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How working mom Kristen Devinney turned a bad pumping experience into founding Proud Ounces, a virtual pump coaching platform for employers and employees

How working mom Kristen Devinney turned a bad pumping experience into founding Proud Ounces, a virtual pump coaching platform for employers and employees

First name: Kristen

Age: 40

Number of kids and ages: 3 brave, adventurous, LOUD girls (8, 5, and 3)

Location: Philadelphia, PA

The most surprising thing about being a first-time mom is EVERYTHING. Before my first daughter arrived, I really wasn't around babies or kids at all. I spent most of my time in NYC exposed only to a passing child on a scooter now and then and didn't have any small children in my extended family yet so basically everything about caring for a baby was surprising. I recall crying about a week after giving birth because my husband had been changing her diaper and I felt I was failing because I didn't know how to do it. Ironic because we ended up changing her diaper 16x a day after that (there is a tiny blue spot on the indicator strip, change it!). Most shocking to me was that I actually did have some very strong motherly instincts. I wasn't convinced that I would know "how to be a mother" before I had children. Now I realize that we all mother in our own perfectly unique way.

Tune into @lunniehive on 6/29 for a conversation with Kristen

My expectation vs. experience breastfeeding was I remember feeling that breastfeeding was a very strange concept and I had trouble wrapping my head around it before actually doing it myself. I took a class at a hospital where they showed videos of breastfeeding and some bottles and pumps. This class did zero to prepare me for the realities of the experience. While I do remember my very first time breastfeeding being a special WOW moment, it certainly wasn't smooth sailing from there. A few funny/terrifying memories:

  • A nurse coming in to my recovery room at the hospital asking when the last time I had fed my daughter was, it had been quite a few hours and she looked horrified that I hadn't been feeding her. My feeling was, where is the handbook for this? I didn't know I was supposed to feed her yet! She isn't crying!

  • About 2 weeks after bringing her home, she wouldn't latch at all and was crying and screaming. It was a weekend night and I didn't have a lactation consultant yet; I ended up calling my husband's previous roommate's mother (who I had never once met) to beg for help. She was a lactation consultant and did help immensely over the phone. I sent her a box of cookies to thank her for her kindness.

  • I developed a poison ivy rash all over my chest which sent me to urgent care. The Doctor asked if I was rolling around naked in the poison ivy and I thought, no I was probably just breastfeeding a baby with it all over her hands.

To me, breastfeeding was really cool, pretty messy and worth the crazy amount of time and effort (most days!).

The best piece of advice about motherhood is do it your way because there is no right way.

Kristen Devinney is the founder of Proud Ounces Pump Coaching, a company that makes pumping and working easy for moms and the employers that support them.

After managing digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 clients at several advertising agencies across New York City, Kristen joined Google in 2009. She spent almost 10 years as a search specialist, sales leader and trusted partner to c-level executives working with Google to market their products and brands. She has guest lectured at both Harvard and Cornell Business Schools.

During her time at Google, Kristen became the mother to three daughters and spent over 2 years pumping breast milk at her office in New York City, her home office in New Jersey, client offices, airport waiting areas, restaurants, plane bathrooms, taxis, hotel rooms, her car, trains and countless other locations. She experienced frequent stress while trying to integrate pumping seamlessly into her ambitious professional goals which inspired her to found Proud Ounces. With the help of a talented team of healthcare, legal, HR advisors and a constant stream of invaluable feedback from breastfeeding moms in all types of jobs, she is now devoted to making sure every mom has the support to meet their breastfeeding and professional goals.

Check out Proud Ounces to book a private Pump Coaching session, grab a one-sheeter to advocate for lactation support benefits at your employer and read weekly, candid stories of moms who have pumped & worked. Follow along on Instagram @proudounces.
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