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Ok, so maybe your work isn't quite as glamorous as actress Rachel McAdams. But, if you are a new mom returning to work after maternity leave, you know well that the commitment to breastfeeding comes with numerous daily challenges. Thanks to one working mother's own need to provide her babies with her own liquid gold breast milk — that is no longer one of them.
Kate Torgersen created Milk Stork, the first and only breast milk travel solution for working moms. Milk Stork was inspired by all the breastfeeding super moms who work, travel, and love their babies like crazy.
Q&A with Milk Stork FouNDer Kate Torgersen
DeliverING Liquid Gold
Q. Where were you and what were you doing when you decided to start Milk Stork?
A. The idea for Milk Stork began in 2013 when I was faced with a 4-day business trip while I was breastfeeding my twins, Finn and Zoe. At the time, I was producing a gallon of milk every 2 days so taking this trip meant figuring out how to cover my absence with 2-gallons of “extra” milk, and then dealing with the 2 gallons that I would produce during the trip. I thought if I could just ship it home that would be the easiest option, but I quickly realized that there was no turnkey way to do this. So, I ended up toughing it out, by adding extra pumping sessions to my busy schedule before I left to create the “extra” milk and then, I pumped, lugged, and cooled the 2 gallons of milk that I produced while I was away.
Standing in the airport security line with 25+ lbs of breast milk and melting ice, I braced myself for the dreaded breast-milk-security-inspection. As I waited, it started to occur to me that I might be able to fix this problem.
By the time the plane landed, I had formulated the initial concept for Milk Stork. And, when I arrived home, I announced to my husband that I had idea that I was moving forward with. We were standing in our living room, surrounded by toys, each holding an 8 month old baby as our 3 year old, Jax, blasted Hot Wheels off a track.
Q. What was your goal for Milk Stork?
A. My goal with Milk Stork was simple, to bypass the hurdles of breastfeeding and business travel - and to create a solution that would be as easy and convenient as possible for busy, sleep deprived moms.
Q. What were new moms that had to travel for work doing before Milk Stork?
A. Breastfeeding women traveling away from their babies didn’t have a lot of great options. Many would decline or reduce business travel, which could negatively impact their career. Others would do what I did - attempting to pump extra milk before they left, and then lugging it all home. And, of course, many others would resort to “pumping & dumping” or early weaning.
Q. What benefits can a new mom expect from the Milk Stork process?
A. When it comes to breastfeeding and travel, Milk Stork lightens the load - physically and emotionally. With Milk Stork, moms don’t have to choose between feeding their babies and their careers. From placing an order, to packing the cooler to shipping her milk home, we try to make the process as easy as possible for moms.
Q. Are you finding that employers are supportive of breastfeeding mothers who return to work?
A. Absolutely. Of the almost 400 companies that we support, the majority onboarded Milk Stork as an employee benefit because one of their employees asked. Today, almost 50% of the workforce is female, and most moms are working moms, the demand for family-friendly benefits particularly those that support working moms, is undeniable.
Q. What companies are you partnering with that are already providing your services?
A. Milk Stork is offered as an employee benefit at almost 400 companies. Our clients range from large Global Fortune 500s to small firms including SAP, Viacom, Home Depot, Pinterest, Activision Blizzard, Boston Scientific and many others.
Q. Can women use the Milk Stork on their own or do they only have access through their employer?
A. Yes, women can use Milk Stork through our retail site, milkstork.com. That said, we strongly encourage women who are traveling for work to seek reimbursement from their employers. We created this White Paper which can be helpful in requesting reimbursement.
Q. Do you have a social media and/or favorite blogs?
A. I rely on social media to give me a daily dose of parenting humor on Instagram - no one makes me laugh more than Celeste Barber - she’s a genius. I also love Fatherly and Scary Mommy - and who doesn’t love a little Ellen now and then. I also follow several twin-mom blogs, they are kind of a life line.
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