A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
powetoprevail

​This viral post proves why society needs to support pumping mamas

Mom of three Ana Rojas Bastidas didn't think pumping breast milk on a commercial flight would be an issue. As a daughter of pilots, Rojas Bastida had been in plenty of aircraft lavatories over the years and often noticed electrical outlets designed for men's shavers. She figured she'd just pop into a restroom and plug into one of these sockets for a quick pump during her flight.


But when the time came for her pump break, she found the plane's bathrooms were without outlets, and outlets in other areas were not compatible with her pump's plug. In the end, she did the only thing she could: She hand expressed her milk into a paper coffee cup.

She shared her story on her popular Instagram account, @powertoprevail, in the hopes of encouraging companies to consider pumping moms when designing public spaces like airplanes, and now her post is now going viral and making headlines.

"Not pumping is not an option, it's just not," Rojas Bastidas (who was traveling for business) told Motherly while preparing for her return flight.

"I'm at a conference with 5,000 people talking about AI and automated thinking—really high-level things—and here I am as a woman trying to figure out how to pump. This is how far behind we're being considered," says Rojas Bastidas.

As a mom, she says what happened is frustrating, but as a business person, she finds it perplexing that while airlines once considered low-powered lavatory outlets necessary so that men could shave, they've disappeared from many aircraft designs without thought to those Rojas Bastidas calls the "secondary market:" pumping moms. (While some moms have had success pumping in airplane lavatories with shaver only sockets, they are designed for low-power appliances and may not power all pumps.)

When Rojas Bastidas boarded her flight she informed the flight attendants of her intention to pump in the bathroom, and the crew assured her that was fine (possibly assuming her pump was battery-operated). She credits a flight attendant for searching for a compatible plug and even asking a fellow passenger to hold a curtain to provide the pumping mama with some privacy. Unfortunately, although there were numerous electrical outlets on the aircraft, none would accept her breast pump's plug with its bulky, square housing.

"It was fantastic, like everybody jumped in and was like, 'Girl, we got you, we're gonna do this, and I was like. 'Thank you so much, I appreciate it,' but when I went to go plug in, the outlet had some sort of track around it, and so the track blocked the plug," she says.

When a compatible plug could not be found, Rojas Bastidas ended up back in the bathroom, hand expressing her breast milk into a paper coffee cup. She notes that this took longer than it would have if she'd been able to use her pump as planned.

While some internet commenters have suggested Rojas Bastidas should have brought her own electrical adapter with her onto the flight, she says it shouldn't be up to moms to adapt when aircraft designers could simply include a standard outlet in the plans for planes, or the crew could carry an adapter.

"It all fell on me, as the consumer, like, you need to be prepared for all things," she told Motherly, noting that telling moms to pack battery-powered travel pumps on flights puts the responsibility back on the moms when she feels it's important for corporations and their designers to be made aware of the issue.

While many moms do pack battery-operated travel pumps or manual pumps for flights, Rojas Bastidas is hardly the only mom to find herself on a plane with a pump that requires a plug. In 2016, Toronto mother of two Elizabeth Arnold made headlines after she ran into the issue during a flight to London. According to the Toronto Star, Arnold's flight did have outlets compatible with her pump, but she was initially denied use of them. Eventually, she was allowed to pump using an outlet usually reserved for the crew's vacuum cleaner.

Since posting her story to Instagram, Rojas Bastidas has been hearing from other moms who've been in similar situations to what she and Arnold experienced on their flights. She says offering mothers power and a place to pump is important not just to mamas traveling without their children, but also to exclusively pumping moms who have babies with the on the flight.

"One woman shared her story, she was traveling with her child, but because her child wasn't latching, she has to pump and then feed her child. Imagine having to do this and you're flying by yourself with a baby," she says, noting that a mom traveling with a baby could not do what she did (manually express in the lavatory).

"Sometimes it's celebrated, like 'look at her grit and determination,' but it's not cute that I was milking myself in the bathroom for now an exponentially longer time [than it would take with a powered pump]," says Rojas Bastidas.

To moms who've experienced their own problems pumping on planes, Rojas Bastidas encourages them to join her in speaking up. "You do not have to suffer silently to ensure everyone else's comfort. Your comfort is just as important as everyone else's," she says.

She says her experience is a message to corporations that design teams need mothers, and that if a team designing a public space doesn't have a mom at the table, they need to find one to consult. "I am available for companies to reach out to," she says with a laugh.

You might also like:

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Toddlers can alternatively be the sweetest and most tyrannical people on the planet. Figuring the world out is tough, but it is possible to teach them how to care for and respect others—and the first steps start with you.

