How BBC’s Katy Watson pumped breast milk via polls and protests

Baby Isadora with mum Katy Watson on the TV behind her

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Katy Watson coated turbulent occasions on her patch whereas maintaining meals provides for Isadora

There’s one phrase to sum up my month at work after maternity go away – intense.


I gave start to my little lady, Isadora, in Could after which selected to return in October to cowl what was anticipated to be an attention-grabbing time on my patch.

Presidential elections in Bolivia and Argentina, protests throughout the area and the story of Amazon destruction in addition to controversies over Jair Bolsonaro’s management in Brazil.


I used to be enthusiastic about my return and my companion was making ready to begin daddy obligation with 5 months of shared parenting go away.

There was one hitch. I is likely to be again at work however Isadora’s fundamental meals provide was nonetheless me – and that made my job somewhat bit extra intense to say the least.

After I had my first child three years in the past, I fed him for so long as I may. Eight months in all. However then I received despatched to Venezuela for 2 weeks. After I got here again, he checked out me – and my boobs – quizzically as if to say, thanks however no thanks, I am going to stick with a bottle any further.

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She produced dozens of luggage of milk for Isadora throughout practically two weeks away

I used to be a bit unhappy however I figured hey, he is glad and the bonus was I used to be not pulled in two instructions. And I discovered pumping awkward. There aren’t many younger mums doing my job and I suppose I did not need to make life tough for me or my group as I attempted to get again to work. Fed is greatest (relatively than breast is greatest) in spite of everything, so I ended pumping and we switched to components.

This time although, I’m decided to maintain going so long as potential. I like breastfeeding and after I get again from an extended interval away, there’s nothing higher than reconnecting over a feed and feeling that closeness.

So I deliberate forward. I began stashing away milk inside a month of giving start which meant I began again from maternity go away with 16 days’ provide in case I needed to journey.

And certain sufficient, two days in, I flew to Bolivia to cowl the elections. Whereas my child drinks what’s saved within the freezer, I’ve to pump to replenish the provides. And it is so much! Each three hours to maintain up my provide. I haven’t got an workplace job the place I can plug a pump in and sit at a desk.

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Right here is my radio package vs my pumping package

So I realised that if I did not do it in public, I wasn’t going to stick with it for lengthy. Plus, I refuse to spend half an hour each three hours sitting in a unclean public bathroom. That is my child’s meals I’m producing in spite of everything.

So I’ve made some nice discoveries of late – first, that my Argentine poncho doubles as a nifty pumping cowl. Second, that a airplane engine gives wonderful white noise which allows me to pump away fairly fortunately with out anybody listening to the pump’s mechanical purr.

And I’ve additionally found that I have to declare breast milk to customs as a result of it is technically thought of an animal product – Chilean authorities received fairly cross once I practically smuggled my liquid gold via with out telling them.

Issues did not get off to an amazing begin although once I landed in La Paz to cowl the elections. Inside a number of hours of arriving, I used to be bed-ridden with probably the most terrible altitude illness. I believe the low-point was once I was slumped subsequent to the bathroom being sick, whereas hooked up to my breast pump, all within the identify of maintaining my provide for my child!

So what to do with all of the milk I am producing? Pumping 30oza day, storage turns into an issue. So it often begins with a minibar (transfer over fizzy drinks and chocolate to get you thru these late edits, this fridge is stuffed with milk now) after which I befriend the reception and cooks to retailer the overflow and freeze the ice packs within the lodge kitchen. Some look a bit queasy, however to date I’ve discovered everybody on my travels to be useful.

My group, too, not bats an eyelid once I don my poncho and pump within the automotive or at a restaurant – and even, as I did the opposite day, in a rest room on the presidential palace as I used to be making ready to interview Chile’s chief Sebastián Piñera.

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Media captionSebastián Piñera tells the BBC’s Katy Watson that he’s dedicated to remaining as president

There may be typically no alternative while you’re submitting items with little time to spare. However I additionally really feel strongly about normalising one thing that is pure. For those who can feed your child in public, it is best to have the ability to pump too in the event you’re away out of your child.

From overlaying protests to interviewing presidents, it is not all the time straightforward to stay to my timetable of pumping each three hours. However I’ve common alarms on my cellphone telling me “pump” – they act as guilt-trips. Miss too many and my provide may go down. Fairly other than the very fact your physique cries out for reduction in the event you aren’t doing it frequently. However there’ve been a number of occasions when that alarm has gone off as I used to be about to do an interview. My group now shout “PUMP! each time they hear it.

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Pumping on the job – this toilet in a presidential palace needed to do for checking a script and producing a feed

The mix of late edits and setting alarms to rise up in the course of the night time to pump will be brutal. And because the saying goes, it takes a village to boost a toddler – my colleagues, lodge employees and airport officers have all been nice.

As has my companion, who at one level introduced the entire household to the airport as I switched planes – touchdown from one journey and inside two hours flying off to a different.

All for the sake of 1 feed with my child, and to dump 28 luggage of milk to get them to a freezer again house, leaving me to leap on the airplane to my subsequent deployment, pump in hand.