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Last active February 24, 2016 19:17
What would you like to do?
A place to discuss traveling moms

##Nursing Moms and Workshop Travel This article came out recently talking about moms, nursing and science careers. I went to a meeting a few weeks ago, and it involved some travel. Couple flights, couple hour bus ride and a half-hour car trip.

After my bus ride, I end up getting stuck at the bus station for an extra hour and a half due to unforseen circumstances. I end up getting pretty severe impactions, and not having the ability to get that fully managed. Because of the remote nature of the workshop, the organizers had to check in a lot with participants via text, which made it hard to relax and pump. Long story short, my daughter now gets formula most of the time because I'm pretty in pretty rough shape.

Here are some disorganized thoughts on nursing and attending meetings.

  • First, you have to attend meetings. Your life didn't end because you had a kid. I cried for a while when I realized I wasn't going to be able to feed Alice the way I had been. But it's not the end of the world. She gets some milk, and eats solids happily. I feel guilty, I feel awful, and I shouldn't because I didn't do anything wrong.

  • Second, travel involves risk. Sometimes you'll get stuck at a bus station for an extra hour or so. This might harm your ability to nurse.

  • Third, there is no fix for this. You can't just ring up an organizer and say 'Hey, can you insulate me better from the random nature of reality?'

##Some maybe helpful thoughts

  • If you're hosting meetings, be aware that time matters to nursing moms. It might not be a big deal for you to sit for an extra hour somewhere without a bathroom, but for mom, that might be a big problem.
  • Ability to get this sorted in advance is great. I knew where the lactation space was, who was in charge, etc.
  • At some point, you just have to stop being nice about these things. I wish I had been not-nice earlier, and really insisted on the schedule being maintained. And I know better than to wait until something bad happens to advocate for myself. I know that. But in the moment, that's hard. So I'm sharing all this so other women know to be the bad guy if you have to, and when you have to.

This isn't on my blog because my comments are broken, and I hate HTML, and I want comments! Moms, what matters to you in workshop accommodations? Workshop organizers, how do you make your workshops accessible to nursing moms?

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Thanks for sharing, April.
So, for my next events I'm thinking I can identify and reserver an appropriate room. Is it enough to just list it on the website or in the program? Do I need to find other things too, like refrigerator space?

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Great question @raynamharris. I think as long as the info is somewhere people have access to, that's fine. 'The info', in my opinion, being:

  • Where is the room?
  • What is the room policy (drop in when you need it, sign-up)?
  • How is the room accessed (email you, go to a desk and get a key)?

Whether or not a fridge is needed, I think depends on the time frame. If you're somewhere overnight where there isn't a communal fridge accessible (Bodega Bay Marine Lab has a fridge in the dorms, for example) or a personal fridge (AT&T Center has fridges in rooms), that might be necessary (I think Woods Hole might be in this category?). I think more important than providing a fridge is being clear on if there is one. I have a collapsible cooler I bring when there isn't one. No big deal.

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