Oh The Places You'll ... Pump?
Today is the day!
You’ll pump in great places!
You’ll pump your own way.
With ‘pons on your boots.
Or skis on your feat.
You’ll pump, fearless mama.
Mountain milk is so sweet!
A few months ago, my husband and I went to the hospital. We checked in as a couple. We checked out as a family of three. Amazing.
I’m a climbing/skiing guide—so now I’m a mountain guide mom. I returned to guiding slowly, a few months after my son, Hiroyuki, was born. I love spending time with Hiro. Guiding and being in the mountains is critical to my mental health, though. And being a good mom requires good mental health, too. So off to the mountains I go.
Various laws require that employers provide working moms with a reasonable space and privacy to pump. “Reasonable” is not a word most people would use to describe Eldorado Canyon or the Colorado backcountry. Spectacular. Inspiring. Beautiful. Those words better describe these special places. Perhaps they aren’t the most convenient places to pump, but you can’t beat the views.
Like many moms, I want to nurse my child with my own breast milk and still continue with my profession. And since my “office” is a bit unusual, here’s how I do it. I pump in a car right before meeting clients. I pump during guides’ meetings, sometimes even while briefing my colleagues. (Hey CMS colleagues, you boys rock!) If possible, I pump again on the way to the trailhead. A few hours into a climbing or skiing day, I pump in the field with either my heavy battery-powered pump, or my slow hand pump. After letting clients know that it’s now the perfect time for a break, I pump under a smock while briefing them on what’s ahead (and acting as if none of this is awkward at all). And, yes, my clients are awesome! Sometimes I race to my car at the end of the day feeling like I’m going to burst, grabbing my pump kit with the type of grateful anticipation that others might associate with a cold beer.
Breast feeding and pumping are personal choices. Whatever a mom chooses to do should be honored and respected. So for all the moms and moms-to-be out there, know that if you want to continue your outdoor pursuits and pump in the field, you can do it. You do not need to be trapped at home 24-7. I would love to see more moms out in the field—we set an example for our friends, family, and children!
I’ve only been a mom for three months, but I’ve I learned just how amazing moms really are, and that that they deserve so much love, admiration, and support. They deserve gold medals. Without them, civilization would literally end. Moms are superheroes. So, cheers and banzai to all moms.
So . . .
Be your name Norie, Nico, Nancy, or Nan.
Or Megan Ali Ashley O’She
You’ll pump in great places!
Today is your day.
Your mountain is waiting.
So . . . get on your way!
Photos courtesy of Norie Kizaki and David Wolf.