aboard the breast express: at the MIT "Make the Breast Pump Not Suck" hackathon
dearest mamas and friends of mamas,
this past weekend was one for the record books. support for breastfeeding was front and center in a very big, important way and we were part of it. i’m still getting teary-eyed thinking about the power of it all and sharing it because you were with us. you all are part of what has made every step of this journey special.
hundreds of people gathered at the MIT Media Lab to ask: how do we make breastfeeding part of the journey for every mama?
designers and lactation consultants and engineers and students and parents brought their passions for innovating for a better world for breastfeeding to the Make the Breast Pump Not Suck Hackathon. yes that’s right, an entire hackathon dedicated to breaking open that noisy pump and breaking down barriers that prevent women from nursing their children.
people came from all across the country and around the globe. they came with ideas to make a pump for the visually impaired, to build disaster relief kits for breastfeeding women, to recreate traditional pueblo clothing to make it easier to feed, to use virtual reality to put a baby in your arms while you pump.
over 40 teams, with over 40 inspired ideas showed up. it was astounding.
it was also the first time we showed up with the breast express.
we showed up ready to unite and change things as well because we, too, have a passion for making the breastfeeding journey easier. we, too, believe that things can be different and more uplifting.
and on Saturday night, as those same dear Hackathon souls gathered in our RV to share our passion, write on our boob wall, pump and nurse, and celebrate all the good that is happening on behalf of breastfeeding woman, i felt hopeful. my heart was full, my gratitude was deep.
our vision - supported and shared by all of you - finally came to life, and we had a beautiful, moving kickoff.
i could spend hours speaking about all the things that moved me this weekend:
-i will never forget the energy of the women and leaders gathered, the packed breast express and seeing multiple moms pumping in our space together.
-i’ll hold dear the overwhelming support from you, this community, and my friends and family in getting us this far and the joy of the first day smiles and honks of support on the road.
-i will return to the inspiring stories i heard of the mamas like Gaby, nursing while also working as a Navy admiral and driving ships.
-i will cherish the woman who asked what happens up front and then declared: “oh my god, i forgot this was a bus!” when we revealed the driver seat, and the woman who popped in off the street and was moved to tears by the site of a such a welcoming nursing space.
-i will remain as hopeful as ever that together, we can support, uplift, and empower women to nourish their babies and families longer and with more joy.
-i am proud to be a part of the breastfeeding community, to have been a breastfeeding mother myself, and to be creating something that says to nursing and pumping mamas: you are not alone. you are one of many mamas.
-i am excited beyond all belief that this is just the beginning of our tour, and of change.
we’ve got this.
with much gratitude and love -