There’s a phenomenon in life that I’ll call The Common Crazy.  The Common Crazy are all of the things that the majority of us do or think, but are afraid to admit to, because we think we might be the only ones who do or think them, and therefore, everyone else will TOTALLY think we’re crazy.

Like, for instance, picking our nose (c’mon, we all have to do it sometimes), or not being able to automatically tell our left from our right (I thought I was the only one with this problem for YEARS).

And, even if we are nearly positive that something is a Common Crazy, there are those people in the world that would rather die than admit to a C.C., so if you make the mistake of admitting YOUR C.C. to them, they will, of course, make you feel as crazy as possible.

(I’m sure there’s a nose-picking-denier out there somewhere that is just DYING to comment that they do not EVER pick their nose.)

And, the Common Crazy I’d like to talk about today is The Phenomenon of The Talking Breast Pump.


(Yes, I’m sure that all of you guy readers (like, all three of you) are horrifically uncomfortable with this subject right now.  But I PROMISE you that your discomfort is ridiculously miniscule compared to the discomfort that the item in question brings us ladies.)

It all started in November when I wrote a post about another Common Crazy, Phantom Baby (the phenomenon of hearing screaming babies when babies aren’t actually screaming).  Many more people than I expected commented in to agree that they, too, have experienced Phantom Baby, but one of my readers, Lori, was even braver than that:

Lori T November 24, 2010 at 11:20 pmAs I was reading this, Lydia started crying. I checked the video monitor, and she was definitely sound asleep. Creepy. Oh, also, my breast pump talks to me. How’s that for crazy!

I had worked so hard to repress all of my breast pump memories from Ali’s babyhood – the pain, the unbelievable time consumption, the visual of being a cow on a dairy farm…

But Lori’s comment immediately took me back to that era, and I totally remembered that rhythmic sound of the motor, chanting random phrases while abusing me mercilessly.

…And, the freakiest part of all – I remembered that the breast pump has a MALE voice.

(Because when we’re hooked up to THAT sadistic device is when we all want anonymous men chanting at us.)

I answered Lori and asked if she was talking about the rhythmic motor chanting, and she confirmed that yes, indeed, her pump chanted things like “Come home, come home, come home”, or “Shut the door, shut the door, shut the door.”

And so I knew.  This was a Common Crazy.  Or at least common between Lori and I.

After Noah was born, I enacted a policy of active avoidance of my pump if at all possible, but, unfortunately, it’s one of those things you can’t entirely hide from.

And, sure enough, that man is still trapped inside my pump motor.

I of course had to email Lori to report my pump’s secret messages (since I knew she’d accept and affirm my Crazy)…

“Today it said, ‘All that we need, all that we need, all that we need…’, and then it morphed into ‘Waldorf Queen, Waldorf Queen, Waldorf Queen…’!”

Lori responded that her pump had, that same day, been telling her, “Need new friends, need new friends, need new friends…”

(Obviously, Lori’s device is a bit more bossy, as well as being slightly ruder, than my more cryptic PumpMan.)

It just seems that IF the pump is going to INSIST on talking while working, it could say more encouraging things… like…

“You rock, you rock, you rock…”


“Sorry for torturing you, sorry for torturing you, sorry for torturing you…”

or, even better,

“Now you’ll be able to leave your kid with the grandparents, now you’ll be able to leave your kid with the grandparents, now you’ll be able to leave your kid with the grandparents…”

So.. how about it?  Are you going to admit to this Common Crazy?

(You know you’ve heard it!)

Or call Lori and I delusional-Moms-in-desperate-need-of-more-sleep?

(You obviously didn’t torture yourself often enough!)

Or, has it been so long that you’ve forgotten?

(In which case your curiosity just might get the best of you and make you pull that dusty old pump out, turn it on, and see what HE has to say to you.)

I have a feeling that I know what he’s going to say to me tomorrow…

“Crazy oversharing blogger, crazy oversharing blogger, crazy oversharing blogger…”

62 thoughts on “Common Crazy and The Talking Breast Pump.

  1. Awwww, the breastpump. How I DON’T miss it!!!!!

    You need to teach your breastpump to say, “You’re so skinny, you’re so skinny…” :) That’s what I would imagine mine saying anyway…

    Please please know I am not saying you need to lose weight. Just talking about my old post. Should I just delete this?

