Help: Quick Question

Morning, friends!

The baby is doing VERY well with the chicken pox, and Widget and I are over our colds.  We’re all doing well over here and enjoying a beautiful Friday!  I was hoping you’d help me with a quick question.  Those of you who work, or who have worked professionally in the past, when you went to a professional meeting or conference, do you recall a) if there was child care available at the conference site (like at BlogHer) or b) if there was a space set aside for nursing an infant?  Was that provision a major factor in you being able to attend?  Was there something else that helped you attend when your kids were babies or preschoolers?  I’m working on a little something this week/end and would LOVE to have some data from other fields to help make the case for us.  (If you’re comfortable telling me which conference it was, or what general field, I’d appreciate that too.) 

Thanks a ton for any insight that you can provide!

Edited to add:  Your responses are so, so, so helpful.  Thank you.  We miss women at our annual conference every year who can’t come because they have nursing babies and nowhere to nurse them during the meeting.  We have others who don’t have anyone to leave the preschoolers with, because both mom and dad are in the same field and need to go to the conference.  More often than not, mom stays home.  Every year.  Since there are only a very few women in my field and many (most?) of us are married to men in the field, this is a disproportionately big issue for retention of women. 

Need more incentive?  Leave a comment on this post and I’ll pick one of you on Monday to receive a prize.  I just received two brand-spankin-new copies of The Only Child, a collection of essays edited by Deborah Siegel and Daphne Uviller.  It looks really interesting, but I sure don’t need two copies.  I’ll happily give one away to one of the commenters this weekend.  If I get more than 25 responses, I’ll throw in my gently read copy of I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids, by Trisha Asworth and Amy Nobile.  Plus, as you know, you all have my gratitude….

55 Responses to Help: Quick Question

  1. Kristin says:

    So glad you’re feeling better!

    I don’t have kids but I know that childcare is not an option at the aviation conferences I attend.

  2. Heather says:

    I have been to several conferences (I’m an attorney) and there has never been childcare available. However, what I have done in the past, is to just bring my son with me and have my Mom travel with me. That way I could take a short break and nurse him (when he was young) or take a longer lunch (when they are older).

    Just my way of doing things. I hate to leave the little boogers.

    Glad that you are feeling better!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I have attended conferences in which child care is available. Big conferences of several thousand attendees, and the conference contracts with a local child care agency — someplace that provides backup emergency child care for coroporate clients. I’ve not actually used the child care myself.

    The Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD.org) has had child care in the past. This is child dev researchers from a variety of disciplines — pyschology, sociology, medicine, etc.

    The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR.org) also makes child care info available at their conferences. In their 2007 program, p. 53, it lists 4 local child care facilities to call and make your own arrangements with. This conference is for social science researchers and teachers studying families.

    When I attended the Child Welfare League of America’s conference (CWLA.org) , I was a nursing and pumping mom attending the conf locally in DC (so no hotel room of my own). I contacted conference staff, and they were very accomodating — they had a hotel room near the main level available for pumping moms, and so many of us just came and went out of that room all day.

    good luck!

  4. CE says:

    The National Society of Genetic Counselors does not have childcare available. I wish they would – as I have not really been able to attend with nursing babies. It makes no sense, too, considering the majority of people in the field are women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Next time I plan on hiring someone local to the site to site with child(ren) in my hotel room if necessary.

  5. mayberry says:

    When I attended the National Association for the Education of Young Children (!!) conference several years ago (2002) there was no place to pump (I think they did/do offer child care). I ended up hiding in a corner at the Jacob Javits center in NYC!

  6. milkmaid79 says:

    I would have most certainly attending conferences and the like if some sort of childcare and nursing provisions were made! For a year I missed most every “away” meeting for the mortgage company I worked for because my daughter was bf and wouldn’t take a bottle (or a sippy, or any pumped milk in any way, shape, or form).

  7. Amelie says:

    I cannot help you directly, but go and have a look at this post by ScienceWoman

  8. Nutmeg says:

    I did not go to the conference this year, but the Entomological Society of America (Entsoc) this year had childcare. I did not go because I didn’t have any data to present so I could not get funding to go.

    However, the presence of childcare at the conference would have made it possible for me to go if I did have some data to present. It is the only circumstance I would have been able to go to such a long conference so far away. The city the conference was in is family friendly so I think they were trying to attract people who would add a vacation onto the end of their conference.

