we deserve fresh food, too?" He was screaming so loudly a huge crowd had gathered and many of them Sarah's own company.

Sarah repeated that it was HERS and touched her boobs this time indicating that it was from her breasts.

He still didn't catch it, of course.

"I want some of that milk!!! Where did you get it!?!"

Sarah put the pump under her shirt, pumped a few times and then dumped the milk at his feet, spilling it all over his boots. Shocked, he finally got it.

The crowd roared with laughter. The guy walked back to his breastmilk-stained truck.

Sarah, nursing Darren (looking at us) and Aimee on the hammock in Frankfurt, Germany.

Reader Comments (23)

That is hysterical! I love it! Talk about multi-tasking...

My sister in law and I had our first two babies within weeks of each other, and we often nursed each others babies. It was fantastic, we could go out to doctors appointments, grocery shopping, even a date with our partners, knowing our babies were being well taken care of. Of course this was in the early '80s, I don't know if I'd feel so comfortable doing that nowadays. But it was great!

September 9, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermamarose

AWESOME story. :)

She looks so beautiful in that picture!

September 9, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterthordora

oh my goodness! I love that story about the breastmilk!! I can just picture that man having his 2 yr old temper tantrum about not getting any milk!

September 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAtYourCervix

I howled with laughter trying to read your post out loud to my Army-husband. It was great!!

September 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

This is a hilarious and amazing story...both because of the co-nursing and the unique lesbian partership, which are two things you don't hear about much when it comes to parenting. What awesome moms these two ladies are! Thanks for sharing this with us.

September 9, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJill

that's soo funny!

i am still co-nursing our 20month old. alas, she says to me, "broken" many times when she's nursing (no milk). she uses the same term to switch sides with her mama.

"broken" breasts are still good enough for her. it's the only way i can soothe her and get her to sleep when her mama is at work.

i tell you: when there are four breasts in the house, the babies are happy!

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSage Femme

Thank you... it's ME! And my partner of 21 years. :)

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Having done my fair share of time in the field...I can't even imagine the utter dedication it must take to pump like that while on exercise!! WOW!

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Awesome.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterThe MSILF

THAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING I HAVE HEARD ALL DAY!!!!

I just had my baby a week ago and am knee deep in the throws of nursing so I appreciate the story.

I thought of you after my birth because I had shoulder dystocia with my baby. After all your births with shoulder dystocia I wondered what you would have done. I haven't been able to debrief the birth with my midwife yet but after reading your blog for so long I think I have a few ideas of how she felt during and after the process. He was a surprising 11lbs 12.5oz. Anyway, I would love for you to read the birth story. It is posted on my blog.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenteramelia

I pumped with one of those cylinder pumps for my first babe, (now 19) when I was a teen mom in high school. Most irritating was the fact that since the cylinder extended straight horizontally, you had to lean way over to pump or it would drip down the front of you after an ounce or so. And the whole thing only held like 2 1/2 oz, so I'd pump an ounce, pour in bottle, repeat, and still I'd get milk everywhere trying to keep it from dripping. I never pumped on army exercises, but I pumped in the girls' john while in high school, sometimes between classes, sometimes at lunch, and in the breakroom at McD's where I worked. I could not believe the difference and ease of pumping years down the road when I had access to a double electric pump! I could have used some extra breasts as a teenage single mom with a bewildered mother who'd never nursed herself.

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdoctorjen

how wonderful the experience must have been for you two.

what a great story about Sarah. I would have just given the guy the milk he asked for. ;) Better than wasting it! >=]

September 10, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLil

OMG You two *rock*!!!!

The most interesting thing I did while nursing was express breastmilk for our cat's eyes--she was having a bad case of pinkeye. And yep, cleared it right up!!

Good thing I'm not lactating now, I think our new puppy would want to try nursing LOL She keeps nursing on my thumb (orphaned at about 5 weeks old)

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAngel

That's hilarious! Some men never outgrow the tantrums :)

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commentermedrecgal

ROTFL! Thank you for this. I was pumping (and laughing) as I read it. :) Three cheers for Sarah.

I've experienced a lot of breastfeeding start-complications with all three of my kids and I've persisted in spite of a lack of effective, consistent professional support from my HCPs among other challenges. But Good Lord, whatever obstacles I've faced, it was nothing like that. It is great (comic!) relief and an inspiration to hear about someone powering through The Mother Of All Patriarchal Professional Settings :) ntm all the logistical conflicts of working and pumping ... and being so unselfconsciously, unapologetically successful at nursing.

Whenever I get bunged up about supply I'm going to picture Sarah. :)

Cheers,
D.

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaleMother

OMG - Love the post Love it! Guys just don't catch on do they? My guys are work will ask my secertary "where is Kim?" Busy she will say ... well her light is off and I hear her in there ... well she is busy ...what napping ... no idiot she is pumping you want to join her?! Haha
PS you need to post aht picture on facebook ... they are taking off pictures of breast feeding woman!
See the BLOG by a MOmmy Story on my page!
PS - I am glad your babies are alive after sleeping on tummies ... my baby 3 months now has been on her tummy for 5 weeks ... Dr gave me a lecture! I told her it made our lives easier! haha

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMBKimmy

Hehe, that's great. What a cool story :)

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLove, Peace, and Babies

Thought you might love this video of a momma bear nursing her two cubs in Alaska...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yHxK0mWwGo

September 11, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

this is fantastic! thanks for sharing! i think if it had been me, i would have done the same as Sarah .... i agree with thordora, she does look beautiful and blissful nursing your two beautiful babes!

September 12, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjeanius

What a great story! I loved it!!!

Until recently I was triandem nursing and... I think that I would really enjoy having another pair of breasts around the house at times... lol

September 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpaxye

I nursed three for about 6 months or so before Meggie weaned - and it was TOUGH! Sarah never did nurse Meggie... she was too old by that point... but I would have loved the help. I can feel for you!

September 13, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

That is a fantastic and riotous story! And a gorgeous picture as well.

September 16, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterradical mama

That is absolutely hilarious. Thank you for sharing that story

October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterHula Doula

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