Fostering a Community of Breastfeeding & Pumping Mamas
‘Breastfeeding can be really challenging and really isolating. The onus for us is that what makes it easier is … being connected to other women and other mothers who’ve been there.’
Like many entrepreneurs, Amy VanHaren uncovered a need in her personal life, and a creative idea was born. While she loved breastfeeding, Amy had no choice but to get back to work six weeks after her son was born. And work involved a great deal of travel. She found herself pumping in closets, bathroom stalls, and even between businessmen at 20,000 feet.
Talking to other women always made Amy feel better, so she wondered what it would be like if she could reach out to other mamas in these moments of isolation. What if she could create a community where women supported each other—and change the way the world treats breastfeeding?
Today, Amy joins me to discuss the business that was born out of her desire for community, Pumpspotting, and its latest iteration in the form of a cross-country RV tour known as #breastexpress. She describes the challenges of committing to extensive travel for work with a family at home as well as the logistics of life in a recreational vehicle. I ask Amy about her breastfeeding journey, and she explains how it informed the original Pumpspotting app. Listen in for Amy’s insight around the evolution of a business and learn about the magic that happens when moms share their stories in a welcoming space.
The Startup Pregnant Podcast Episode #079
Some quotes from the episode
- “For my company, Pumpspotting, we’re all about connecting breastfeeding women to support them and connect them to one another and really harness and share that momma mindset and power during a really emotional time.”
- “I’m most successful when … I’m either mothering or being a businesswoman.”
- “Logistically, it’s a lot of FaceTime. It’s a lot of tears. I’ll be honest: Sometimes it’s really hard to be away from my children for such an extended period of time.”
- “As women entrepreneurs and certainly as mother entrepreneurs, you have a need in your personal life when you’re navigating the journey of motherhood, and then you have an idea of how to meet that need or how to improve something. That’s how it was for me.”
- “Breastfeeding can be really challenging and really isolating. The onus for us is that what makes it easier is … being connected to other women and other mothers who’ve been there.”
- “I found during my breastfeeding journey that added layer of not just trying to navigate the early days of motherhood and keep building my business and be nourishing—but also the internal battle of making it seem as though I was capable of all those things at once.”
- “I hated pumping… You’re exposed and vulnerable in all these ways.”
- “I also think [breastfeeding] made me feel powerful about what I could do for my baby.”
- “I wish that I could tell every woman in the world who’s breastfeeding, ‘You’ve got this, mamma. Just keep going.’”
- “You have this shared common thread of wanting to nourish—no matter what that looks like—and then you sit together, and you nourish one another.”
- “One of the things that pregnancy and motherhood … has unearthed for me is a new level of creativity.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT AMY VANHAREN
Amy VanHaren is the founder of Pumpspotting, a community designed to support breastfeeding mothers in all their forms, and VanHaren Creative, an agency that harnesses the power of social media to help companies grow. With more than 15 years in the field of creative communications and marketing, Amy has developed digital strategy for clients including Patagonia Provisions, Amy’s Kitchen, and Vistaprint, among many others.
- Pumpspotting on Instagram
- Pumpspotting on Twitter
- VanHaren Creative
- Amy on Twitter
- Amy on Instagram
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
EPISODE SPONSOR & SPECIAL OFFER
This podcast is made possible by Alavita Nutrition, a tremendous resource when it comes to food, health, and wellness. The Alavita team is on a mission to make eating good food and understanding nutrition easier for busy moms. Head to https://www.alavitanutrition.com/ and use the code ‘startup pregnant’ for 20% off their self-paced programs or a nutrition consultation.
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