    The last national meeting I went to did not have childcare and there was no place appropriate to have children there and there were no children present. If I had been a mom at that point, I would not have been able to go to the meeting.

  9. Cheryl says:

    Hi, I attended a meeting at a hotel when my son was 6 months old and I was still nursing. I had to leave him at home with daddy since there was no childcare. I would go back to my room to pump every break that we had and kept it on ice to take home with me.

  10. Susan K says:

    Susan

    Although I never went when it mattered or noticed, I am 90% sure I have seen that Geological Society of America Annual meeting bulletins etc. talk about child care availability, how to book etc. And it is RIGHT THERE, in the hotel/conference center I think.

    Also, once we hosted a panel meeting and a woman came with nursing infant – she had her parent’s with her and they brought baby by when (s)he was hungry and I let the woman use my office. (another panelist used my office another time to pump).

    Also, a lot of hotels offer ‘in room babysitting’ – contracted with local companies that offer bonded, insured etc. sitters. But have never used (first time will be Disney in 3 weeks!)

  11. Mary says:

    I’m an attorney and I’ve never been to a conference that provided childcare. Some of the conferences are at hotels where the hotel has arrangements with nanny services and you can work with the hotel to do it but the conference itself has nothing to do with it.

  12. Elizabeth Hohman says:

    I attended the 2006 JSM (Joint Statistical Meetings) when my son was 11 weeks old. The JSM is a large conference (over 3,000 attendees). They contract with local childcare providers and provide details to the attendees in the program.

    Since our son was so young, we didn’t use child care. My husband came and took care of the baby and contacted me by cell phone (on vibrate) when our son needed to nurse. I also pumped a little but wasn’t good at it so this was a problem. I gave my presentation during a long session and was worried that the baby would need to nurse in that time-frame.

    Below is an excerpt from the 2007 JSM program.

    “Child care services may be organized through Guardian Angels. Providers will come to your hotel room. The rate is $60 for a minimum of four hours of service for the first child, with an additional $1 per hour for each additional child. The fee for families that want to share a sitter is $2 more per hour for each family, or $5 more per hour for each family when children in diapers are involved. A $10 transportation fee is added to the total each time a sitter is called. Fore more information, call (206) 325-2327 or visit http://www.guardianangelbaby.com

    Additionally, the program states:

    “The Caucus for Women in Statistics will provide a subsidy toward four hours of babysitting per family for up to 14 families. If you are interested, contact Tena I. Katsaounis at (emailAddressHere)”

    I think the JSM and the Caucus for Women in Statistics are doing great. The JSM is really a family-friendly conference where a lot of people bring their entire families.

    I have been to smaller statistics conferences and have noticed at one an outright hostility to a family of two statisticians whose toddler son was at the conference (and cared for by another person).

    I Have never seen a nursing area at a conference. That would have been great! Ideally, a large conference might consider a private nursing area and provide an electric breast pump (since traveling with an electric pump is difficult and a manual pump does not work well for everyone).

  13. Spacemom says:

    I believe SOME AAS meetings have childcare and some don’t. Most are in a very nice hotel/conference center where I would feel comfortable feeding my child.
    I took Soleil to the AAS in 2003 and she was 5 months old. I didn’t use childcare, but I never felt harrassed by feeding her (of course, I used bottles, so that could be part of it)

  14. Monica says:

    I am a professional meeting planner. First off, to all of your nursing moms attending conferences, ask in advance. Often people don’t think of it before hand. (Hey, they can’t all be fabulous like me.) Call or email the organization hosting the event and ask to speak to the conference manager.

    If you don’t get an answer you like or forget to ask in advance, go to the info desk and/or registration desk. As again if they have a nursing/pumping area. If not, or if the person doesn’t know, ask to speak to the meeting planner.

    The first time someone asked me that I was 21 years old. I hadn’t thought of it in advance, but was able to very quickly find a private, locked room at the Seattle Convention Center that worked.

    Now I know better and I fight for this in advance and other single/childless staff people think I’m crazy. But as a meeting planner you can easily set this up. First off, if it’s at a hotel, ask your convention services manager if they have a nursing mothers room. Many hotels will give you keys to a sleeping room and allow moms to use it throughout the day. The Orlando World Center Marriott gave me 10 keys which I distributed to moms who needed them. Only those 10 people had access to the room.