      1. Yep! Mine would say, “I’m suckin’ off the pounds. I’m suckin’ off the pounds. I’m suckin’off the pounds.” Kept me going.

  2. Mine totally talked to me!!! It just always said the same thing. “walking away walking away walking away”. Thanks for confirming my common crazy!! Really thought it was just me. It must be the super repetitive motor that just drones on and on and on and on ad nauseum…pretty glad that is all done!!!

  3. Mine says “you pump GOOD, you pump GOOD, you pump GOOD!” I thought that was pretty encouraging for me during my “pump breaks” at work! I wonder for this next baby if it’ll say something else…

  4. I totally know what you are talking about! My pump mocked me as I would sit there for 30 minute pumping sessions only to end up with 2 ounces saying, “You might as well quit. You might as well quit. You might as well quit.”

    And what sadistic person designed those things? As if you don’t lose enough dignity with the birthing process!!!

  5. Up until reading Lori’s comment I was thinking, yes, you are the only crazy one; breast pump talking. HA! And then I read her comment… BAM! The horror came flooding back. Yes, my breast pump did, indeed, talk to me. I had completely blocked that out and I still can’t remember WHAT it would say but I most definitely remember it talking to me. I really wish I could remember what it said, maybe I shouldn’t wish that.

  6. Yes! They absolutely talk. I can’t remember the exact phrase I heard, but it was definitely words. I figure you listen to any repeating sound for hours a day you are bound to decipher some words. :) And as for uncomfortable men, please, my husband would come in and dance to the beat. I was not amused. Moo.

  7. Yep. Totally relate. I can’t remember it’s exact tauntings (I, too, block out all pump memories as soon as I’m done with the blasted thing), but I do remember those rhythmic sounds making words and phrases. I also have the can’t-automatically-tell-left-from-right C.C.. I think it’s something a lot of left-handed people can relate to. It’s a solid 3-4 second thought process for me.

  8. 1) The Common Crazy concept is brilliant. So very true.
    2) I had also repressed the fact that YES, my pump spoke to me. I can’t remember everything it said…not sure if that’s a good thing, or a dangerous sign that the subliminal messages worked..

  9. Thankfully back in my day these didn’t exist that I know of. We had a plunger thing attached to a bottle and you manually pumped it. I tried it once or twice but thought it was stupid. It would have taken me 2 weeks to fill one 8 oz bottle.

    Why do y’all pump now any way? Seems like all you’re doing is nursing or pumping and making it harder on yourself. It’s kinda like when my mom used to sterilize bottles (and for no reason). By baby #3 I nursed 3 months and went to the formula I was raised on: carnation milk, vitamins and karo syrup. Doesn’t that sound good?

    I really want to know why y’all pump – cause it does sound like you’re a Jersey Cow! Got milk?

    1. Well, there are many reasons that someone might need to pump…
      1. I did with Ali because my milk supply was bad, so I needed the extra “encouragement” to make milk, AND needed to make sure I got out every ounce that I made to give her.
      2. Working Moms pump at work so that their baby can have breastmilk during the day
      3. And, of course, we pump so that we have milk so that we can leave our kid with the Grandparents for a date. THAT’S some valuable milk!!

      1. FYI the CDC has cultured botulism in corn syrup and this can affect infants under 12 months with severe illness. I don’t think the chances are high but the RN in me can’t help but put the info out there! I am a pumper too for the sake of milk supply b/c all my babies were too sleepy to eat for weeks. Also with one child the pump kept my supply upfor weeeks until her mouth was big enough to nurse. And yes my pump talks, even my oldest daughter recognized it!

  10. You crack me up! I can’t honestly say I’ve ever heard the breast pump talking to me, but I always read while pumping so maybe I’m just blocking it out. I’ll have to listen next time to hear the secret messages of the pump. :)

    I definitely understand the other common crazies! I have ALWAYS had a hard time with my left and right. Maybe it IS a left handed thing! Because of it I totally drill left and right into my girls’ heads. When getting them dressed I say, “Left arm, okay now right arm…” with every article of clothing and while driving or walking I say “Okay, left turn here.” I don’t want them to struggle with it like I do!

    Thanks for the laugh this morning! :)

  11. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard words, but I’m sure I will now.
    I just hear badee-ba-dehsh-badee-ba-dehsh which Bob likes to say every time he sees it or we mention the pump. Good times. You’ll have to ask him about it at church. I’m sure my translation didn’t come across correctly.

