Breast Milk Math … Or Am I Done Pumping Yet?

3 years ago

The precise computations a pumping mother does every day to calculate whether she’s pumped enough milk to fill the next day’s bottles rivals the most complex theoretical mathematics problems that keep grad students scratching their heads at MIT. For advanced milk math, you will need to have completed Breastfeeding 101, Breast Pump Basics, Breast Milk Storage, the 200-level course Pumping While Traveling and the companion course Surrendering Your Dignity. 

Credit Image: abbybatchelder on Flickr

In completing this milk math worksheet, all answers must be in black or blue ink. Remember to show your work!

1. Jane spends 20 minutes pumping three ounces of breast milk. If she accidentally spills one ounce on the kitchen counter, how long before she has a full-blown panic attack, requiring a double-dose of Klonopin?

Extra: Use the Effort-To-Output Ratio to calculate Jane’s maximum level of frustration that it will take her two hours to fill a six-ounce bottle.

2. Sara’s colicky baby cried from midnight to 4 AM. If Sara got two hours of sleep and her milk production is 45 percent lower than usual and she is two ounces short for the next day’s bottles, how many times will she empty the freezer and re-count the 47 bags of milk she’s stockpiled to convince herself she still has enough?

3. During a four-day business trip, Anne pumped 80 ounces of breast milk. If she has to carry her breast milk through airport security, calculate how quickly she will acquiesce to a full-body pat down to avoid having the security agent spoil her hard-pumped milk by opening up the bags? If the agent is gorgeous and ripped, calculate how much faster Anne will volunteer for a body-cavity search?

4. Laura pumps during a teleconference with several team members and her company’s CEO and CFO. If the phone call lasts for 60 minutes and Laura has been pumping for 20 minutes, at what point does a completely clueless colleague ask, “What’s that whirring sound I keep hearing in the background?” forcing Laura to admit to everyone on the call that she is “multi-tasking.”

5. Megan is on an overnight flight from Atlanta to Frankfurt. It’s been five hours since her last pumping session. If she spent one hour going through security, one hour on the tarmac awaiting takeoff, and it’s taken 45 minutes for the plane to reach its cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, how long after she’s begun pumping in the airplane’s cramped dirty bathroom will the captain turn on the Fasten Seat Belt sign, forcing her to return to her seat before she’s finished?

Extra: Use the Pain-To-Pressure Ratio to calculate how many mini-bottles of vodka Megan will drain to relieve her discomfort since she’s dumping her milk, anyway.

6. Sandy’s breast size increases one centimeter every three minutes. If she is 15 minutes past her usual pumping time because her teleconference call is running over, how soon before she busts out of her nursing bra?

Extra Credit: Use the Profanity-To-Pressure Principle to calculate how many four-letter words Sandy’s co-workers will overhear as her MUST-PUMP-NOW pressure increases.

7. Andrea is pumping while sitting on the floor of a handicapped stall in an airport restroom. If she pumps for 15 minutes and produces three ounces and the bathroom surfaces contain more than 1,000 colony-forming units per milliliter of infection-causing bacteria, how long will Andrea still cry over dumping her hard-pumped milk into the sink?

8. Lisa has gotten up 30 minutes early for 150 days straight to pump five extra ounces of milk in anticipation of an eight-day business trip. If she stockpiled 300 ounces of milk before leaving, but discovers on Day 2 of her trip that her house lost power and half of her milk is now unusable, at what point does she book an early flight home because she is terrified her baby will starve?

9. Rebecca has provided her daycare facility with three extra freezer bags of breast milk for emergency use. If the daycare staff drains two bags of “emergency” milk in the absence of a bona fide emergency, at what point does Rebecca fire the daycare providers?

10. Sophie’s baby typically drinks six ounces of breast milk before bedtime. If Sophie pays a babysitter $10 an hour to watch the baby while she goes out for the first time in weeks, and Sophie is gone from 6 PM to 9 PM, how much less money will the sitter receive once Sophie learns that half the bottle got poured down the drain because the baby didn’t finish it?

Guest post by Nicole Goodman of Work In Sweats Mama for The Science of Parenthood.

btn_mommymathNicole Goodman is a contributor to The Mother of All Meltdowns and the caffeine-driven mind behind  Work in Sweats Mama. She’s also a full-time working mother of two who’s spent countless hours pumping in inconvenient places around the world. After business hours, you’ll find her chasing her fearless 18-month-old, verbally sparring with her precocious four-year-old, avoiding housework, seeking an endorphin high on long runs, and slurping down a gigantic fountain Cokes.


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