Cross-country road trips are rarely glamorous. Breastfeeding on a cross-country road trip? Even less so. But the Breast Express RV is changing the game, bringing a sense of comfort—even luxury—to the nursing and pumping experience, from Boston all the way to San Francisco.
This summer, the 40-foot nursing and pumping suite on wheels is driving to communities across the country to support breastfeeding moms while sharing stories and tips. It’s the creation of pumpspotting, a website and app designed to connect nursing moms, encouraging them to share resources and advice.
“Our ultimate aim is to unite communities in conversation, bring awareness to the importance of breastfeeding support, and celebrate nursing and pumping moms everywhere,” pumpspotting founder Amy VanHaren tells The Bump.
We caught up with VanHaren, who is a little over a month into the Breast Express Tour, to see how it’s going.
The Bump: What was the tour kickoff event like in Boston?
Amy VanHaren: We were honored to be at the MIT Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon helping promote innovation in breastfeeding alongside so many smart minds. We were part of the Innovator's Gallery and hosted a happy hour on the RV. We were also a place for moms to nurse and pump throughout the event!
TB: Are the topics that you're covering on the Breast Express tour based around what moms are talking about on the pumpspotting app?
AV: Our topics do stem from the conversations we're seeing on the app and the common questions moms are asking one another. We see many moms on the mama feed asking about how to maintain and increase milk supply, for example, and lots of worries when moms go back to work. So on the tour in Asheville and San Francisco we're talking about how to nurse, work and flourish while breastfeeding, and speaking with lactation consultants about supply and demand. We also see more and more questions about Milk Donation so we're partnering with the Mother's Milk Bank in Austin, Texas to share stories and insight on that topic.
TB: Have any topics or challenges come up that have surprised you?
AV: More than being surprised, I'm continually amazed at what women will commit to in order to reach their breastfeeding goals and how willing they are to support one another. I'm also sometimes surprised by how honest they are about the challenges. We've seen moms posting about their postpartum struggles and seen so many other moms come forward with kind words. pumpspotting truly has become a space where women feel safe and supported during an emotional time period.
TB: Tell us about some of the moms you’ve met along the way.
AV: In Boston we met Gaby Cavins, a Lieutenant in the United States Navy. She's the first breastfeeding woman we met who also drives navy ships! She has such a deep passion for supporting breastfeeding women in the military that she came out to the Hackathon to participate, spend time with us, and continue advocating for pumping support.
In New York City we met Mary, in town from Kansas for a conference. She was walking by on the street with her pump and poked her head in to ask, "Is this what I think it is?" We were so happy to say yes and she was even more happy to have a place to pump that wasn't a bathroom floor.
TB: What do you ultimately hope women get out of the tour?
AV: I want breastfeeding women to feel beautiful and supported at every stage in their journey. My hope is that women come away from their breast express experience feeling part of a larger community and that pumpspotting helps provide what moms need to reach their breastfeeding goals.
Wondering if the Breast Express tour is coming to your city? Check out the schedule here.