    We have also had childcare at our conferences. Many times you can set up a drape very easily with the help of your decorating company (or the hotel) and moms can go into this room to nurse/pump privately.

    The reason more conferences don’t provide organized childcare is that it’s very expensive and unless you are paying about $20/hour per kid, the organization is heavily subsidizing the cost unless every single slot in every single time period is full. Which almost never happens.

    Anyway, if you want more secret scoop from my oh-so-exciting career, feel free to email me at mjp3md at gmail dot com.

  15. MammaLoves says:

    Never have I been to a conference with childcare or nursing locations. I’ve always had to leave my kids home with my husband and gone back to my room to nurse.

    It’s funny. I would have never even have thought to ask. If it were the guys…

  16. Susan K says:

    Susan

    Has anyone ever SUGGESTED to LPI that they get a room (even a sleeping room would do if they have used up all the meeting rooms) and set it aside for nursing/pumping? I think that hotel even has fridges in the room, so people could store temporarily before heading home to their hotel or office if they are local.

    Maybe no one has ever asked…..

  17. Lisa says:

    Child care has never been offered at any education or special education conferences that I have attended as a teacher.

  18. whymommy says:

    Susan K,

    Yeah. A few of us have asked individually, and agitated individually, and gotten, um, not helpful responses. I was kicked out of an unused room last year when I brought my babe. No one else was present or expected, but I didn’t have a right to be there, so I was asked to leave.

    The only acceptable alternative was by the pool, outside in March, in full view of the lounge areas in the lobby. Ugh.

  19. HeatherS says:

    At the last conference I attended (non-profit field) there as a child care area set up. However, the parents were expected to volunteer several times to help staff it in order to keep the costs low. Between volunteering and needing to leave in the early evening to put my child to bed, I missed most of the plenary sessions anyway.

  20. Rebecca says:

    I’m in the tax field. No childcare through the conferences. The hotels often had in-room care available if you make arrangements in advance. My family traveled with me so DH took care of DS while I pumped or directly nursed during breaks back in the room. We arranged for fridge in room.

    I’ve pumped more than once in a the women’s bathroom for one-day local conferences.

    Side note – one conference was at DisneyLand and the park (of course!) had places where one could go to nurse in private (or just grab a bench anywhere, they won’t kick you out).

  21. Rebecca says:

    WhyMommy – not sure I understand your comment in comments section. Is the conference at a hotel or private building? If hotel, just ask at the concierge, I once pumped in a beautiful room at the local Fairmont during a one-day conference. I had my own cooler bag for the milk, but they offered to store it for me for the day.

  22. OutedLurker says:

    I am in psychology and the conferences I have attended thus far have not offered childcare or a location for pumping/nursing moms. One was in a hotel, and I must say the hotel staff were very accommodating, allowing me to use a sleep room for pumping. Another time I was out in my car with my battery pack and fingers crossed. I do want to point out, though, that this isn’t just a “working moms” issue. If my husband went to a conference, I would have to adjust my work schedule or not work to take care of our daughter. So it would be nice for his field to have childcare options, too. Also, if his employer (who would be familiar to Whymommy) were more family-flexible, it would be easier for me to work in general.

  23. I think a lot more companys should supply these services, Do the companys realize just what they are loosing by not having these women attend? I think not!!

  24. Susan K says:

    My husband distinctly remembers seeing information about a nursing room at a conference he was at – he can’t remember which, probably something forensic. No daycare that he remembers.

    Well now, I know that hotel… I know the layout. I would have whipped out my boob by that pool, making SURE I was facing the lobby…. bet they’d have found you a room real quick. 🙂

    Safe travels. Have fun!

  25. SuzyQatHome says:

    All my conferences were typically ACM or IEEE. Given the percentage of women in the field (esp CS) and the fact that I only had a child for the last year I worked it never occurred to me to ask. I can actually remember being the ONLY woman at several more specialized conferences. But the field in general is not at all friendly to that kind of thing. You’d not believe the comments I got when I attended a conference 6 months pregnant.

    Hubby claims that the numbers of women in the last couple of years have drastically increased (though they are mostly grad students). He’s at a conference in Reno right now, I’ll have to ask him when he gets back about nursing/childcare rooms.

