Funerals, Friends, and an Expensive Pumping Mistake

Here’s the problem with me not posting very often-I have too dang much to say in one post, but I’m going to try and fit some stuff in anyway.


Pawpaw’s funeral was Monday and the honor guard ceremony at the veteran’s cemetery was on Tuesday. It was, of course, emotional. I had to sing which is something I hate doing in front of my family because my mother gets emotional and cries ON A GOOD DAY, so on the day we’re saying goodbye to her dad, well, let’s just say it was waterworks for all of us. I started crying during the opening hymn (“In the Garden”-Pawpaw’s favorite) so I knew I was in trouble for singing. Luckily my cousin S was singing with me, so that really helped. My voice wobbled a few times and I had to wipe my nose at the end because it was about to drip and I had to make a quick judgement call of letting that happen or just looking icky and wiping it away.

Charlie was a little fussy during the funeral, but only Chief and I knew that because I kept jiggling her and would occasionally stand off to the side with her. Everyone complimented how well behaved she was. She slept through the honor guard ceremony at the cemetery. And the weather was beautiful for it. It felt like Pawpaw was sitting there with us.


The Captain came to the funeral despite the library being deliriously understaffed right now. I feel a little guilty about this except that if I were to come back from maternity leave it wouldn’t be until September 8th anyway. But still, a little guilty. But I know that they still like me because they gave me a sweet gift certificate to my favorite website to buy roses ( for my garden. I was incredibly touched that my former coworkers still care about me enough to think of me like I’m one of their own. I can’t wait to spend it. They have a rose dedicated to the Army Air Corp of WWII, the predecessor to the Air Force that my grandfather was a member of. I already have a WWII Memorial Rose and a Veteran’s Honor, so I think i definitely need that rose too!

I’m also really excited because my friend M is coming down from the northern part of the state JUST to see me and Charlie! She was in town the weekend that C was sick and had to go to the hospital, so she couldn’t meet her (she’s been in Spain all summer-how glamorous!) She’s a grad student who teaches classes as part of her tuition, so this is a crazy busy time of year for her and I’m honored that she’s coming to see me. Especially when she has to teach all day on Friday! I’m also having lunch with my friend C on Friday and I’m sure I’ll be eating burritos with the Captain on Friday. I feel very surrounded by friends right now, and that’s pretty great.

Not to forget you wonderful folks who have been so supportive of me in my grief and don’t tell me to stop incessantly posting pictures of my baby girl. I love you guys-not an exaggeration. It’s a different kind of love, the love I feel for a group of women I’ve never met, but it’s legitimate and real, and I’m grateful for it.

Expensive Pumping Mistake

Ugh. I hate to even admit how dumb I’ve been this week. Monday I got my Spectra out to pump before the funeral. I pump twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. I get about 12-14 ounces a day between those two pumps and I’m excited to be able to donate a bunch now that I’m only going to be working away from the home one day a week. I have about six gallons of breastmilk in my freezer by my estimation (we had to buy a separate chest freezer for this, btw). Anyway, on Monday I couldn’t get any suction. Like, the pump was sucking, and the backflow protectors were moving normally, but my nipple wasn’t being drawn in any. I tried everything. I changed to my other 28 flange (I just pump once side at a time so I have a hand free to tend to C if I need to), I changed bottles, I changed backflow protectors, I changed the tubing. Nothing. Chief looked at it and said all he could figure is that I had a bum pump and the suction wasn’t strong enough. Damnit, that’s what I get for buying used.

So I hop over to Amazon and buy a new one for $214. They had one for $188 but it wasn’t prime eligible and I’d have to wait quite a bit. They also had one for $205 that was prime eligible but it was out of stock. $214 it is.

It comes today, and I’m so relieved because I really hate that PISA and I’d been having to use it for a few days. So anyway, I pull out the new pump, plug it in, hook my flanges up and….


Curse words. LOTS of them.

So I change out every damn part again, and nothing works. Finally I pull out the stock 24 mm flanges and try those (I was at a 28 mm) and they work. Seriously, apparently OVERNIGHT my nipples got smaller.

This isn’t exactly unusual apparently. It’s actually pretty common as you move out of the engorgement stage. And I’ve lost five pounds since starting WW again (Woot!), so it makes SENSE, but I’m not happy.

For one thing, I now have THREE breast pumps. I’m going to leave my extra Spectra  at the Law Firm so at least I won’t be toting back and forth and the PISA can be a good back up I guess. For ANOTHER thing, I’m not convinced 24 mm is the right size either. I feel like I need a 26 or a 27, but of course they don’t make that. I know I could hack my medela 27’s, but I read that you don’t get as good an output (although if any of you other Spectra ladies have anything to contribute on this, I’d be interested to hear-I think AndiePants has done this maybe?)

