Milk and Cookies is a group of parents who meet twice a month at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Most of us have struggled with lactation/pumping while at work and were looking for a support network related to parenting/lactation/work issues that parents face. We have found that by having Milk and Cookies meetings, we both have a group of other parents to connect with/give support around all things parenting and a group through which we can promote lactation issues on campus and raise awareness of issues lactating parents encounter. Would you be interested in starting your own Milk and Cookies? Here’s how we did it, and we are open to questions/comments please email AMCMilkandCookies@gmail.com!
- Find other like-minded pumpers. Run into that same woman in your lactation space? Why not start a conversation over coffee or pumping about how you could create a support group together. It really helps to have a “core” of women to start the organization.
- Find a room. A private conference room or space on campus/work to host your meetings. Remember, you don’t want just anyone walking by to be able to see into the room for the comfort of the pumpers at the meeting. This can often be accomplished by buying a small shade to pull down during meetings or even a taped up baby blanket works!
- Create a listserve. Create a way to get in touch with your members. We have a google calendar and google group.
- Get support. Register as an official organization with your campus. Get promoted through like-minded groups such as local women in STEM or parenting support groups. We found support, both monetary and spreading the word, through the Office of Equity, Office of Inclusion & Outreach, and Women & Gender Center.
- Get speakers. It’s great to meet and have social times where you can discuss your individual struggles, but we have found it very empowering to invite outside speakers to meet with us, both to raise awareness of issues on our campus, and to get support. Some ideas for speakers are your local facilities people that maintain the lactation spaces, lactation consultants, members of the above-mentioned offices that can provide you with support, local congress people, sleep specialists, and nutritionists among many others.
- Advertise! One of the best ways to promote lactation on campus/work is awareness. We post flyers in the elevators at work to promote and spread the word to other women, but also make non-pumpers aware of lactation as a concern for mothers on campus.
- Get some cookies. In the beginning, we had different women sign up for making and bringing lactation cookies, but we found this added burden onto already stressed out/overworked moms. Now we order cookies from Milky-Mama.com and they are quite good. We get financial cookie support from the above-mentioned groups.
Think outside the box. Each group of parents/workplaces are going to have their own issues and concerns. Craft your meetings around what your group wants to work on.