Pumping at work with the Kiinde System - A Kommunity Story

Pumping at work with the Kiinde System - A Kommunity Story

Many working moms use the Kiinde Twist system for pumping at work, but not very many have a job as unusual as Sydney's. Sydney is a cargo plane pilot, and she went back to work when her baby boy was three months old. Flying a plane while pumping breast milk poses its own particular challenges, as you can imagine. Here's what Sydney had to say about how the Kiinde system makes being a mom easier when she is working as a pilot.  

Using the Kiinde Twist System as a working mom

 Is your job fairly supportive of working moms?   So far it has been very positive - my workplace has been very supportive. I'm working with one of my coworkers right now to get the mother's room/nursing room all set and ready to go. Three of us have had babies in the past month, and we have another five coworkers expecting!  

What does pumping at work look like when you're actually flying the aircraft?   I'm fortunate to have one of the portable pumps, a Willow pump. I use that when I'm actually flying the airplane, and then as soon as I'm done flying and I'm back on the ground, I transport it home. From there it goes right into the Kiinde bags, right into the freezer. So that way things are all set up, super easy, everything is labeled how the daycare needs it. If my husband is home and needs to feed our son a bottle, he knows exactly where to go. We have the milk bottle heater - the Kozii Pro - and my husband loves that. He says it's so easy because as soon as the baby wakes up and starts crying, he can drop the Twist Pouch in the Kozii Warmer, go get the baby and change him, and then by the time that's done, the bottle is ready to go.  

Do you feel like there's any negativity or awkwardness around you pumping at work, or while you're on the job?   No, actually. I think because there's been such a big push recently around normalizing breastfeeding and pumping, and since I happen to work with a lot of people who have babies, all of my coworkers have been very supportive. I am one of 15-20 females in our group of about 150, so having the support of my male coworkers has been great, because they are also dads too, and they get it. One of my coworkers hollered across the hallway the other day, "Hey Sydney, what breast pump are you getting?" because his wife is expecting. It's great because it's become so normalized that everyone is very comfortable talking about it.   I was expecting to have a lot more issues, but when I brought up to my supervisor that we don't really have a lactation space - a nursing room, a mother's room - he said, "You know what, you're totally right and we will fix that immediately." We got a room allocated, and we're working on getting nicer chairs, so the room can support four women pumping at work, at the same time. We have some really strong females in upper leadership who are also pushing this and making it a priority.  

That's really inspiring! A big part of Kiinde is not just the Kiinde products, but supporting breastfeeding and encouraging breastfeeding, and trying to make it easier for working moms to continue breastfeeding and not to feel so overwhelmed by the effort and the high-maintenance aspect of it. How does your husband feel about using the Kiinde system?   He loves all of it! With this being our first kid, I don't think he ever knew the disaster that goes with all of the nipples and the bottles and the parts. He said, "Oh, this isn't so bad" and I've had to show him posts from moms with pictures of everything for their bottles and tell him, "This is what we would have to be going through." And then he says, "Oh my gosh, I love the Kiinde system even more!" So he's a huge fan. At the end of the day, cleaning bottles is the last thing we want to do.    

How did you find Kiinde in the first place?   One of the online mom groups that I'm part of, the people started talking about the bottles and the systems that they were using, I was just kind of a quiet observer. About once a week, someone would post asking for comments about what people would recommend, and without fail, Kiinde was mentioned every single time. Multiple likes from people, saying it's great for breastfeeding, for storage, it's great for formula because you can measure the formula in there and just add water and go, it's got the ability to do purees with the Foodii aspect of it. There wasn't a single person who had a bad thing to say about the Kiinde system, and I thought that was pretty impressive, so I said, "Heck, we're going to go with that and see how our son likes it." So he was about a week old when I tapped out - I realized I needed help feeding him in the middle of the night because he would nurse for like 40 minutes and then go to sleep and wake up only an hour later. So I decided we were going to try a bottle a night and see how he does. He took the Kiinde bottle with no issue, and we've been going strong ever since.  

And there wasn't any conflict with breastfeeding from you and also taking the bottle?   Nope, I made sure my husband read - and I told him fifty million times - about pace feeding. He said, "It's fine, let's just hold the bottle and lie him back" and I said, "Sweetheart, that's how you screw things up" and he said "Ohhhhhhh." I don't know if daycare is as good about pace feeding as I would like them to be. But our baby still has no issues, he takes three Kiinde bottles at daycare Monday through Friday and then otherwise he's either nursing with me or my husband will give him a bottle.  

How do you manage your work demands?   It can be very difficult. My son is five months old now and he is still not sleeping through the night. The Kiinde slow flow nipple is part of what makes it work. Because of the Kiinde product, and because my husband's job allows him to be home and take our son to and from daycare, I've been able to do work trips that are two or three days. When I'm home, my days start at six in the morning and then I'm gone from my son until about six at night, so being able to have the Kiinde product for all of my milk storage and then freezing it and sending it to daycare with him, it's just been great. Kiinde makes me able to do my job.  

Breastfeeding Laws - You are protected at work

  Breastfeeding moms are protected at working under the "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" Act. This was set in place in 2010 and protects breastfeeding parents at the federal level.      

This act requires that employers adhere to the following breastfeeding laws:

  • The employer is to provide a clean and private space for mothers to express breastmilk. Is *not* acceptable for this room to be a bathroom, and if it is a shared space, it is required the mother have some type of security while she is expressing milk.   
  • Employers are required to provide adequate break time for mothers to express milk, for one year after the child's birth.   
  • Break time is to be provided as frequently as the mother needs in order to adequately express milk for her breastfed infant. It is important to note that the breastfeeding laws do not require this break time to be paid unless you are pumping during your employer-designated break time.  
These federal breastfeeding laws were put in place as a recognition of the role that breastfeeding plays in a healthy society. If you are experiencing discrimination due to your need to pump at work, or your employer refuses to comply with these guidelines, you can contact the Wage and Hours Division of the U.S. Department of Labor for assistance.
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