Hi, I am Megan. A full-time working mother of two who pumped and breastfed for the first year. This blog began when I googled myself into a vortex. I wanted to take an international business trip and replenish the archive of frozen breastmilk that my daughter would drain while I was away with fresh milk pumped while abroad. The math was unforgiving. It took me six weeks to build an archive deep enough to feed my daughter for five days. If I returned home with nothing, it would be another six weeks before I could travel again. Even if I tried to overclock to the absolute apex of my personal breastmilk production capability, I would be grounded for weeks. The more trips I would need to take the more impossible the replenishment task became.
Unlike every other motherhood question I found myself googling, this one felt unanswered. In contrast, YouTube Vloggers had covered the complexities of hand expression by knitting proxy breasts and then demo-ing faux expression techniques on them. But on the topic of international travel and maintaining frozen breastmilk archives, I just found stories of pumping and dumping. One story stood out from the rest as a glimmer of hope. Sally Madsen was unable to ship her milk back home from Japan but tried to save what few bags she could. She jammed them into double-wall vacuum sealed thermoses, and it worked. Even though the breastmilk archive was depleted, this little win was illuminating. It was as if she had built a first generation prototype that failed, but did so with an abundance of clarity about what to create next. I talk about this in my first post.
Throughout a year of pumping and traveling internationally, I parsed together a system that allowed me to bring frozen milk home frozen without dry ice. Along the way I both saved and lost a fair amount of milk, in sum, it was one gigantic costly experiment. I also had a friend, a cousin, and a few early readers trying out various renditions of my experimental storage systems. I am thankful for the patience that they all afforded to the nature of these prototypes. Maybe storing a cooler full of breast milk in a warming hotel room in the summer in Indonesia was not a great idea after all. Gallons of milk were lost because of it. During that same trip, my forgiving friend also invented a way to prep and clean pump parts without potable water. Trying to jam rectangular packs of frozen milk into cylindrical vessels made for a frantic moment of doubt in Germany. Picking up a cooler from the checked baggage carousel that was drenched and actively leaking water from the leakproof zipper was dismaying. But lesson after lesson a system that worked started to formulate.
You can pump while traveling internationally and bring home the breast milk (chilled or frozen) without using dry ice. Is it a frictionless experience? No. The task is achievable, but the systems, equipment, and cultural support are sparse. This we can change by trying. Thanks to Sally for bravely taking the first journey with no tools and coming back with one. Thanks to all of my friends and readers for keeping up the momentum and learning on every trip. I hope that you too can travel internationally and bring back an archive of frozen milk.
?s, comments, live near Los Angeles and want to borrow a prototype system for your upcoming trip? email me!
megan [at] milkintow.com