Apparently, it is World Breastfeeding Week.... and wow, this is a topic near and dear to my heart.
My daughters are 17 months apart (accident!). I was blessed to breastfeed both my children for over a year (even while pregnant with Shriya, I breastfed Shyla). My two learning experiences of being a breastfeeding mompreneur with a traveling career:
For Shyla (baby #1)- When I was working from home- nursing was easy breezy! When I was traveling- I took Shyla on many of my business trips (my mom was my nanny- what a gift). I would still pump in the office OR rush back to the hotel to feed her. The sad thing was people (including women) questioned why I left my office frequently and missed meetings- I had to pump (it’s a process!) or nurse.
Lesson Learned with Shyla- My child's food comes first- I will have to speak up when people question why I am missing meetings. And should not feel embarrassed or guilty. Self Assessment- I did not do this well and sometimes felt I was not supported. Either way- I was more empowered for the future and could help others after me! On another note- I mastered traveling with a baby!
For Shriya (baby #2)- I used to pump everywhere and anywhere (on the plane in my seat, in cars while driving, at Starbucks in the airport) and then ship overnight (via UPS or FedEx) frozen breast milk while on business trips. I carried some on the plane with me too. The key was I had to freeze it and what a learning experience- some hotels do not have a "freezer" in the room. Most hotel employees told me they could not accommodate. Hence I would speak to the Executive Chef and ask them to freeze my milk in their storage freezer. While this was not easy- I did not give up. If milk is not frozen- you cannot ship it and some airports give you issues for liquid breast milk.
Lesson Learned with Shriya- Ask hotels and offices to accommodate your needs. They may not have the appropriate policies in place BUT that was my opportunity to help make a difference. Self Assessment- I succeeded at making policy changes at a few hotel locations who did not have a fridge/freezer accommodation for guests!
All in all-- breastfeeding was the most challenging, humbling, and gratifying experience of my life thus far... and I welcome any questions, thoughts, and feedback on this. We are in this together moms.
Download this FREE CHECKLIST on guidelines for traveling with children on a plane during the pandemic.