Here are five tips from Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder of Harmony in Parenting Dr. Azine Graff on teaching empathy through modeling and playtime, with some of our favorite dolls from Manhattan Toy Company.


1. "I wonder if she's sad." 

Think about it: The first step to understanding the emotions of others is being able to recognize them in yourself. Graff recommends looking for opportunities to label emotions throughout the day by helping your child identify sadness, anger, happiness, and fear.

You can do this by pointing to someone smiling in a book or noticing a baby crying in the grocery store. Try saying, "The baby is crying. I wonder if she is sad." Over time, your little one will learn to label emotions on their own.

2. "How can we take care of her?" 

Dramatic play can be a great time to model care and compassion for others. That's one reason why baby dolls make such great toys for toddlers—not only are they great for open-ended play, they also provide the opportunity to teach caretaking.

For example, you can ask your child, "The baby is yawning and seems very tired. How can we take care of her?" We love the award-winning Wee Baby Stella doll from Manhattan Toy Company to turn playtime into a time for empathy teaching.

3. "It is really hard when all the blocks fall and you're trying to build a tower."

You can set the best example of empathy by taking time to notice and validate your child's feelings. Instead of trying to immediately shush crying, react from a place of compassion.

For example, if your child throws a tantrum over a fallen block tower, try saying, "It is really hard when all the blocks fall and you're trying to build a tower." This demonstrates the importance of understanding feelings, even if they are not our own.

4. "Do you want to try with me?"

Once your child is better able to identify their emotions, they're in a better place to find solutions with your help. "When we can help our children through challenging feelings, especially when they are struggling, we are modeling care for others," Graff says.

The next time your child gets upset, you can say, "It is frustrating when something falls apart. It helps me to take a deep breath when I'm frustrated. Do you want to try with me?"

5. Express your own feelings

It can be tempting to hide your feelings from your child, but when modeled appropriately, it can teach them that feelings are a normal part of life. Over time, you will see them use the same strategies of empathy on you, like kissing your "boo-boos" or suggesting you take a deep breath when you're upset.


This article is sponsored by Manhattan Toy Company. Thank you for supporting that brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Dr. Azine Graff is a Clinical Psychologist and Co-Founder of Harmony in Parenting, which is based in Los Angeles and offers groups, classes, therapy and consultation services informed by the latest research on child development.

With the big news now out of the way, pregnant Meghan Markle and her husband Prince Harry have begun a massive tour of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. Over the next two weeks the couple is set to make 76 engagements. (We're tired just thinking about it.)

With a schedule like that it seems like Meghan is probably feeling as good as a pregnant person can, and reports suggest she's had a 12-week ultrasound, which means she's just rolling into her second trimester—a time many mamas look back on as their "easiest" part of pregnancy.

The tour schedule is a daunting one, but of course many women travel and work during their pregnancies, and Meghan has never been one to sit still long. Basically, there's no reason an uncomplicated pregnancy would warrant a big change in her plans.

Here's what we know about Meghan's pregnancy so far:

She's well aware of the Zika situation

Entertainment Tonight reports the Duchess will not be accompanying her husband to engagements at the Fiji War Memorial or the Colo-i-Suva forest (she'll be doing morning tea at the British High Commissioner's residence and meeting women vendors at a local market instead, Hello reports), and this schedule tweak is possibly pregnancy-related.

The World Health Organization advises against travel to by pregnant people to Fiji (and Tonga, another island on the Duke and Duchess' itinerary) due to the risk of Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

The Duchess has likely discussed Zika risks extensively with her medical team, and if they've given her the green light, no one should hassle her about this. It's her choice, and in both Tonga and Fiji, the risk of Zika infection is now a lot lower than it was in 2016, CNN reports.

We can expect to see lots of long-sleeved outfits on that part of the tour.

While she's technically experiencing a "geriatric pregnancy," that term is outdated 

"Geriatric" is absolutely the last word we would ever associate with the youthful beauty that is Meghan Markle, but at 37, she's technically in the zone that some doctors (still) refer to as a "geriatric pregnancy."

The unfortunate (and downright rude) term has been replaced in the vocabulary of many medical providers by "advanced maternal age" (which is slightly less rude), but is still being used by many members of the press covering Markle's pregnancy announcement.

Labeling the Duchess' pregnancy as geriatric may be technically correct as she's over 35 but it's hardly necessary when there are much kinder ways to phrase it. And while many royal watchers are pointing out that Meghan's advanced maternal age puts her at higher risk for some pregnancy complications, plenty of healthy 37-year-old women have babies every day.

Now is actually a great time for her to travel 

While a lot of airlines don't recommend or even allow traveling (especially a long international flight) late in pregnancy (we're talking like 38 weeks) Meghan is still far from that stage.

