How One Long Island Mom Pumped During the New York City Marathon

This is one amazing mama.
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profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
By Nehal Aggarwal, Editor
Published November 4, 2019
many runners at the start of the new york marathon on the verrazano bridge
Image: Johannes Eisele / Getty Images

Molly Waitz was one of the approximate 50,000 people who ran the New York City Marathon yesterday, but she tackled a problem likely few others faced: how to pump during the race.

The first-time new mom from Cutchogue, Long Island was invited to run her first New York City Marathon seven months ago, when her son, Bode, was just a month old. She would run as part of a five-member team aiming to raise money for First Candle, a nonprofit that works to stop Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related infant deaths, as well as provides support to families going through a loss.

“I was one-month postpartum and so sleep deprived. I don’t know what I was thinking,” Waitz told Newsday in an interview. When she began her training, she realized she would still be breastfeeding Bode when the race came around. Plus, it would take her approximately six hours to run 26.2 miles, and that wasn’t including the time she needed to get to the starting position and then back to her hotel after the race.

Afraid she would have to stop during the race to pump and then toss the milk, she approached First Candle’s chief executive about the issue, who then connected her with Willow, a San-Francisco-based company that makes wearable breast pumps. They sent Waitz a free pump and advised her on how to use it during her race, Waitz told Newsday.

The pump allowed her to finish six- to 10-minute training sessions without having to take breaks. In fact, during the race, she only stopped for a few seconds at a time to remove the bags that were full of milk and deposit them into a pack she wore (with ice instead to keep the milk fresh).

“I don’t have to stop physically moving my body to do all this. I should come home with about 20 ounces of milk that I can still feed my son,” Waitz told Newsday. “I can run a marathon and still do it. You don’t have to stop your whole life to feed your kid.

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