"It's only a day trip." Famous last words, right up there with "How hard can it be?" or "she just pooped so she should be good to go." Cue diaper explosion. Like any working mom, Kristy Catsouphes, founder of Milk Expressed, approached her return to work with high hopes — she could juggle new mom life with a quick day trip from Boston to the New York suburbs to demo a product she had spent the last year preparing to launch.
She scheduled child care for her then 6-month-old daughter and road-tripped the journey so she could stop to pump and store breast milk in a Styrofoam cooler. She wore a baggy t-shirt over her pumping bra while she drove and then changed into her work clothes in a dingy fast food joint bathroom before meeting up with her team. When the meeting was over, Catsouphes couldn't help but pat herself on the back for pulling off so much behind the scenes mom-ing.
We’re the only breast milk shipping company that calls each and every hotel before a mom arrives so we can help her figure out how to handle complicated shipping procedures.
But there had to be an easier way, right? Turns out there was, and it's what led Catsouphes to launch Milk Expressed, a breast milk shipping service for on-the-go moms who want to pump and not dump, or simply zip through TSA without extra questioning about the contents of their milk storage bags. It's a genius idea, and it's what landed Catsouphes one of Romper's 2017 Made It Awards.
"I think most new moms are now told the benefits of breastfeeding, but there is too little done to help a mom incorporate breastfeeding into her actual life so she can continue to nurse for as long as she hopes to," Catsouphes tells Romper in an email interview. "[For instance,] I bet most new moms don’t know that breastfeeding requires 30 hours per week. We need to be honest with nursing moms and instead of shaming and pressuring them into breastfeeding, we need to help them fit it into their own dreams, careers, hobbies, and lives."
I hope we can offer moms the true emotional, physical, and logistical support to feed their babies the way they want
Catsouphes says one of the ways Milk Expressed is working toward that goal is in the company's efforts to work with employers so that they can support new moms when they return to work. "We focus on offering flexible plans so that any employer can offer breast milk shipping to their employees," she says. "We also offer superior customer service — we’re the only breast milk shipping company that calls each and every hotel before a mom arrives so we can help her figure out how to handle complicated shipping procedures." Milk Expressed is also the only breast milk transport company that offers an international travel kit for moms who go abroad while nursing.
"I hope we can offer moms the true emotional, physical, and logistical support to feed their babies the way they want," Catsouphes says. "Public places should have nursing rooms (airports, sports stadiums, etc.), and women shouldn’t have to take unpaid breaks to pump at work. Women should feel empowered to feed their babies in whatever way works for them, not shamed if they breastfeed in public or use formula."
Part of that onus, Catsouphes says, is also on new mothers, who she urges to realistically think about how they are going to plan for pumping breaks if they are going to head back to work while still nursing their baby.
"You can get creative," she says. "Get a car charger and pump in the car on the way to and from work, or create a 30-minute break in a jam-packed day by skipping the last 15 minutes of a meeting and the first 15 minutes of the next meeting. Take your cue from the way executives handle their busy schedules — they can’t always make every meeting so they optimize the time they have. You can do the same."
To get to know Catsouphes better, check out her Romper Screenshot below
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