The UK's National Health Service advices British moms-to-be that late pregnancy and early pregnancy are the trickiest when it comes to travel, noting the airline rules and that: "Some women try to avoid travelling in the first 12-15 weeks of pregnancy because exhaustion and nausea tend to be worse at this early stage."

It sounds like Meghan is just beyond that uncomfortable bit and into the fun part of pregnancy. We can't wait to see some royal bump pics.

You might also like:

It's a pain that many parents understand, but one that society too often minimizes or ignores.

Today though, people are talking about how one in four women experience a perinatal loss—including miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and online and in cities around the world, parents are coming together to speak the names of the children they can't hold in their arms, but will forever hold in their hearts.

This day and these conversations are so important, because despite it being common, pregnancy and infant loss can feel so isolating.

"It is often disenfranchised grief, a loss that isn't recognized by the greater society," explains Courtney Magahis, a social work therapist in the Center for Reproductive Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children's Hospital Pavilion for Women.

Despite the deep pain it can cause, perinatal loss is often minimized in our culture. Sometimes, people lose their babies before they announced their pregnancy, and the bear the burden of the loss alone because no one knew. Sometimes, well-meaning people try to comfort parents by downplaying the loss through comments that seek to highlight a "silver lining", but anyone who has been through it knows this loss is as real as any and it hurts just as much.

If there is one thing for us as a society to take away from the conversations happening today, it's that parents feeling a loss don't need to have their pain minimized. They don't need to be told that "everything happens for a reason." They don't need to be told that they can try again.

According to Magahis, these kinds of comments are not normally helpful. She suggests that when someone in our lives suffers a perinatal loss, we simply let them know that we are there for them. Some people will need to talk about their baby. Some people will need a friend to sit in silence with them and cry. Some will need help repainting the nursery.

The process looks different for everyone, but parents going through this need to be allowed to feel the way they feel, and do what they need to do.

"There really isn't a right or wrong way to grieve. Honor your grief in whichever way it manifests and prioritize taking care of yourself," says Magahis.

Today, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, many parents are having conversations about their loss and speaking their child's name. And tomorrow, the conversations about perinatal loss will continue.

There simply is no silver lining to be found in these conversations, but grieving parents don't need one. They just need their people to acknowledge the cloud. There are so many people standing under it.

You might also like:

We've all been there. In a very public place with a child who is melting down. They're in full kicking and screaming mode, can't be reasoned with or even easily moved. It's frustrating, embarrassing and it can make you question yourself as a parent.

We've also all been the mama to watch it happen to someone else, wishing that we could stop a fellow mother's child from freaking out in aisle six. Wishing that we could let that mother know that we get it, that she's doing a good job, that this happens to all of us.

Sometimes, the lessons we've been taught throughout our lives keep us from acting in those moments when our words could be the life preserver another mother needs. And that's why Katie McLaughlin, a writer and mom of two, recently shared her story in a Facebook post that is now going viral.

She hesitated to speak to a fellow mama, but is so glad she listened to her gut, because that mama (and all of us from time to time) needed to hear what McLaughlin had to say: "I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you are rocking this."

McLaughlin was in the middle of a Target run when she noticed a fellow mother who she sensed could use a kind word.

"Behind me at the checkout, this 3-year-old was kicking and screaming and flopping around on the floor like a fish out of water. I tried to catch the mom's eye and give her an empathetic look, but she was too busy wrestling with her daughter to notice me," McLaughlin wrote, noting that the mom behind her was using all the 'right' tantrum taming techniques, but it just wasn't working.

"She remained calm. She spoke to her child in a gentle, reassuring tone. She was as attentive as she could be while also attempting to pay for her assortment of $10 tees and seasonal decor. But despite her best efforts, the meltdown only got bigger and bigger. The mom still stayed calm, but I noticed her cheeks were very flushed as she apologized profusely to the cashier," McLaughlin wrote in the Facebook post that has now been shared more than 12,000 times.

As the child's tantrum continued, so did the conversation McLaughlin was having with herself. She knew what this mother was feeling, and she wanted so badly to let her know that she's not alone.

"Say something kind to her, I thought. She's embarrassed and alone and feels like a terrible mother. Remind her that none of those things are true," McLaughlin wrote. "But then I thought, No, it's none of your business. LEAVE THE POOR STRANGER ALONE."

McLaughlin walked out of Target with her purchase, and so did the mom of the mid-meltdown toddler. She watched as the mama tried to buckle a flailing, frustrated toddler into a car seat, and then summoned the courage to follow her gut and talk to a stranger.

She said: "Sorry to bother you, but I just wanted to say you're doing a great job."

