August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week. As mothers, the expectation (from ourselves and society) to provide nourishment for our children can sometimes be a pressure filled spiral of thoughts, emotions, and worries. Maybe you pictured yourself breastfeeding your newborn child for just a short time, and then found yourself 18 months down the road, still going strong. Or maybe you decided that formula was a better fit for you and your child.
Every mother and child is unique in their needs and preferences, and it’s perfectly acceptable to do your own thing! But the road to discovering what is best for the two of you can be a complex journey. I’m certainly not an expert, but I have walked the walk, and found a way to laugh off the ridiculous incidents and seek better options for breastfeeding and pumping.
Pumping and Nursing in Public
Pumping could (in my opinion) be an olympic sport. There’s equipment needed, practice required, and countless hours of effort put in to win the gold! Liquid gold that is. Never did I ever think that something as minimal as 2 oz of pumped breast milk could make me feel like such a complete and total champion of the universe. That’s right, it doesn’t just happen suddenly and effortlessly. And heck, when you’re at an all day conference, at 4 months postpartum, away from your newborn for an entire day – you find a way to pump. Even if that means you’re in a storage room and get walked in on by one of the conference speakers (yup, true story). You just make it work. Because you have to! But does it really have to be this complicated?
When my son was 10 months old, my husband and I took him to his first Red Sox game. As we walked through the stadium to get to our seats, we walked past a large white futuristic looking pod. Emblazoned on the side was the Medela logo which I recognized instantly from all my pumping equipment. Alas! A private breastfeeding/pumping pod, with a LOCKED DOOR, for breastfeeding moms to pump or nurse privately at a public event. I thought – is this heaven? And, where can I find more of these??
Imagine these pods set up in offices, airports, shopping malls, etc.? Also, the relief and comfort this could provide to so many women all over the world! Check out the official announcement of Medela and the MLB’s partnerships here, which was made official in September 2018.
Employers Changing the Game
Many if not most places of employment do not offer ideal pumping accommodations. But again, what is anyone doing about it? In the coworking world, many folks are catching on to the demand, and building their businesses around it and for it. Like Alley in New York, where they have a dedicated lactation room. Genius! They were even featured in Elle, along with big name companies like Google, Marriott, and Discovery Channel – to name a few – that are all going above and beyond to accommodate this basic human need.
So, in honor of World Breastfeeding week, let’s raise a glass – err bottle – to the women who are making it work despite the challenges, the employers and establishments that are making it a little easier, and the hope that it will only get better from here. Cheers!