As I approach one year as MilkWorks' executive director, I have concluded that the first year as an executive director is like the first year of my child’s life. No matter how much you believe you have prepared (and oh, did I prepare for both!), you constantly feel unprepared as you face new challenges every day. I expected a steep learning curve my first year at MilkWorks, but I did not prepare for a global pandemic. However I am proud to say, just like that first year of parenthood, MilkWorks is stronger today than when the year began.
When I started in October 2019, I was brimming with ideas. Then in March, we began the toughest challenge of anyone’s career – how to navigate COVID-19 while still serving our families. We had all staff, who could work from home do so, and they continue to do so, since March 16, 2020. One week later, we launched online ordering for breast pumps and telehealth came the week after that. We scoured eBay for baby scales so families could continue to weigh babies at home and went deep into the bowels of Internet shopping to order surgical masks and Clorox wipes. We stocked up on breast pumps and pumping supplies from our vendors in late March and April to ensure we could continue offering the best breast pumps, with choices for you, in case of supply chain interruptions. And during it all, we continue to be open for our families to receive the lactation care they need.
Not only have we remained open throughout, we've also launched new services for our families. In addition to telehealth, we have added to our free of charge support group offerings with groups for NICU families, dads, and families of multiples. We also expanded our classes to include a class for grandparents, babywearing and breastfeeding, and transitioned our All About Breastfeeding and Return to Work classes to Zoom. With funding from the Miriam Moeller Foundation, we are piloting a project for underserved families to provide the supplies they need to continue breastfeeding while returning to work and/or school.
We have big plans in 2021, as we turn 20! We want to celebrate this milestone birthday with all of you and cannot wait to unveil our upcoming plans. One thing remains constant though – our mission and commitment to helping families breastfeed their babies. As we celebrate and “grow up”, we look forward to continuing to help families through those first years with their breastfeeding journey.