As workplaces open up and traveling resumes, many breastfeeding mothers will face the challenge of what to do while away from their baby. Pumping at work and in an office is already difficult, and even more so for women who are on the road. For a pumping mom and navy nurse, that challenge was especially apparent. Lieutenant JG Kourtney Daughters made the decision to continue breastfeeding while on assignment at a military hospital across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. She would mail breastmilk home to her new baby, a costly expense. When leading breast pump brand Medela learned of her story, they stepped in to help—and it inspired a countrywide initiative.
Medela will ship Daughters’ breastmilk 3,000 miles across the country to her baby. They also will select one woman per month through the rest of the year, as part of the #MedelaMailMyMilk initiative, to receive three free months of breastmilk mailing via Milk Stork (valued at over $1,600).
This is an incredible gift from Medela,” says Daughters. “I am glad to be able to help young women transition to motherhood and continue my own pumping journey. Motherhood is a powerful experience and distance cannot overcome it.”
The initiative spotlights the critical role of new moms in the workplace while also creating a community of support by encouraging moms to share their stories of perseverance.
“This is a perfect example of how one story can inspire a movement,” says Melissa Gonzales, RN and executive vice president of the Americas for Medela. “COVID-19 has forced parents all over the country to make tough decisions. I hope this story also serves as a reminder for business leaders everywhere to evaluate how they are supporting parents, especially mothers, in the workforce.”
Supporting mothers in the workforce is something that needs to be encouraged. Even though women have been in the workplace for more than 100 years, their role as a working mother is often overlooked. And it’s especially hard for new mothers and those who might need to mail breastmilk. More than 57 percent of women in the workplace have children under the age of one year old and an estimated 4 out of 5 working women note they would like more support from their employers. New parents who are required to travel for work experience unique challenges, with 65 percent of moms struggling to get their breast milk back home when traveling.
Earlier this year, Medela joined forces with leading women executives at Mamava and Milk Stork to call on businesses to improve support for new moms at work. These leading brands formed New Moms’ Healthy Returns and shared a list of recommendations to improve the support for mothers in the workplace in an open letter, They discussed items like parental leave and lactation support. New Moms’ Healthy Returns (NMHR) provides employers with customizable solutions including breastfeeding resources, Mamava lactation space solutions, 24/7 access to pediatric experts and breast milk shipping for traveling employees. NMHR also helps women prepare for the transition back to work and navigate conversations with their employer, in addition to offering research and data to inform decisions for human resources professionals, business leaders, and managers.
The #MedelaMailMyMilk initiative is just a small step in what will hopefully be an improved workplace for moms.
To enter for a milk sponsorship, mothers can visit the contest page to share their story and tag #MedelaMailMyMilk on their social media.