Babies "R" Us, Los Angeles. I'm standing in the sippy cup section, dangerously close to
the breast pump aisle. Just being that close to the dreaded milk machine brings back memories that might require therapy. My boobs retract up like earrings. Either
they remember, or they're scared.
I'm not the only one having breast pump trauma. There's a man in the aisle probably imagining what it would be like to have
someone milk his man-parts. He's shaking and sweating as he looks at the "double
"It c-c-costs how much?" he stammers.
His wife/baby mama/pregnant person standing next to him points to the price.
"Can't you just buy the single pump?" he says, nearly begging. "Or here, what about this
hand pump? This looks good and it's so much cheaper."
She points again to the double pump.
Again, he suggests the hand pump and says, "I mean, how often are you really going to
use this thing anyhow?"
The baby mama looks to me, an experienced "been there, bought that" pro. She can tell
I've had this conversation. She asks, "Do you have kids? Which pump did you get?"
I decide to intervene, for the good of all woman-kind.
I start out slow, just to break the guy in easily. I decide to buddy up to him. The old good
cop/buy cop method of getting a guy in a baby store to buy what his lady needs him to.
"Which one of you is going to be doing the breast-feeding?" I ask.
They both look at me like I'm nuts, but play along, "Well she is," he says as if I'm in
desperate need of an anatomy lesson.
"That's cool," I say now sensing he's ready for the big sell. I continue, "The thing about
breast-feeding is, it's incredibly time-consuming. The double pump will save her a lot of
time. Unless you just can't afford the expensive one, she should really get whatever she
needs to make things as easy for her as possible," I say. "That is, unless you're going to
start breast-feeding at some point."
You want a happy marriage—make your wife as comfortable as possible.
He surrenders and puts the double pump in the cart. She mouths, "Thank you." They walk away, then stop and turn around.
"Would you mind looking at the other stuff we’re getting ... and telling us if it's good or bad?" he asks.
Shopping on someone else's dime? Oh no, new friend. I don't mind. So I go through their cart. Clearly, these two are lost. They've got it all wrong. The wipe
warmer goes back (when was the last time a baby cried because his tush wasn't warm
enough?) as does the Bumbo seat (can someone say, "Never gonna use it?"). The sanitary
cover for grocery carts goes back on the shelf (by the time you get the thing on, it's
already dirty) as does the soothing sounds white noise machine (their baby will be just
fine without sleeping to the sound of a hail storm).
Replacing these unnecessary items are: the rocking chair backrest for his wife and the
footrest that will make breast-feeding a little less hard on her body. I suggest they get a
second changing table since they have a two-story house. And, I suggest an old-school rocking chair
instead of the chic modern chair they are about to place on order.
The husband looks at me, confused. "I don’t get it," he tells me. "You've taken out everything that will make the baby comfortable."
I quickly interrupt, "No, I've taken out all the crap that your baby will never need and
never miss and replaced it with the stuff your wife needs and she'll definitely remember." I continue, "You want to have a happy baby, and have a happy marriage. You want a happy
marriage—make your wife as comfortable as possible. Unless, you've now decided to
breast-feed that baby."
They take my advice and buy it all. They leave the store smiling, and the guy looks a little
less stressed than when he originally wandered my way. My work here is done. Now,
what was it I was looking for?