I asked my company to pay $500+ dollars to ship my breastmilk across the country. Here’s what they said.

Kim Gebbia Chappell
4 min readMay 24, 2018

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Going back to work post baby was really hard for me. Like really hard.

At first.

But like most transitions in life, the newness quickly wore off and our little family settled into a new routine. One chock full of frantically labeling daycare bottles, running (read: sprinting) in the rain to BART to make it to pick-up on time during Uber surge pricing and stuffing diapers, steak and romaine next to my infant in her stroller because the bottom storage was already full at Whole Foods. But this was the new norm we chose and we love every hectic second of it.

Then there’s also the really unsexy stuff that nobody tells you about being a working and breastfeeding mom. Like when you have to plan your outfit to easily slip a pump on your nips three times day. Or when you have to dip out of a meeting because your boobs are leaking (I finally asked them to just put a phone in the pump room- they did) Or when you run out of breastmilk bags and use a to-go soup cup from the office kitchen cause there is no way you are throwing that liquid gold out.

But then the wild west of being a working mom fires another round at you when you have to travel for the first time on a work trip. Not only did I have complete anxiety about getting on a plane and leaving my little one, but the logistics of pumping my way through New York City and walking into meetings with a cooler of breastmilk seemed daunting and a little ridiculous. Do I pump at the airport? Yes, wear a oversized shawl. Will I pump on the plane? Yes, make sure you book a flight that has outlets! Will the person sitting literally one inch away from me be totally freaked out when I start pouring pumped milk into baggies on the tray table? Possibly but I’m also judging their THIRD bottle of plane red wine and terrible movie choice, so whatever.

But what to do with all that pumped milk all week? The hotel mini freezer was tiny. I heard about a service called Milk Stork and I decided to dive into their site. It was more than $500 for me to ship the milk 3,000 miles overnight back to my husband and I thought an expense like that was out of the question. But working for an amazing company, Weebly, that fully supports working moms I decided to see if they would put their money where their mouth is. I decided to go straight to the lady that signs the checks, our fierce CFO, Kim Jabal. The email went like this:

“Hi Kim, my freezer supply of breastmilk is on E and I have to travel to NYC for work next week. Would you guys be willing to split the cost or help cover the Milk Stork service? It’s about $500.”

Would she think I was being a self-absorbed, new-age mom obsessed with breastfeeding her baby?($500 could buy a year’s worth of formula) or would she just not reply because she’s super busy running our multimillion dollar company’s finances? She replied within minutes:

“Hey Kim, We will absolutely cover the full cost of this service. It’s really important that we do everything we can to help new moms transition back into the workplace. Thank you for asking us about this, I didn’t know this service existed, but we’ll be sure to approve the charge on your card. Good luck and have fun in NY!”

WOW.

Proof that all you have to do sometimes is have the audacity to just ask and you’ll be supported.

So I plopped my pumped milk into a freezer ready box and dropped it at the hotel desk every morning as I went hit each day with a jam packed schedule.

I pumped in the NYSE. And as one of about three women in the entire building, this felt like a nice small victory for moms everywhere, ha!

I pumped in a Starbucks. I pumped in at the Soho Hotel lounge. I pumped at a Ruby Tuesdays in New Jersey while waiting for our delayed flight. But it was such a relief to just place it in the cooler each morning and know that it would be at home with my little love by the next day.

Not only was this convenient. It was empowering. I felt another shift that yes, I can go back to work and travel and keep crushing it. I felt like Mary Tyler Moore on the streets of NY ready to “make it after all.” But instead of a red beret, I was going to toss my box of ice cold breastmilk high into the sky… and then quickly into the nearest Fed Ex drop-off point.

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Kim Gebbia Chappell

Head of Marketing & Comms at Bobbie, storyteller, former anchor/reporter, proud mama of two.