I am proud and humbled to announce that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected me to be the first breastfeeding mother in space. I am excited for this opportunity to serve my country with both my mind and my mammary glands.
This June, I will join a crew of three highly trained and decorated astronauts on the inaugural flight of the Orion spacecraft on a three-week mission to the International Space Station (ISS.) Although I lack the academic and military credentials of my space-bound peers, NASA officials have assured me that my fifth-grade field trip to the Kennedy Space Center and my repeated viewings of the film Gravity have more than prepared me for the challenges of low-Earth orbit.
Together, we will conduct a number of multidisciplinary experiments and research projects within the station’s microgravity environment, including the following:
- Testing the feasibility of lactation in space.
- Designing the optimal, zero-g-friendly nursing bra.
- Determining whether breastfeeding in public orbit will result in sidelong glances from extraterrestrial bystanders.
Since NASA has yet to develop appropriate protocols for infant space travel, I will be accompanied by a Modified Infant-Like Kinetic Mammary-Appropriate Nurser (MILKMAN), an 8-pound robotic device designed to look and feel like a newborn human baby.
I will use MILKMAN for all research and supply maintenance purposes. The robot’s developers assure me that the sensation of MILKMAN suckling, while not exactly equivalent to that of a baby’s suction, will be far more comfortable and lifelike than a swaddled Dust Buster, which was what was initially proposed as an infant proxy tool.
To prepare for my once-in-a-lifetime journey, I have engaged in numerous exercises, including breastfeeding in the swimming pool at the local Y and breastfeeding in the Hayden Planetarium during its “Journey to the Stars” show. I am pleased to report that both venues were perfectly hospitable to my training, although some staff seemed puzzled when I explained that I was planning to “make one small squirt for man, one giant leak for mankind.”
In conclusion, I am thrilled to go where no lactating woman has gone before and would like to take this opportunity to wish to all earthlings, breastfeeding or not, a happy April Fools’ Day.