One of the toughest parts of working and breastfeeding is the dreaded Business Trip. I’ll cover other aspects, like pumping in clients’ offices or at conferences, and storing milk in hotel rooms, in forthcoming posts. For now, we’re going to focus on what it is like to *magically fly through the air* with breast milk.
Warning: none of this is fun or exciting. It is mostly stressful, messy, cumbersome, and weird. Excited? Here we go!
Packing for the plane
Some women call their pump “medical equipment” and try to get around the one carry-on and one personal item thing. But it’s a good idea to pack as if this were not an option, in case you encounter an ornery TSA agent (so much of traveling with milk comes down to the individual agent).
First, pack your purse into your suitcase and cram a makeup bag down one side of the pump bag, and your wallet, keys, and phone down the other side.
Continue reading The Mile-High Milk Club
Breastfeeding in America is on the rise, and more women are breadwinners than ever before. Put those two things together, and you have a lot of women across the country who are pumping breast milk at work every day. At some point, you are very likely to have met or meet one of these women as a co-worker. And when that happens, you get to decide which of the following co-workers you are going to be:
The Resentful One: This person refers to maternity leave as a “vacation”, makes comments about “productivity”, and loudly asks why everyone doesn’t get multiple “breaks” in the day. Don’t be this person. Forget the working mom: looking petty at work is not good for you. Spend your time doing great things and making sure people notice them.
Continue reading How to be a kick-ass co-worker to a breastfeeding mom
When was the last time you talked to your boss about your breasts?
Breastfeeding and working is no longer an exception for new mothers. It is no longer a valiant few women, secretly locked in closets with breast pumps: it’s the new reality of an America where women are all at once breadwinners and, for the first few months to few years of a baby’s life, milk-makers.
American workplaces need to catch up with this reality. They need elements both hard (rules, policies, and infrastructure) and soft (culture, rigorously protected by HR and executives) to ensure that every working mother has the tools at her disposal to make this situation work. Today, even in companies with lactation-friendly policies, many women are at the mercy of their particular manager (or HR team). Support can make all the difference to a successful, productive return to work that empowers a woman to continue to feed her baby breast milk. Cultural and physical hurdles often mean a premature end to breastfeeding – which has implications on not just the baby’s health, but on the mother’s attitudes toward her employer.
Welcome to the reality of modern working motherhood. But while we wait, advocate, and push for the world to catch up, working women need solutions now, even if they don’t quite get us to the holy grail of universal support for working and breastfeeding. Like it or not, your boss is going to be either your greatest ally or your biggest hurdle in your quest to breastfeed after you return to work, so it’s time to figure out how to talk to him or her about this.
If you have a best-friends-forever relationship with your boss, you can bypass the awkwardness and go straight into planning. For the rest of us, while the anticipation of the conversation is often the worst part, it is worth planning for. Here’s a five-step plan for you and your newly gigantic bosom:
Continue reading Talking To Your Boss About Your Breasts