You're Not Alone: Your Breast Pump Is Definitely Talking to You

Mechanical noises or subliminal messages? Breast pumps say the craziest things.
ByJessica Shortall
Contributing Writer
Mar 2016
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Photo: Jessica Shortall/Laura Legg Photography

It’s midnight, and you’re alone, pumping, while your baby sleeps. Or maybe it’s the middle of the workday, and you’re crammed in a storage closet, pumping, with one hand on the door handle in case someone tries to come in.

And that’s when you hear it:

Your pump is talking to you.

No, you’re not crazy. And you’re definitely not alone. The evil geniuses that make breast pumps seem to have individually programmed those robot babies to speak directly to us while we do this most awkward of jobs. As a result, lots of new mothers hear messages from their breast pumps, over and over and over again, as they attempt to suck the very life out of us.

I talked to a bunch of women whose pumps whisper sweet nothings in their ears and learned that these messages, and the pumps that deliver them, can be separated into five basic categories:

A-hole Pumps

  • “I’ve heard everything from ‘f you’ to ‘you suck.’” (Note: Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Clearly it’s the pump that sucks, literally.)
  • “Go home go home go home” or 'wake up wake up wake up" (Now that’s just plain mean.)
  • “Holy hell.”

’What are you, a comedian?’ Pumps

  • “‘Scooty puff, scooty puff, scooty puff’—the space vehicle from Futurama. Like, where did that come from? I try to make it shut up because it’s so random, but it keeps saying it.”
  • “I can’t remember the exact words since it’s been a few weeks, but all I remember was that whatever it was saying was in a British accent.”
  • “Mine says, ‘wickie wickie wickie’ like a 90s rap artist. One time I had a cook freestyling to the sound of the pump through the door at work because of it.”

Captain Obvious Pumps

  • “Boo-be milk, boo-be milk…”
  • “Nipple, nipple…”
  • “Mine says ‘breast pump, breast pump, breast pump,’ but it’s like ‘braaaaayst pump.’”

Really Sweet Pumps

  • “Mine always said ‘wow wow wow wow.’ It was very impressed with me.”
  • “My pump says ‘MY DO! MY DO! MY DO!’ — which is what my toddler yells when he wants to do something himself.”
  • “The first time I turned my pump on I heard ‘we pump’ over and over again. Very encouraging.”

Total Weirdo Pumps

  • “I swore one night I heard ‘red rum’ over and over.” (You might want to look at your pump warranty in this case.)
  • “Mine said ‘Blackhawks Blackhawks.’ The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup both years I had my kids.” (Anyone else want to start asking this pump for Powerball numbers?)
  • “‘Broncos! Broncos! Broncos!’ Can you tell it was football season when I started pumping?”
  • “This is weird, but I swear it says ‘Tulach Ard’—the Gaelic war cry of the clan MacKenzie, which means I definitely watched/read too much Outlander on maternity leave.”
  • “Mine sounded like it was saying ‘grandpa’—I made several people listen to it and they agreed!”

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