Breastfeeding is practically federal law at this point, but before I had my daughter three years ago, no one told me that unless you have perfect baby-bottle-shaped nipples, you could find yourself beholden to a breast pump to get the job done. Of course, this was my fate: Failing miserably to grip my boob “like a sandwich” (per a $350-per-hour lactation consultant) and deposit my flat nipple into the baby’s mouth, after about a week I gave up on breastfeeding and resorted to exclusively pumping — or, in mom-blog lingo, “EP.”
I quickly learned that while new iPhones are unveiled seemingly every quarter, breast pumps are still, tragically, stuck in the first-gen phase: expensive (popular brands are priced in the high $300s), clunky, electric-only — rendering me a prisoner plugged in to the nearest outlet for the 20-ish minutes it took to pump, every three hours — and as noisy as medieval torture devices. I distinctly recall burying the supposed top-of-the-line pump I used with my daughter under two throw pillows and still hearing the mechanical churning assault my ears, a maddening sound at 4 a.m. pump sessions.
I was mentally preparing to return to this drudgery before having my son this past February — until my best friend Lindsay shared a hot tip from her younger sister: There was a “cool” new breast pump on the market. Shockingly, I soon discovered that wasn’t an oxymoron. The Spectra S1 charges like an iPhone and boasts a battery life that lasts a day or more, untethering me from the outlet behind my couch and letting me roam free around my apartment, a simple pleasure when you’re a human cow. I felt like Tim Robbins after escaping from Shawshank. Developed by lactation consultants, the S1 is sleek and doughnut-shaped, with a handle like a purse (unlike the brick-shaped pumps of yore), so I actually toted it from room to room when I needed to break from binge-watching This Is Us and grab a snack. At $175, it’s comparably affordable, and worth every penny, because it’s miraculously quieter than the competition, emitting a gentle hum instead of the nails-on-chalkboard grating of my last pump. This might be because, according to Spectra’s slogan, “our pumps don’t suck, they suckle,” mimicking the natural rhythms of a baby’s mouth. I’m not sure what it feels like to have a baby successfully suckle at my breast, but I can say that this pump definitely doesn’t suck.
This, one of writer Hesper Desloovere Dixon’s seven sanity-preserving things for traveling with a baby, is a packable “Brest Friend” pillow. She told us: “I’m so reliant on mine for nursing at home that I drag the standard version around with me anywhere I’m going to feed the babe more than once. I thought that my husband’s family would make fun of me when I showed up with the pillow strapped around me for a day trip to Connecticut, but instead, all of his cousins rhapsodized about how superior it is to the Boppy.”
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