  12. I have never heard mine talk, but THANKS ALOT… now I am going to hear it for sure the next time I am sitting in my car in the parking lot (no break room at work!) pumping away miserably :)

  13. Haha, I would hate to think how many Common Crazy categories I would fit into! I haven’t heard the pump talk (but thanks to this post, I’m sure it will start to!) But I do notice that I rock my recliner to the rhythm of it while it’s going – I also sing songs to Landon in beat with it, it’s like my personal metronome, I’m sure I’ll totally lose my groove once I’m no longer pumping!

  14. Okay – I’m really starting to wonder about the psychological meaning of the phrases we hear from our pump… it sounds like most people either have a negative statement or a positive one…. except for me, of course, who must be even more psychologically confused, as I’m hearing “Waldorf Queen”.

    1. Mine says “Pull’em, Pull’em, Pull’em…” lol today it had a duet.. the high pitched part was saying “I don’t care, I don’t car, I don’t care” and deeper “male” voice was grumbling! bizarre… this is sort of like seeing faces in places to me!

  15. I don’t have pump talk because I only used it once. My nipple was sucked out like 6 inches and I screamed bloody murder. Pumping lasted less than 10 seconds for me.

  16. Okay, this is the first time I’ve read your blog; Lori referenced it in her latest blog post. I laughed so hard! You are so right! My pump would say all kinds of things to me too! I thought I must have been way too sleep deprived or just desperate for “adult” conversation! (Isn’t it sad when you consider your pump to be adult conversation?) Thanks for the laughs!

  17. So funny, ladies!! It seems to be common among us “pumpers” to impose our personal feelings about pumping on the repetitive sound of our pump motors. For instance my pump always says “This is annoying, this is annoying, this is annoying!” =D

  18. I thought I was always on the cutting edge of C.C. but I must be behind in this area. I pump at work 3x a day and I am just ANNOYED by the sound. I try to tune it out while I do other things like respond to emails, etc. Mine doesn’t talk to me but it sings er, errr, er, errr, OR oo, ahhhhh, oo ahhhhh, oo ahhhh. I can’t stand the noise.

    I was having a conversation with my sister the other day about pumping (she’s nursing too) and she asked me what level of suction I was using. I responded FULL BLAST of course. Does ANYONE EVER use less then full power? Even if it hurt why would I want to spend twice as long pumping. Just get it over with.

  19. Okay I think I can top any sleep deprivation/breast pump story here – you know my daughter was extrememly premature and in the NICU for a while, so I pumped exclusively for a while. I also was really sleep deprived, waking up to pump in the night and staying at the NICU until the wee hours (it’s really hard to leave your baby). One day, I was in one of the pumping rooms at the hospital, I leaned over on the couch while I was attached to the hospital grade boob-sucker-off-er, and -yes. I fell asleep. While pumping. All I can do is hope no one walked in because the doors didn’t lock.

  20. As a veteran pumper, my pump didn’t talk, but I would sing songs to it. So I was the crazy talker/singer. But on the note of phantom baby cries, sometimes when I’m in the store and I hear a baby cry, I can still feel my breast attempt to let down even though it’s been over 5 years since I last breastfed. Crazy!

  21. good gravy what a fabulous post. I too have the exact pump in the pic of your post and would sit and listen to its constant hums. Rather than hearing it speak to me though, I usually (in my sleep-deprived brain) would chant things in my own head to the sounds of the pump. My favorite was, “I’m getting skinny, I’m getting skinny…” and , “don’t fall asleep, don’t fall asleep..”

  22. I now recall the same phenomenon since I had to pull out the pump 4 days ago since we’re home from the hospital now. Thanks so much for the pizza the other night. It was my first post pregnancy pizza and I could actually enjoy it WITHOUT heartburn. Do you know the breast pump is the thing I dreaded THE MOST about being pregnant again. I mean of all the wierd, gross things, that is the one. I’m still avoiding it at all costs until I go back to work. Love your blog as always, Cynthia Lyn

  23. After reading all of these, I’m really glad I didn’t have a motorized pump! I was crazy enough post partum without talking appliances. I was one of the lucky ones who only pumped every once in a while when I wanted to leave my babies for a night… my manual pump may have been talking, but not loud enough to be heard over the TV. I actually had the opposite problem – I made too much milk. If I accidentally brushed against anything, or a cat yowled outside (it sounds like a baby crying, I swear), if I even THOUGHT “I wonder if she’s hungry?”… I’d start spewing milk. I smelled like sour milk for months and had to change my clothes several times a day. It was actually pretty gross.

