In Honor of World Breastfeeding Week

Posted on August 06, 2020

In Honor of World Breastfeeding Week

Thinking about breastfeeding week, got me thinking about the first time I breastfed in public. I took a photo so I wouldn’t forget that special time.

My kiddo had just turned two months and I went to visit the company I had been working for. One to show off my new little bundle of joy but two to touch base about my role upon returning to work.

It was the discussion about my role that prompted me to breastfeed in public for the first time that day. My former boss told me they were going to eliminate traveling for my role because as a new mom I wouldn’t want to be feeding in public and traveling and pumping. I was so pissed. Here I was the new Mom who had traveled to Vegas 3 weeks before my due date (with doctor approval of course) to work a multi-day trade show and entertain some large clients. I had traveled all through my pregnancy for client meetings and tradeshows.  I loved my job, I loved my clients, I loved traveling.

Yet now because I would be a pumping mom, my travel was eliminated, even though I would keep my same role of Director of National Accounts.

So I left in a “let’s continue this conversation” manner vs just eff this. But I remember being so angry but thinking maybe he was right. He did have a wife with 3 kiddos and she left the professional workforce to be a SAHM. I was the only traveling female salesperson on our team. Maybe they were right.

Or maybe they were completely wrong and being stupid. I wasn’t and have never been one to have someone tell me what is best for me. So I decided that instead of racing home to make sure I could feed my kiddo at home, I stopped at an open air mall, got a decaf iced coffee, snack (hey I was always hungry while nursing), and fed my kid in public. Could I be the pumping mom while out and about?  Could I feed my kid in public?  Why, yes I could.  It was much easier than I thought.

Fast forward to me not returning to that company except to train my replacement. I decided to start my own company, Gena Graceful and have since traveled numerous times - taking baby with me or pumping.  I have pumped and breastfed my child in so many places, you name it and I have probably done it. 

Looking back, I’m grateful for that day that made me know I could breastfeed my baby or pump while traveling and still be a professional. Grateful my former company was full of men that just didn’t get it as well as completely underestimated me.  In hindsight, they were halfway right, I didn't want to travel as much as I had before, I wanted to be home with my son versus in a hotel room.  Yet, if I would have had that choice back then, my life might look differently now.  So I wouldn't change a thing.

So here’s to all the breastfeeding and pumping Moms out there!!  You are amazing!  You are doing great work.  I believe fed is best in the whole scheme of things and traveling as a Mom is not easy no matter how you look at it.  Happy Breastfeeding Week.

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