May has been very busy conference-wise. There was Word Camp, Web 2.0 Expo, and this week the Lithium Network Conference (LiNC), which I am attending for the first time.
I enjoy attending conferences — I love working in the web sector and going to web-related conferences is fun for me. It gives me a nice break from the day-to-day and gives me a chance to focus on learning new ideas and meeting like-minded people. This year however, has been a bit of a challenge because I am a working mom and a nursing mom. This means that I can’t really go more than 3 hours without pumping. If I don’t, then I feel very uncomfortable, like my breasts will burst (no fun) and then I risk getting sick with mastitis (no fun, plus misery). I refuse to wean my baby though — I am determined to give my baby the 1 year of breastfeeding as recommended by American Academy of Pediatrics; even longer if I can manage it.
Tech conferences are not known to be very nursing mother friendly. When I can, I take my car with me and I take my pump breaks in the parking lot. Carrying around the equipment can be cumbersome, so being able to leave it in the car helps. However, when the event is held in downtown SF, that proposition isn’t always practical or affordable. Other moms (and I once) have pumped in the bathroom. For those who are not pumping moms, the idea of pumping in the bathroom may not be a big deal, but there is a good deal of equipment and container maneuvering here that can be challenging. Plus, the idea of making your baby’s food in the public place for urinating and defecating is not on the top of my happy list.
I was truly impressed by Lithium Network Conference because they went out of their way to make me comfortable. The folks who put the event together were very vested in helping me out with my request. One of the women actually let me use her hotel room as a private pumping room, and then they worked with the hotel to find me a private room of my own where I could put my equipment and have privacy while I tended to my mammalian duties.
Everyone at the company I have met so far are all incredibly helpful and friendly. I am grateful to Lithium for being such awesome customer-centric group of people who treated me so well.