And finally, I just spent 215 non-refundable-once-the-seal-is-broken dollars when all I needed were to pull out the 24 mm flanges that I already owned.

So, in short, if your pump magically stops working overnight, try a different flange size before you panic and buy a new one.


23 thoughts on “Funerals, Friends, and an Expensive Pumping Mistake

  1. Sounds like you all are doing really well and that is great. Am certain your sharing information about size changes and pumps will really help some other mom along the way. Consider it a ‘pay it forward’ expense, they happen. Am totally appreciating your posting and the pictures~ so clear how happy and wonderful your daughter is and what good parents she has. Congratulations and good wishes.

  2. Yup my flange size definitely decreased in the last month as well. I did the Medela hack and just bumped up the power level to compensate for slightly decreased suction, and that works fine. I figure I’ll have to do this when using the Freemie too. Any chance you could sell one of the pumps? I bet you’d be able to get most of your money back!

    • I could probably sell one of them on eBay and I might, although now I’m attached to the idea of leaving one at the law firm so I don’t have to worry about forgetting it. But that seems like a ridiculous way to spend $200!

      Which medela hack did you do? If I do it I’ll have to buy the big medela bottles. I just have the small ones. I’ve been using my Avent naturals. I hate the idea of going back to medela parts because dealing with those little flanges is a pain.

      • Yeah I only did the hack since I already had 2 sets of Medela parts from when I had the symphony rental, and didn’t want to waste more money. I did the hack that keeps it a closed system. It looks like it’s possible to jam the Medela flanges into the Spectra flanges also if the Medela is smaller, maybe try that first? I’m so not looking forward to pumping regularly at work next week…

      • OH, so theoretically maybe I can jam the 27 medelas into the 24 spectras? interesting. I’ll maybe experiment with some things. I had to use the 27’s these past few days with my medela and they felt fine. I was actually surprised at how comfortable the medela was. I just hate the sound and…machineryness (YESIJUSTMADEUPTHATWORD) of the medela. It makes me feel like a cow. A literal cow.

      • I just did the medela hack, we’ll see how I feel about having to jam and unjam those tubes everyday, also we’ll see how it works in the morning! good thing the medela tubing is really stretchy and flexy.

      • I even managed to get all of the hard plastic off of the medela yellow piece so I can easily fit the spectra tube on there and get a good seal. I also found a converter for the avent bottles we prefer on Amazon for $6.00. Much better than having to buy more Medela bottles. So I guess we’ll try this. Do you wash your backflow protector everytime? I have been because it always has water in it when I’m done, but I feel like this would degrade the hack over time (having to pull the forced tubes on and off constantly).

  3. I’m so happy that the funeral and graveside ceremony went well. It’s always nice to have beautiful weather for those things. And hooray for awesome friends! I totally understand what you mean about loving a group of women you’ve never met…I think we all feel that way about each other. Sorry though for your frustration with the pump! Maybe you can try to sell one or two of them? Or keeping one as a back up isn’t a bad idea either.

  4. Oh nooooooooooooooo. That is so annoying. Well you are rich in pumps now. Lucky you 😉 It sounds like it was a lovely send off for your Paw Paw. I am sure you sang beautifully. xx

  5. It sounds like the service for your grandpa was really nice. My grandpa’s service is this Saturday. The roses sound lovely. Thanks for the best pump info. I went with the Spectra on your recommendation. It has worked great. My husband has been able to feed Elliott a couple of times, which is great. I am slowly building my stores.

  6. Since spectras are closed system(or circuit, I’m not sure what it is called) you could resell your spectra. Make some of the money back.

    I’m glad C was good at the funeral. It sounds like it was a beautiful ceremony.

  7. I’m SO glad your friends are taking care of you during such a hard, sad time. You definitely deserved to be loved on!
    Yes, I use medela flanges, bottles, connectors and tubes with my spectra. I used this video as a guidelines ( but then I realized I didn’t care if I kept my backflow protectors on (in part because they were turning into a pain in the ass) so now I just hook the tubes directly onto the tubes. I also found that, since forgoing the backflow protectors, I can turn the pump down and get better output because the suction is better. I have about a million medela collection bottles, so I can just rotate them out this way. Happy to advise more if you need it!

    • I pumped one side with the spectra flange and one side with the medela rig and got a much better response from the spectra flange, so I’m probably just going to go with that. I don’t think I would ever feel comfortable giving up my backflow protectors because there’s ALWAYS moisture there after I pump.

      I never expected to be such a milk machine-EVER. It’s really surprised me.

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