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Stuck in a 6-Hour Public Hearing, D.C. Councilmember Pumps Milk from the Dais Like It’s NBD

Any working mom who’s also pumping will tell you that there are only so many hours that can go by between pumping sessions before you literally feel like your boobs are going to explode if you don’t pump right now. But sometimes, our jobs just don’t afford us the breaks necessary to pump. That can really stink, but many of us find a way to work around this, and come up with creative ways to work pumping into our schedules.

That’s precisely what D.C. councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau found herself doing last Thursday. Nadeau, new mom to 3-month-old Zoe, usually has time to pump throughout her day. But on one particular day, a public hearing on homelessness was lasting a long time. So, Nadeau made an unconventional decision — instead of excusing herself to pump, she simply went ahead and pumped while she was sitting there at the dais.

Nadeau told The Washington Post that she’d already had her hands-free breast pump with “Freemie” cups hooked up, and so she was just able to turn it on and do her thing. The noise was quiet enough that it didn’t even disturb anyone.

Realizing that doing that was a bit of a revolutionary act for someone like her, she even took to Twitter to share her awesome little story.

“As a new mom, I don’t want to recess my committee each time I need to pump so I will be pumping for a short while as our hearing on Rapid Rehousing continues,” Nadeau tweeted. Then she added a pretty surprising fact that made what happened all the more meaningful. “I believe it’s the first time it has been done from the DC Council dais,” she proclaimed.

Go get ’em, councilwoman! Not only is Nadeau doing what she has to do to be a fantastic mom to her precious daughter, but she is also taking the time to break the norm and make a powerful statement on behalf of working moms everywhere.

As Nadeau explains to Babble, what she did is not just for herself, but it’s a message to her fellow working moms as well.

“I wanted to share my story so that other working moms would know they are not alone,” she tells Babble. “We’re all just doing our best to juggle being moms with being our best at work. It’s not easy!”

It isn’t easy at all, but that is exactly why we all need role models like Nadeau to show us what is possible, and to make it clear that tending to our children’s needs isn’t always something that needs to happen outside of work. It’s possible to combine the two — and yes, we are totally capable of that, because moms are total badasses.

Nadeau isn’t the first lawmaker of late to combine working with breastfeeding or pumping. You might remember the viral story from last spring of Australian senator Larissa Waters, who proudly nursed her daughter while casting a vote on the Parliament floor. Women do what they need to do, and it’s especially gratifying to see women in high ranking powerful jobs like these who aren’t afraid to show up as professionals and as mothers.

This isn’t the only mother-centered cause that councilmember Nadeau has put herself behind. Nadeau is one of the lawmakers behind the cause to bring “Baby Boxes” into hospitals across America, and even let her newborn daughter Zoe “test drive” one.

Brianne Nadeau
Image Source: Brianne Nadeau

As The Washington Post reported, Nadeau proposed a bill that would provide all new parents with a baby box to bring home, as well as training about safe sleep, which is what the baby boxes are meant to encourage.

“I believe every baby deserves a strong start, and that begins with a safe place to sleep,” Nadeau told the newspaper.

As for her latest cause, it seems to have gone over well, not just with her fellow moms, but with her colleagues too. On her decision to pump during the hearing, councilmember Charles Allen, himself a father of two young kids, had this to say:

“Council member Nadeau has business to do. She can run a hearing and if she needs to pump, she can do it,” Allen told The Washingoton Post. “It’s not an abnormal thing; it’s very natural thing, and frankly, we encourage it.”

It most certainly is. And it’s so refreshing to see that others are on board with this sort of thing (and a man no less!). We definitely have more to do to make the lives of working moms better, but it is really encouraging to see gratifying progress like this.

So let’s give councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau a hearty round of applause. She truly is a champion for moms and babies all over, and an inspiration for what’s to come.

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