The #BlogHer community took the internet by storm by logging on for our first-ever digital conference, #BlogHer20 Parenting on Friday April 24th. It was a day packed with insightful discussions among leading women in a multitude of industries, united by a vested interest in parenting.
So much great programming happened at #BlogHer20 Parenting — but we want to give a special shout out to our sponsor Medela for making the incredible “Bye Bye Balance, Hello Work-Life Integration” panel possible. Medela’s time on our screens was kicked off by an awesome, highly informative presentation from Corky Harvey detailing the ways Medela is changing the lactation game for working moms with sleek, innovative technologies that are as easy to use as they are to transport.
The “Bye Bye Balance” panel followed shortly after and was moderated by SheKnows Editor Eugenia Richman featuring the incredible Mara Martin, who made headlines for walking the Sports Illustrated runway while breastfeeding her daughter, Dr. Jessica Shepherd, and Dana Kirwin of Medela as panelists.
Together, these incredible women gave birth (ha!) to a candid conversation on the realities of returning to work after-baby for new moms, tips for nursing or pumping at work, and banishing working mom-guilt once and for all.
See below for some of the many thoughtful, insightful comments that came about during the panel’s time on-screen. And, lucky for you, you can catch the entirety of the panel in the video below!
ON RETURNING TO WORK AS A NEW MOTHER
“Companies need to account for that transition back to the workplace. It’s not that we can’t do the work, it’s that we need some adjustment to the structure while caring for a new human. How are we making up most of the workforce when the workforce is not working for us?” – Dr. Jessica Shepherd
“My job at Medela is to help employers do more for moms as they return to the workforce – sometimes you show up and you don’t look pregnant anymore and it’s like everyone’s moved on… and they forget that you’ve gone through this huge change!” – Dana Kirwin
“I’m a model and an influencer and a writer – no two days are the same for me. I don’t really have a lot of structure – but I realized there’s no one way to do things and no right way to parent. What works for me might not work for you but there’s no one way to do it. We’re all figuring it out as we go!” – Mara Martin
“Remember, you’re not alone. All moms feel this and it’s ok to talk about it. The transition back to work is very emotional and overwhelming. We advocate that moms need to step up and tell their employer what they need, ask what’s available, and set expectations with their manager.” – Dana Kirwin, Director, Employer Groups Medela LLC
TIPS FOR NURSING/PUMPING AT WORK
“Find a bosom buddy at work – some woman in your workplace who had a baby. She probably has ten lessons off the top of her head.” – Dana Kirwin
“I remember starting to do surgeries again when I got back to work, and I’d get stuck in a surgery and have no time to pump. We have a lot of work to do in terms of getting companies restructured for this.” – Dr. Jessica Shepherd.
“New Moms Healthy Returns” program is a Medela resource. An example: we have a letter that new moms can send to their HR leader that helps them ask the right questions and set expectations with their managers” – Dana Kirwin
“I realized that (walking the runway) with her was actually normalizing motherhood, normalizing the working mom. After you have a baby you don’t have to give up your dreams and you can still go for it – this wasn’t just about breastfeeding, it was about this bigger picture.” – Mara Martin on walking the runway with her daughter.
“My career is nontraditional – but I still feel guilt even though I’m often home with her and I can take her with me… Everything I’m doing is for her – whether it’s being at home or working, everything is to set an example, or to be there and be present for her.” – Mara Martin
“The bond between mother and baby is innately there. The guilt is something WE feel. But the bond is there and it’s strong. When we realize that, we can do things that enrich us and when we are with our babies we can make those moments matter. Time away is okay.” – Dr. Jessica Shepherd
“I’m a remote employee for Medela, so part of that is not seeing my son for a few days at a time – I certainly struggle with that guilt and feeling bad for being away. But I remind myself that empowering my husband to be a primary caregiver is really important to him and his relationship with my son is important.” – Dana Kirwin.
“Personally, that’s a conclusion I came too – just because I’m not changing every diaper doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom – by working, and contributing to our family, I’m setting an example for my daughter.” – Eugenia Richman
We’re so glad each of these outstanding women could join us for #BlogHer20 Parenting – and to Medela for making this raw, honest, and so very important conversation possible. Every year, millions of moms rely on Medela’s technology to support their breast milk feeding journey – and Medela understands that supporting moms extends far beyond being a favorite breast-pump brand among moms.
Hosting candid conversations like these where moms who’ve made it work can share their tips and tricks is an incredible indicator of the brand’s dedication to supporting moms whenever they can, however they can.
Every year, millions of moms rely on Medela’s technology to support their breast milk feeding journey. As the #1 breast pump brand*, Medela provides the best in research-based products and support solutions to help moms provide breast milk for their babies for as long as they choose. For more information, visit Medela.us/breastfeeding.
*IQVIA ProVoice Survey; September 2018-August 2019.