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In All the Debate About Breastfeeding, Where Is the Support For Mothers?

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Written by Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the back of a rental car on the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, heading towards a gap in the border fence near a sanctuary that a local organizer insisted we MUST see. My colleagues and I were on a field visit to do campaign planning and technical support on reproductive justice, organizing with our local activists that are part of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). As we approached the visually painful 18-foot steel fence in the Sabal Palm Sanctuary section of the border, I pulled up a jacket over my chest as the border patrol agent was peeking into our vehicle.  I was pumping in the backseat, with my battery-powered Medela pump making that familiar ‘whish-whish’ sound. My nerves calmed once the border patrol agent let us pass without questioning what the heck I was doing attached to that machine.

As a new mom to a 9-month-old and a new Executive Director for a national reproductive justice organization, I find myself in precarious situations when on work travel. Do I bring my son? Can I find childcare? If not, who will care for my child while I am away? Where will I pump? Where do I store the milk?

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