Posts

Newsletter #35: Mother’s Sharing – Eleanor Ho’s Story [Traveling Mum]

By BMSG Editorial Team

Mother’s Sharing is a monthly column where we hear the stories of breastfeeding mothers and their individual, unique experiences. This month, we speak with Eleanor Ho, a regular contributor on our Facebook group, on how she prepares sufficiently to pack her expressed breastmilk when she is traveling for work.

——

Pumping while traveling, especially on a work trip, can cause anxiety in many mums but for mummy Eleanor Ho, practice makes perfect. [Image for illustration]

I’m a mother to a three-and-a-half year old girl and a one-and-a-half year old boy. I work as an improvement engineer in the oil and gas industry, mainly to support scheduling applications in the manufacturing plant. I travel approximately one to two times yearly for network meetings.

Breastfeeding While Traveling – A Mother’s Milestone

As a first time mum, it was daunting initially to learn how to breastfeed, let alone to continue breastfeeding while traveling. I had many encouraging conversations with other mums and had read positive experiences from mothers who shared their stories on the BMSG Facebook group. Sharing my story is a way for me to pay it forward.

Eleanor learnt from other mums how to make traveling with breastmilk fuss-free. Here, she shows how mums can creating “trays” in cooler box to freeze more than 1 packet of breastmilk [Credits: Eleanor Ho]

Equipped with useful tips and ample preparation, breastfeeding while travelling can be more manageable than one would expect and I consider being able to accomplish it as a significant milestone in my breastfeeding journey. As commented once by a BMSG counsellor on the group, bringing back frozen breastmilk is the best souvenir that a mother can bring home with her after a period of traveling without her children.

I had breastfed my elder child for about 15 months until she self-weaned as I had then became pregnant with my second child. I am currently still breastfeeding my 2nd baby who just turned 20 months.

Memorable Moments

One memorable moment I can recall is my first business trip where I had to pump overseas for the first time. With no prior experience, I had to do trial and error to make sure my frozen breastmilk returned to Singapore safe and sound, and ,most importantly, still frozen. Returning home with a cooler box of frozen breastmilk felt like an achievement unlocked. I was also very relieved that my baby still remembered to latch when I returned home. Doing this also made me feel empowered that I was still able to fulfil my mummy duties despite being away from home.

Eleanor’s go-to for pumping on-the-go: A Packit can fit 2 large ice packs + 1 set of pump parts & bottles & extra storage bottles, her way of traveling light on-the-job. [Credits: Eleanor Ho]

Supportive Employer

My employer has been rather supportive of my intent to breastfeed. My breastfeeding colleagues and I are fortunate that there are private nursing rooms available onsite for our use. My other colleagues will also help to book nursing rooms on my behalf whenever I visit an associate office and need to pump. Without their support and understanding, I believe I would have given up on breastfeeding much earlier than I had planned to.

Advice for Other Mums

I would say being prepared would ease the anxiety towards pumping while travelling. Minor but important logistical preparations might seem unnecessary but things like prior communication with the hotel on your freezing requirements will go a long way in easing your worries. It will also prevent any surprises or disappointments, and there would be ample time to make alternative preparation and arragements.

A checklist* will be most useful to help mums bring the essentials.

Lastly, practice makes perfect too! With more travelling experiences, you will become more proficient at breastfeeding while pumping, and be better prepared with time.

——

Eleanor has kindly put together the following in a file you can access here. The file contains a checklist, useful links and labels that mums can use to prepare for their trips. Samples of the documents are shown below:

* Checklist for a Long Flight

Luggage & Cooler Box Labels

Useful links of Eleanor’s sharing on the BMSG Facebook Group (you will need to be a group member before being able to view):

  • Packing the cooler bag for long haul trips: here and here
  • Using Packit and Daiso icepack: here

Note: All documents are courtesy and credits to Eleanor Ho. Reproduced with permission.

———

Interested in more pumping stories? Read articles we have published previously:

Sept 2018 Newsletter: BMSG Workshop News

By BMSG Editorial Team

BMSG counsellors have been kept very busy this year due to the introduction of our new and reduced workshop pricing. Noting the surge in demand especially for the Breastfeeding 101 (BF101) workshop, we switched from bi-monthly to monthly BF101 workshops in the middle of this year. We also recently conducted our September run of the Breastfeeding & Going Back to Work Workshop, which takes place every two months.

Full house turnout at our recent BF101 workshop in August! It was conducted by breastfeeding counsellors Kathryn & Alona (in white & turquoise respectively).

Outcomes of Workshops

On top of receiving breastfeeding education, workshop participants (both mothers and fathers) will also hear from mothers who share their experiences. We invite our volunteers, who are breastfeeding mothers, to talk about their experiences which are relevant to the topic of the workshop. This gives our workshop a realistic edge and allows parents to hear for themselves the theories they have learnt being applied in real life.

This month, we invited Wong Shu Yi, a teacher and a mother of one, who shared about how she transited into her role as a working mother after maternity leave.

As we all know, a day in the life of a teacher is a hectic experience and adding pumping to the works can overwhelm any new mother. It may seem that breastfeeding is difficult to sustain after maternity leave, especially when mothers have jobs with unforgiving schedules. However, Shu Yi showed the participants how she was able to ease her pumping routine into her work day.

Shu Yi shares with us how she adapts her pumping schedule based on the activities she has for the day, ensuring that she still pumps at least three times at work and latches her baby before and after work.

Coupled with good support at home and a resilient attitude, Shu Yi demonstrated how she was able to pump enough for the next day’s feed. Shu Yi also pumped every two to three hours, a recommended schedule for pumping mothers. However, owing to the adaptive nature of her job, she was able to work around the timings to pump in order to maintain her supply and has managed to do this until her daughter had turned one.

Shu Yi emphasised to the workshop participants how important it is for mums to latch their babies whenever they can as frequent latching helps to maintain the supply of breastmilk.

She also direct-latched her baby when she was not at work and after she returned home because she knew the importance of latching to stimulate her milk supply especially when she was separated from her baby during the day. She also mentioned that she appreciated these latching sessions as they were moments for her to bond with her baby girl.

Even when she had to invigilate exams, Shu Yi did missed the chance to pump. We were especially inspired by a picture that Shu Yi had shown during her sharing of her pumping at her desk with just a nursing cover.

To save time, Shu Yi gets by pumping at her desk with just a nursing cover.

With a never-say-die attitude and her belief that latching her baby promotes bonding, we are astounded by Shu Yi’s commitment to breastfeeding. We also couldn’t help but notice how attached her daughter, who was present at the workshop, was to her mum!

Thank you Shu Yi for sharing your story! We hope that you will continue to have a great breastfeeding journey beyond your baby’s first birthday <3

Keen to attend our workshops? Check out our workshop schedule. If you are a breastfeeding mother and want to share at our workshops, write to us at workshop@breastfeeding.org.sg.