Still Mammals

I wanted to revisit a couple of points on this topic before moving on to something else.

I’m still amazed at the final production numbers. I had no idea what to expect when I ran the data, but over 9,000 ounces was staggering. And this is coming from someone who thought he had a handle on numbers. I also know that Jenn pumps for at least 1 1/2 hours every day, but I didn’t realize that added up to a quarter year of 40-hour work weeks. My point? Breastpumping and nursing moms do a lot of work. Guys, thank them for what they are doing. Girls, you do a lot of work. It’s an insane job, and we appreciate it.

My other point? Class Mammalia. We are members of an amazingly diverse group. There are plenty of things that set us apart as the dominant species, but when you consider the evolutionary adaptations that link all us mammals together, it can be humbling. We all give live birth to our young and we all nurse. Nothing else on the planet does that. This rule applies whether you are talking about a 5 pound house cat, a 6 ton elephant or a 145 ton blue whale. Rhinoceroses, mice, kangaroos, dogs, chimpanzees, squirrels and camels. They all nurse their young. Just like we do. I just think it’s amazing that we all share this. Thanks for humoring me.

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15 Responses to Still Mammals

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thanks Ben. I nursed my daughter until after her first birthday and I appreciate your honest respect and recognition. My advice to Jenn about stopping, go slowly.

    As for the we’re all mammals thing. I must admit that when I see a baby animal (horse, llama, cow, etc.) nursing in the fields near our house it always pulls at my heartstrings. It is a pretty amazing thing how we’re so different from other mammals but we feed our babies in the same way. I wonder if other mammals have lactation coaches?

  2. RandomGenericName says:

    I’m a woman and I don’t have a baby yet, so I am wondering- Can a woman do anything else while she is pumping breast milk? Does pumping breast milk require two hands? I’m just trying to figure out if I’ll have to sit there for an hour and a half and do nothing else while I do this, or can I multi-task? Do women pump breast milk for an hour and a half all at one time or do they do it for 45 mins. in the morning and 45 mins. in the evening? And finally, the question I am wondering most- Does it ever get painful?

  3. Julia says:

    Yep, you can do other things while pumping. I pump 3 times a day at work and I read while doing it. You can pump with 2 hands or one. I only pump for about 15 or 20 minutes at one time. If it were an hour and a half all at once I think I’d die!! Nope, it’s not painful. If it is, chances are the suction is too high on the pump. And Ben, thanks for the props! After nursing and pumping for 3 kids, it’s nice to know that it’s recognized how much work it really is! But it’s definitely worth it.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    RandomGenericName, a lot of people can multitask, but others can’t. I need both hands to hold the collection horns – I’ve never gotten the trick of holding them both with an arm so you can use your other hand. Also, I get more milk if I relax and think about my baby, instead of thinking about work.

    I’ve ordered a “hands-free” kit for my pump that supposedly lets you attach the horns to your bra so you don’t have to hold them. It’s backordered, though, so I don’t know when I’ll actually get it.

  5. Stephen says:

    Love your updates. We are planning to start to have a baby and all of the entries bring a lot into perpective. Thank you. We used these authors’ Bridal Bargains book and now are using Baby 411

  6. istya says:

    well…all but one of us bears live young, can’t leave out that platypus weirdo 🙂

    seriously, though, it’s pretty crazy to think we’re only a few DNA strands away from a whale…

  7. benmac says:

    Oh man — I totally forgot about the platypus! At least we can fall back on the DNA part. thanks-

  8. FrumDad says:

    “Glass of milk
    Standing in between extinction in the cold
    and explosive radiating growth
    So the warm blood flows
    Through the large four-chambered heart
    Maintaining the very high metabolism rate they have”

    From “Mammal” by They Might Be Giants

    It’s difficult for me to conceive of this particular crowd not being acquainted with TMBG, but if anyone out there hasn’t heard them, let me be the one to tell you: Go! Listen! Buy their CD’s! Now! Really. No, Honest.
    Why are you still reading this? I said go!


  9. benmac says:

    That’s a great song from a great group. thanks for mentioning them, FrumDad!

  10. Rob says:

    Hrmph.. much better than the inevitable “Bloodhound Gang” reference I’ve been expecting for days.

  11. Foster says:



  12. istya says:

    incedentally, TMBG just came out with a children’s book, and a new children’s album. I just listened to some samples, and it rocks!

  13. Charis says:

    I’ve been pumping for 13 weeks now. I started when my son was born. If you are going to pump, you just have to get the hands free kit. and I like the one this company makes
    you can find it cheaper on ebay though. i would multi-task by pumping, feeding my baby with a bottle of pumped milk, and catch up on email with the other hand. but that’s pushing multi-tasking limits on no sleep. i have literally gallons of milk stored in a deep freezer. i’m too scared to do telemetry and figure out exact amounts, i’ll freak myself out.
    go trixie’s mom! you rock girl!
    pumping is a real pain. i found that it does hurt because you get more clogged ducts, but that’s just me and a few girls i talked to that exclusively pump because our babies never latched on. yeah yeah, we all hired lactation consultants, but this breast feeding thing is tough work.

  14. Cynthia says:

    I’m not pumping anymore, but I have two words for you handsfree-hopeful pumping mamas – surgical tape. After I’d position the horns, I’d put a “hold” piece of tape on top, turn on the pump, then put a larger piece of tape on the top and the bottom, then log on and read the TU or my other favorite internet sites (I wouldn’t walk around…well, not much, at least, but it works well at a desk.) When the bottles would start to fill, I’d usually lean down a little to rest most of the weight of the bottles on my knees. They make a surgical tape that comes in a tape dispenser, which makes this whole process much easier.

    I’m not saying it will work for everyone…I probably had the right boob size, torso height,nursing bra (the bottom was usually tucked in), pump, bottle size, and knee height for this setup to work properly, but give it a try.


  15. Jenny says:

    Hooray for boobies, indeed. I always knew I would nurse our daughter, but I had no idea what awe the whole process would instill in me for class Mammalia! (Though I’m thankful that I don’t have 14 boobs, like the momma pig at our local kiddie farm.)

    Another thing that has stunned me, since becoming a parent: everyone you pass on the street, everyone driving by, everyone everyone everyone, was grown inside someone’s uterus for 9 months. And cared for through the insanity of the first years. The upshot: Making people is serious WORK… hard physical labor, along with love, is what we invest in our offspring.

    One more way of getting to the point that life is, and people are, precious.

    Thanks to you guys for a great site, and for sharing your experiences! I’ve lurked for a couple of months now, gathering info as my girl Olivia Maude is about a month younger than the sweet lass Beatrix Valentina… it’s great to have a window on what’s coming our way!

    It would not surprise me at all if a publisher eventually contacts you to compile all this fun, well-written content into a book, “The Trixie Chronicles.” I’d certainly buy it and give it to expectant parents as a shower gift!