Book Review: The Milk Memos

May 30th, 2008 by Diane Sam

Pumping Party at IBM!!  The Milk Memos Mamas ....

This book helped me remember what it was like to go into a dinky old room, sit by myself and hook my breasts up to a machine because I couldn't nurse my baby. Well-written, poignant and sometimes hilarious, it perfectly captures the pathos of the pumping room.

The Milk Memos began as a series of notes working moms wrote to each other in the IBM lactation room as they returned to work after having their babies. One by one, note by note, we come to know these moms and feel right along with them the sadness of leaving their baby with someone else, the frustrations of trying to appease an "evil boss",  as well as the sense of fun and camraderie as they get to know each other and share the ups and downs of being a working "milk mama".

Not only that, it is interspersed with some great information about breastfeeding, both general health information, and  tips for the working mom. Useful tidbits about child care options, sibling spacing, employment rights and "pump at work essentials" are included among the funny little notes, stories and 'milk memos", making it a great guide for any mom adjusting to returning to work with a baby at home.

I laughed out loud when one of the mamas said how she forget the bottles for the pump, so hunched over some coffee cups and pumped into them, and then was wondering how she was going to store the milk in the company fridge. And another mom tells how, in the midst of a 'mummy brain" episode, melted her pump parts into a smoldering mess while trying to sterilize them. That is so something I would do!!  And, of course the HORROR of a man fixing the toilet outside the door (believe me, pumping is not something you want anyone to walk in on .... ).

More than just a great overall companion for the recently-returned-to-work mom, this book is a heartfelt and funny reflection on what it means to be a working mom with a newborn. Although I never went to work right away, (my baby was preemie - for that story, click here), I do know what it feels like to pump, day after day, several times a day, while your baby is being looked after by someone else. I think having the Miik Memos in our 'pumping room' at the hospital would have made me feel like I wasn't alone - that there are lots of moms out there who are proud pumping moms, who do the best they can when they can to provide breastmilk for their baby!

So, if you are a milk mama about to return to work, get this book - you won't feel so alone.  It should be a 'must-have' accessory in every corporate and hospital lactation room across the country!

Oh... and Cate, I just want to know.... did you really use your breastmilk as a creamer in your morning coffee....???


For more information, including how to order, check out their website:   The Milk Memos


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Cate Colburn-Smith said:

Hi Diane!

As a matter of fact, yes I did use breastmilk in my coffee as a creamer! I was on a business trip in a hotel. The hotel room had a coffee pot (love that), but only fake powder "whitener" or some such thing. I'm a half and half girl all the way (do you call it that up North?), so I was thinking - what's worse, black coffee or fake powder, and then I had an aha! moment. It's truly amazing, the taste of breastmilk. No wonder babies love it.

Anyway, thank you so much for the book review!!! It is one of the best I've read, and I really appreciate it.

All the best to you and any Milk Mama reading your wonderful blog!

Love, Cate Colburn-Smith (Co-author of The Milk Memos)

June 12th, 2008 9:09pm

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