MilkWorks started with a conversation between two moms. One said, “I am having problems breastfeeding and I need some help.” The other one said, “Everyone is telling moms to breastfeed, but where do they go for help?” They both agreed: “We need to do something about this.”
They invited five friends who worked in health care and who breastfed their kids - a pediatrician, a hospital lactation consultant, two doulas and a labor and delivery nurse - to talk about their dream.
founders2I was one of these women. I had breastfed my own children (the first one with great difficulty) without a breastfeeding class, a lactation consultant or a decent breast pump. In 2000, I was on the Lincoln Lancaster County Board of Health when the U.S. Surgeon General issued the Breastfeeding Blueprint for Action. I realized breastfeeding and infant nutrition was more than something I felt called to do for my babies. It was a huge factor in the health and well-being of our country.
The seven of us met in our basements and at our kitchen tables and dreamed big. What did moms really need? Accurate information? Help going back to work? Good breast pumps? Lactation consultants outside the hospital setting? The ability to nurse in a public setting? Could we serve all moms, or just those who could afford to pay?
We decided to take the leap.
We rented a small space in the Trade Center. We paid our seven staff members $10 an hour, even if they were a doctor or a nurse and could make much more working elsewhere. No one would give us a loan, so we put our own money into the organization. We filed as a non-profit with the hope we could raise money to help serve low income mothers.
What have the past 13 years been like?
Challenging, bumpy, full of twists, turns and hurdles. Always asking: Will we be here tomorrow?
Rewarding, delightful, exhilarating, enriching. Always answering: How can we NOT be here tomorrow?
Happy Birthday, MilkWorks. Happy Birthday to all the babies and moms who have made you who you are. Here’s hoping you will blow out many more candles in the years to come.