After graduating with an economics degree from Colgate University, I moved back to my hometown NYC and started my career in investment banking. Although I had a great career and loved my colleagues, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled professionally and creatively so after eight years I quit and traveled the world for a year. During my travels I met my husband who is from Siena, Italy, which is where we live now with our 2.5-year-old daughter, Dafne, who was the inspiration behind Teat&Cosset.
My experience breastfeeding her and the challenges I faced with clothing during this period is what sparked the idea. Breastfeeding was hard enough in the beginning and I felt that clothing was an unnecessary obstacle. She was born in December 2014 and it was difficult finding winter tops that would keep me warm and that I could comfortably breastfeed in, either at home or out. Besides not always being functional or good quality, every top I found had that same stretchy wrap look with minuscule slit openings that I barely used. I refused to spend any more money on something that I was going to get rid of after I finished breastfeeding. I also wanted to feel like myself again and the way I dressed was a big part of that. I definitely did not feel good wearing the nursing tops I had found so I went to a local seamstress with a few designs in mind, that were both stylish and functional. These first designs went on to become pieces in our collection at Teat&Cosset.
Wearing beautiful and functional clothes positively changed how I felt about my experience nursing and removed an unnecessary obstacle to breastfeeding. Designing beautiful clothing to help women reach their breastfeeding milestone is something I can say I am truly passionate about.
With that said, here are a few tips for traveling moms on the go!
1) Where to pump: If there isn’t a pumping or mothers space at the airport (some airports have Mamava pods which are wonderful and private) then I would find an isolated corner while you’re waiting for your flight or when you land. You can also check out websites such as Moms Pump Here or Pumpspotting (app) to find pumping friendly spaces. If you have to pump on the plane just do it in your seat and bring a poncho to cover up and remember, most people will not notice or care!
2) Cooler choice: the number of days you’re away depends on what size cooler to bring. For one night away I suggest a small insulated lunch box cooler. For a three-day trip you can use a six-pack cooler and for longer trips as 12-can cooler. There are also many specifically designed breast milk coolers you can find on Amazon if you don’t want to use a regular cooler.
3) Breastmilk transport: For US travel the TSA allows you to carry on as much milk as you want. For international travel you may want to check the airport before traveling to make sure if you can carry it on. It is a good idea to freeze your milk for longer trips and the TSA does not have to inspect frozen milk so you can save time at the airport too. You can always ask the hotel staff to do this for you if you don’t have access to a freezer and make sure your ice-packs are frozen too.
4) What to pack: a permanent marker to label breast milk bags, ice-packs, a shawl or poncho – the Olimpia poncho is a favorite – to cover up on the plane, a pumping bra, breast pump, spare parts, breast milk storage bags, cleaning soap, a few spare bottles, a spare hand pump (if you can’t use the electric pump during taxi or take off), a cooler and lots of photos of your baby to help with letdown
5) Plan each day: Look at your schedule and decide in advance the times you are going to pump and make sure to schedule it in. Also think about where you will be at those times and where you will be able to pump. Give yourself some leeway around these times though because you never know what may come up.