...this post is not for the men.
As a mother of three ( gasp), one of the things I've had to make sure I excel at is Multi-tasking - more so than ever before.
So I've mastered the art of feeding one of the twins while pumping milk simultaneously for the other, AND talking on the phone at the same time. All I've got to do is figure out how to also surf the internet at the same time, and I'm home.
The pumping thing is all the more necessary now that I'm back at work - even though it's only half days, the fact is that the twins are just about 5 months old and still need breastmilk to truly thrive. After a lot of struggling with my pump, a Medela Swing, I finally figured out how to successfully express decent amounts of milk for them.
Pumping on one side while feeding from the other has numerous benefits, the most important being that the feeding activates the let-down for a better flow. It's a huge time-saver - although it really annoys me that I have to give the pump a lot more attention than the babies so it cuts into the whole bonding-while-feeding thing. Oh well, can't have everything, eh?
A few days ago, though, the pump started malfunctioning. For no reason at all, it just kept switching off every few seconds. Considering it is already a hassle to handle a squirming baby who is distracted by the sound of the pump and fascinated by the contraption itself and keeps grabbing at it, this was really driving me up the wall.
I nagged my mechanical-engineering type husband to fix the thing, and he studiously examined it for a few seconds before declaring it was all fine. He asked me to balance it on a flat surface. Considering that I have to balance it on my post-pregnancy curvaceous hips while lying down to feed, I told him that this would not be possible.
I nagged him more and more until he finally called up the Mothercare section at Shopper's Stop, where the pump had been purchased. Of course, we had already lost the bill considering it's been a few months since we bought it, but they told us to come on down. We went to Select City Walk in Saket, and went over to the customer complaints department, and explained the problem.
Of course, for a while, the pump pretended to be working perfectly fine when the people at the complaints counter switched it on. I held my breath and prayed and prayed and finally it switched off. I had to keep from shouting in triumph 'See? I wasn't lying!'
The complaints people, a young man and a woman, called their supervisor and explained the problem to her. The lady studiously examined the pump and then opened it up and said 'This is the problem. There is no battery!'
I rolled my eyes up to the heavens and explained to her that I was using the adapter and that perhaps there was another problem. She acknowledged the truth in this and after putting their heads together for a while, they came up with a solution.
They wrote the number of the Medela customer care ( which is apparently a big secret) on a piece of paper and handed it over to me. I was stunned. I said 'But surely you could have given this to me on the phone, too? Why did I come down all the way to your store just for this?'.
They had no real answer but instead urged me to call the number right then and there, as if it would solve all my problems in life. I called the number reluctantly and an unfriendly female voice said 'Hello?'. She sounded resentful at a customer actually having discovered the helpline number.
I explained the problem in great detail, and she gave me a solution in great detail 'Open the pump Madam - see the black portion? Take it out and put the piping in, one end in a mug or water, of a cup of water if you want, whatever, and then the other end in the regular spot and it will clean it by itself. After ten minutes, take it out and then switch it on for about five minutes and then use it again, Madam. It will surely work. And this will solve the problem of No Suction that you are facing'.
I informed her that the problem I was facing was not of No Suction but of the pump switching off by itself every few seconds. She apparently didn't like my questioning her wisdom and insisted that I try this first and then call her back and only then would she send her technician. I gave up, said I would go home and try out her ridiculous advice and then call her again.
Miraculously, as it so often happens, I reached home and the pump started working perfectly. I thanked my husband profusely, asking him what he had done to make it start working again, and he shrugged his shoulders modestly saying that 'Perhaps our taking it to the store had exposed it to the right environment'. I gratefully started using my pump again and life has been perfect ever since.
Of course, when I was interrupted during the writing of this post to feed Pickle, and tried pumping, I found that the problem with the pump is back but I would like to ignore it for the time being. As I was saying, I'm a multi-tasking Supermom and life is perfect.