The mom could have told her to mind her own business, but McLaughlin took that risk. The mom looked up at her, blinked twice, and the tears started flowing down her face. "I think I feel as bad as she does," she told McLaughlin, who replied, "I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you are rocking this."

Through more tears the mom of a very upset toddler told McLaughlin: "You have no idea how much I needed to hear that."

McLaughlin says the reason she spoke up was that she does understand how much the mother needed to hear that, and she hopes other parents who read her viral post can take the risk she did.

"Since the post went viral, I've heard from so many moms who say they wish another mom had offered a supportive word or an understanding glance," she tells Motherly. "So often we stay silent because we're not sure what to say or we're afraid to be seen as 'butting in' or not minding our own business. But the chances are much higher than our act of kindness will be appreciated. So if your gut is telling you to reach out and be supportive, don't overthink it; just do it."

So the next time you find yourself at Target hearing frustrated screams of a toddler, don't mind your business. Offer a supportive verbal comment like McLaughlin did, or offer to help her with her other children, like Tiffany Jones-Guillory did when she encountered a mom with a baby and a melting toddler at her local Target.

Jones-Guillory accidentally went viral back in May, after stepping in to help mom-of-two Rebecca Paterson when her 2-year-old and 2-month-old both melted down at Target. Peterson was about to give up on her shopping trip and was putting items back on the shelves when Jones-Guillory offered empathy and a pair of arms.

"She walked with me while I got the essentials needed for the day and kept hold of my toddler while he calmed down," Paterson recalled in a Facebook post. "She saved me today moms!!! I am so sleep deprived and was running on empty. A little kindness and understanding go a long way."

What the world needs are more people like Jones-Guillory and McLaughlin. Unfortunately, we don't have enough of them. If your child melted down in public today and there was no one around to offer you an empathic word, here's a few more from McLaughlin. When asked what she wants mid-Target-tantrum mamas to know, she told Motherly this:

"I know you're embarrassed. I know you're ashamed. I know you feel totally judged. But here's the truth: for every one person who's judging you, there are so many more that are empathizing with you."

Remember that, mama. And don't be afraid to say it to yourself or someone else who needs to hear it.

You might also like:

It's the news many royal watchers have been waiting for since their history-making wedding. Today, Kensington Palace announced the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, are going to have new titles in Spring 2019: Mom and Dad.



"Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public," a Palace spokesperson wrote in a media release.



Meghan's been planning for kids 

We are thrilled for Harry and Meghan, who have both been open about one day wanting to start a family.

Back in 2015, before rumors of the couple's relationship made their way into British newspapers, Markle told Hello! that she had bought herself a Cartier French Tank watch to celebrate her accomplishment as an actress when her show Suits was picked up for a third season.

"I totally splurged and bought the two-tone version," she said. "I had it engraved on the back, 'To M.M. From M.M.' and I plan to give it to my daughter one day. That's what makes pieces special, the connection you have to them."

Prince Harry's always wanted to be a dad 

Seeing the watch as an heirloom proves that long before the Royal wedding, Markle was already thinking of her future as a parent. And so was Prince Harry.

In 2012, during ABC's coverage of the Queen's Jubilee, Prince Harry told Katie Couric, "I've longed for kids since I was very, very young. And so … I'm waiting to find the right person, someone who's willing to take on the job."

Now that the job has been filled, the Prince's lifelong dream is coming true, and history is being made once again.

The citizenship question

People who are born in the UK after 1983 become British citizens if the mother or father was a British citizen or was settled in the UK at the time of their birth. This royal baby will be British for sure, but will they also be an official American?

It's a complicated question.

Meghan Markle is royalty, but she's not quite a British citizen yet. As Prince Harry's communication's secretary told the BBC before the couple got married, Markle (who is still an American) "intends to become a U.K. citizen and will go through the process of that, which some of you may know takes a number of years."

It's a long process to get British citizenship, but eventually, the Duchess will be an official Brit. When all that red tape has cleared, she'll have a decision to make: Whether or not to keep her American citizenship as well.

Royal expert Marlene Koenig told Town & Country that if Markle "remains a U.S. national, her children will have dual nationality just like Madeleine of Sweden's children."

But other royal watchers say it's more likely that Meghan will renounce her American citizenship when she becomes British to avoid having to divulge royal finances in accordance with U.S. tax laws.

That said, because this baby is likely going to arrive while Markle is still an American, they will probably be a dual citizen. According to the State Department, "a child born in a foreign country to U.S. national parents may be both a U.S. national and a national of the country of birth."

This is truly a unique situation, so we will have to see how it shakes out. No matter if the baby is American, British, or both, we are so happy for the Duke and Duchess.

Here's to another royal baby! 🎉

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.