  24. My pump chanted “give me more, give me more, give me more” most of the time. I knew it would say it but none of my friends or family have ever used one so i thought nothing of it. hahaha

  25. Haha. My pump spoke to me, as well. It never really said words, at least not that I recall four years out, but it definitely spoke. Especially at 3:30AM.

    I have two kids 14 months apart, so I pumped and nursed for a looooooooong time. That pump had many, many chances to talk to me.

  26. I’m just now seeing this post – but I am laughing out loud! I swear my pump ALWAYS said “cotton candy, cotton candy”. My husband will still chant that to get a rise out of me! Pumping was certainly not my favorite pastime!

  27. Mine always said “Don’t cry” and sometimes would chant “October” at me. And now I have passed it down to my daughter-in-law (just the motor) with no warnings!

  28. I had twins and had to start pumping right away because one boy was too little to latch and the other was too lazy! LOL! Of course my pump talked to me, and yes, it’s a wheezy little man voice. Sometimes it would be the random Waldorf Queen variety, and sometimes it was exactly what I needed to hear, like “one more minute, one more minute, one more minute” when I just wanted to be done, or “just keep going, just keep going, just keep going” when I was struggling. I’d nearly forgotten about this and sadly enough, I didn’t think it was a bit crazy. Hmmmm….

    1. You be sure to tell your husband first thing tonight that YOU WERE NOT CRAZY!

      …or if you were, you were in a LOT of good company.

  29. This post is old now, but I’ve read it and have to comment! I’m crazy too. It’s been two years since I used a breast pump, but mine said “that’s right, that’s right” and it really freaked me out! It said other random stuff, too. I remember “more milk” and “turkey plate” specifically but most of the time it said “that’s right” until I thought I would lose my mind!

  30. Haha, mine said “whipper whill! whipper whill!” or depending on the setting, sometimes it would sound like pac-man “wakka-wakka-wakka-wakka” i just thought about gobbling up all those little white dots. ughh….so glad I am not pumping anymore

  31. Stumbled on this post when I Googled “breast pump speaks to me!” Really wondered if I was losing it. This morning it’s saying “Let it go, let it go, let it go…” HA!

  32. Your blog is like black hole–in a good way. I start reading and then get sucked in by all the links that promise more good stories. That’s how I ended up on this post. Anyway, my sister and I both noticed that the pump would talk, and my mom always comments on it when she visits. I pumped frequently when my son was first born because he wasn’t able to suck well because of tongue tie. That machine would say things like “wake up,” “get a life,” and “close the door.” It also sounds like dogs barking. In fact, my sister’s MIL kept wondering why those neighborhood dogs barked so much until she learned that it was the pump. Now I pump as infrequently as possible because I hate washing extra dishes. Nursing = no pump dishes. Pumping did allow me to create a nice freezer stash of milk.

  33. ROFL! I haven’t laughed so much in a while!..
    mine says “what a cow.. what a cow..”
    the chanting is pretty annoying so I turn up the volume on my headphones while pumping.. Until my mom comes by and tells me what she hears the pump saying :-|
    i much prefer nursing, and since I work from home I can avoid pumping sometimes.. :-)

  34. thanks for resharing this. I had to use a hand pump-much harder and it didn’t talk, but I Had a few choice words for it…and I was in the Military and at times had no private place to pump so I would have to face a corner and do my business as Army business was getting done all around me….sweet memories…. For the left and right-some people just get it thy just know, I had trouble all my life until my 5 yr old (turns 27 this yr) came home from school and says ” Do you know your left hand makes an “L” but your right hand doesn’t.” I looked at my hands and was just amazed, Still how I tell to this day!

  35. Well my pump was quite rude to me! He kept telling me “pump more pump more pump more” and then [expletives edited]! Very rude since I was pumping to donate to my milk baby!

  36. Yes!! I forget most of the words, but I remember it saying Broccoli Broccoli Broccoli over and over again until it morphed into something else!! I’m so glad I’m not alone in this!!

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