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Thread: Short-notice travel/field work

  1. #1

    Default Short-notice travel/field work

    Hi ladies, my first post here because I'm a nervous FTM about to return to work!

    My job is unique in that it often requires very short-notice travel (as in, I need to be on the road/at the airport within 2 hours of receiving notice), lasting anywhere between 1-5 days. The locations vary; I could be in a major metropolitan area, or on a remote hillside an hour away from my hotel/the nearest civilization. Privacy is extremely limited, to near-impossible. The work days are often extremely long (14 hours is not unheard of), and I am in charge of a small team, consisting almost always of men, who legally cannot work if I'm not there - so leaving the job site to go back to the hotel and pump isn't really an option.

    I'm so nervous about messing up my supply, and how I'm going to maintain a somewhat regular pumping schedule while traveling. I'm also curious about my employer's responsibilities in this situation; are they required to provide me a place and time to pump while I am traveling? Is it too much to ask that my travel be limited to locations and situations where I might be able to pump easily, or that I not travel for the next year-ish? This is literally keeping me up at night, and I'd love to hear from other moms who have had to deal with less-than-ideal travel situations like this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,360

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    Welcome to the forum!

    Sounds like you have a very interesting job, which is great! We've had moms here who have had similar situations- lots of travel, unreliable access to private pumping areas. They tend to end up relying on their cars- they pump on the way to the job site, and then they pump in their cars whenever they need to. Would that be possible for you, or is your car likely to be far away from where you'll be working?

    I have no idea what the answer is to your question about your employer's responsibilities towards providing you with time/space to pump. My guess is that if your job included travel before you had a baby, you can't expect it not to include travel now. But it doesn't hurt to go in and have a frank, positive discussion about your needs as a mom- explain that you're not looking to be permanently excused from travel, or to have a permanent claim on the presumably more desirable, close-to-home locations, but that during the next few months it would really help to have a little additional consideration and flexibility.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    624

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    Conversations never hurt, and may help! My employer doesn't send me to sites where I cannot pump--just because I told them what my needs were.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
    Posts
    1,882

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    pumping under a cover (like a thin shawl or something) is relatively easy, and can be done in relatively public places if you're willing to put yourself out there like that (i pumped in jfk airport once under a scarf!).

    if i were you, i'd want to have
    - a really good hand pump, and maybe some of those instant cold packs that you can activate when needed in a soft-side cooler
    - a pretty robust freezer stash (at least 5 days' worth, in case you get one of those 5 day trips without notice)
    - a good double electric that functions well on batteries and/or the car plug

    i think re: long-term supply, it doesn't matter so much that you maintain the same exact pumping schedule every day (like a 10, 1, and 4 pm pump) - but that you pump as frequently as you can, whenever you get the chance. if that's at 6 am, 8 am, and 9 am - ok, fine. after all, babies nurse like that! just beware of going too long in any one stretch, and try to make sure you get as close to 8 pumps in per 24 hours separated, even if at random intervals.

    good luck! please let us know what your employer says and how the trips go.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    624

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    I also frequently wind up pumping in front of others, for what it's worth! I work in health care, so I wear medical scrubs to work. When I know I might need to pump in a space with others, I've taken to wearing tops that are one size or two up from what I normally wear, and pump hands free underneath my top. You can't see a thing, other than tubes coming out from underneath my top.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    464

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*auderey View Post
    pumping under a cover (like a thin shawl or something) is relatively easy, and can be done in relatively public places if you're willing to put yourself out there like that (i pumped in jfk airport once under a scarf!).

    if i were you, i'd want to have
    - a really good hand pump, and maybe some of those instant cold packs that you can activate when needed in a soft-side cooler
    - a pretty robust freezer stash (at least 5 days' worth, in case you get one of those 5 day trips without notice)
    - a good double electric that functions well on batteries and/or the car plug.
    That's great advice. You will also want to look into all the procedures for either flying with breastmilk or shipping breastmilk on dry ice. If you create and then use a multi-day freezer stash, you're going to need to bring home all of your pumped milk from your trip in order to restock the freezer stash, and have ready for the next trip. Whether you fly with your milk (carry on only, don't check it!) or ship it on dry ice will depend on your flight itinerary, how much time in transit, how much milk, and just personal preference in terms of convenience and cost. But knowing your options and the procedures in advance will be necessary if you only get a few hours notice before your flight.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    Thank you for all the replies! I spoke with my supervisor and they are willing to accommodate me somewhat on these trips so I will at least have access to a vehicle to pump in relative privacy. I've got a freezer stash of about 150 oz, bought myself a good manual pump, and have a car adapter for my electric pump, so I'm ready to go!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    624

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    Great news! Good luck.
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Short-notice travel/field work

    Your post made me think of this new, not yet in production breast pump. It would revolutionize situations like yours. http://www.dslabsinc.com/Products.html

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