Last night we attended a panel discussion about working and motherhood in San Francisco. There were 600 women present, and it was strange to realize that everyone in the room was a mother. I am used to assuming I am special when I’m at a work event. I have thoughts like, “I have to get home and nurse my baby — y’all wouldn’t understand.” But everyone there last night did understand. And my breasts were totally cooperative with my four hour outing, although I had stashed a hand pump in my purse just in case.
It all began when IBM manager Cate Colburn-Smith sat down in the company’s employee lactation room, shed a few silent tears, and wrote this on a paper towel: I’m a new mom and today is my first day back at work. Is anyone else using this room?
Right away women responded, and the paper towel was eventually replaced by a series of notebooks, in which these moms offered one another advice and support for juggling work, life and a newborn. Based on the original notebooks, The Milk Memos is an informative, encouraging (and often hilarious!) guide to blending motherhood and work. Actual journal entries are interwoven with information-packed sections on subjects that matter to working moms, such as:
* Finding the right childcare solution
* Getting a decent night’s sleep
* Finding a private place to pump breastmilk
* Establishing a pumping routine in the midst of a
* Negotiating with an employer for flextime, part-time,
or a job share
The web site for the book has some helpful PDFs that you back at work nursing moms should take a look at. At the event last night, they also had a recipe for milk production-boosting cookies. I’ll find out if we can get our hands on that and share it with you.
And, before you click away to check it out, have a look at the Rookie Moms pumping project and share your story.