Today I’m thrilled to have with us Liz Lapetina, a new mama and graduate of the Mindful Return E-Course.  Over in our course alumnae community, we were wondering about real-life experiences with Milk Stork.  This is the company that touts itself as “the first and only breast milk delivery service for business traveling moms like you, providing no-fuss, refrigerated, express shipping of your milk to your baby back home.”  How does it work, exactly?  Is it worth the cost? Here’s what Liz had to say about her experience using Milk Stork:Milk Stork

I’ve been a management consultant for 8 years, so I consider myself a travel pro. I can fit clothes for a week of work travel into a carry-on bag.  And I have arrived at the airport for a flight that departs 15 minutes later—and made the flight. 

When I headed back to my consulting job when my daughter was five months old, my biggest concern was how she would do with our nanny.  My second biggest concern was how I would be able to continue traveling light, while still pumping. For my first work trip, I packed the bare minimum clothing.  Wore a single pair of heels the whole trip.  And managed to cram my pumping equipment and two mini-coolers into my carry-on bag. 

My second trip was more complicated: I was facilitating a two day meeting in Miami, so there was no way I could get away with wearing the same suit two days in a row!  My return trip home involved a tight 45-minute connection, making me leery of checking a bag.  So, I investigated my options, found Milk Stork, and decided to use them for a trial.

The Milk Stork model is simple.  You order the service for each trip by filling out an online form indicating where you will be staying during your travel and where you want your milk shipped.  Milk Stork ships a package to your hotel or other destination.  Inside the package is a small box with a user-activated cooling unit and 6 Nuk-brand milk storage bags.   

When you are ready to ship your milk home, you activate the cooling unit.  Then, you pack the box with up to 34 oz of milk, seal the box with stickers, and leave the box at your hotel for a FedEx pick up.  Your milk arrives chilled at your home the next day.

Being a sleep-deprived new mom, I initially booked Milk Stork for the wrong dates, giving me an early reason to test their customer service.  There is no phone number on their website.  All communication is via email or FaceBook Messenger.  I had a few nervous hours waiting to see whether they could ship a box to my hotel in time (I was arriving two days after I booked the service).  They came through, however, and confirmed that they could change the dates and have a box arrive at the hotel the day of my check-in.

Milk Stork’s website and package instructions encourage you to watch a video to learn how to activate the unit correctly.  I’m not particularly handy or technical, but I found the instructions for activating the unit to be very clear and easy to follow.  You push a button to activate the cooling unit, place it back in the box, and check after an hour to make sure the unit is cool.  (Mine only took a few minutes to get cold, indicating that it was working.)

My only complaint about the service is the measly amount of milk that fits into each cooler.  I assumed I could be clever with packing my bags and squeeze extra milk into the cooler.  But they are quite small, and their estimate of 34 oz. max is accurate.  Each shipment costs me over $100.  Given the amount of milk you can ship in one package, the service is expensive.  For work trips of 2 days or less, one cooler was sufficient.  But for longer trips, multiple coolers would be needed, pushing the cost even higher.

My verdict?  It’s expensive.  But if you are committed to pumping for your baby and can stomach the cost – or have a supportive employer willing to reimburse the cost of Milk Stork – it is a great option and secure way to ensure your milk arrives home cold and ready for your little one.

lizLiz Lapetina is a management consultant specializing in health plan operations and mom to 7-month old Anna.  She and her family live in Eden Prairie, MN, where they enjoy walking their dog, hiking, and checking out new kid friendly restaurants on the weekends.
Want more helpful advice on the return to work after maternity leave?  Join the Mindful Return E-Course – next session starts Back to Work After Babysoon.
Need more practical tips on working parenthood?  Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave.  

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