    I do have to say that a HUGE part of my departure from the school I was working at stemmed from the unfriendliness towards pumping. For several months, I was sharing the Dean’s office (when he was travelling and using a storage closet with no a/c when he wasn’t) with the Associate Dean of Grad Studies who was also pumping. Always nice to show your breasts to your boss. Reason – it was against policy for faculty or advisors to not have a window in their door (so that students were never behind closed doors with a faculty or staff member). It took THREE MONTHS to get approval for us to have blinds over our windows that we could use while pumping. And then staff members complained because I was getting “special” treatment.

    Also, I really think it should be common to offer some type of monetary reimbursement to men or women for childcare expenses incurred because of travelling if it is not a regular part of the job. There are ALWAYS costs that are not reimbursed and when you have kids those costs go sky high when you start figuring in childcare at home or the venue and/or extra plane tickets. I also find it interesting that we don’t think we deserve to be reimbursed for being taken away from our families for far far more than the 40 hours a week (ha right!) that we’re technically paid for!

  26. Susan says:

    There is no child care available at any of the conferences I attend (in English), although the Law and Society organization has child care available (although I never use it, as leaving my kid with strangers in a strange city doesn’t seem very appealing).

  27. ksr says:

    I haven’t been to any conferences that include childcare options. I did take my then 7-month old with me to one conference and hired an in-room babysitting service. I made sure I had a room in the same hotel as the conference and went back up during breaks. I have another friend who brings her nanny to these events.

  28. Gerbil says:

    convention centers often forbid children under 14 to be on the exhibit floors due to liability issues. At the trade show my former employer hosted, we occasionally had babies in strollers in the registration hall but that was extremely rare. Conferences held at hotels may have other options that a convention center wouldn’t

  29. Gerbil says:

    convention centers often forbid children under 14 to be on the exhibit floors due to liability issues. At the trade show my former employer hosted, we occasionally had babies in strollers in the registration hall but that was extremely rare. Conferences held at hotels may have other options that a convention center wouldn’t

  30. strugi says:

    I just returned from a chemistry conference. It did have childcare ($10-$12/hour) and a room for nursing/pumping. My husband and I are both chemists and we both attended this meeting. However, at the price, it was less expensive for us to fly my mother down and have her take care of our son.

    My first post maternity leave conference was when our son was five months old. My husband stayed home with him (DC area) and I flew off to Europe. That particular conference had no childcare and no nursing/pumping rooms. I felt as if I spent 1/2 the conference pumping in bathrooms-it was not the most positive experience I have had.

    Come to think of it, the meeting last week is the only one I have been to that has accounted for children/nursing. I work in a male dominated area of chemistry-but that is changing rapidly.

  31. Ally says:

    Susan, I am an attorney and there has never been childcare or nursing rooms at any conference I’ve attended. Moms who’ve attended have either brought their own childcare or left their baby at home (pumping in their hotel room). It would be just fabulous if childcare and/or nursing mom accomodations were available. Good on you for trying to make this better for moms in your profession!

  32. FENICLE says:

    I’ve attended a few ministry type conferences and they almost always offer childcare. Granted, I’ve never traveled with our son to something like this, many women did – especially with very little ones under the age of 2. They always stated how helpful it was to have the childcare available to them.

  33. Leeanthro says:

    Hi there-

    I’m an archaeologist (we’re pretty laid back). Two years ago I was pregnant during our regional conference. I did notice one baby with her mom. She was young enough to sleep through most of the meetings (the baby, not the mom–ha!). Last year when I had a little one, several people said I should go and take him. I didn’t, but mostly because I decided not to attend because I wasn’t presenting a paper and didn’t feel like traveling having just come off of maternity leave.

    Our conference bounces around from university to university. It is usually held at a hotel. Most people stay at that same hotel. So I guess most women would be able to go to their room for privacy to pump.

    As for childcare, I don’t think that has ever been provided and I guess I’ve never thought to ask. My family just knows that once a year I may be gone for 4 days.

    But I would assume that if the hotel where the conference was held offered childcare for a fee, that the individual would be responsible for paying for it.

  34. strugi says:

    Back again.

    I should add, even when I leave our little guy with my husband-it is difficult. We live in the DC suburbs, my lab is very close to home, my husbands lab is in DC (about 30 miles and 40 minutes away when there is no traffic). Hubby goes to work very early in the morning and comes home early in the afternoon to avoid traffic. I get the morning shift and he gets the afternoon shift with our boy. When I go to a meeting, it is very difficult for him to handle daycare pickup and drop-off. It is not so difficult for me when he is away because our home, daycare, and my work are close together. I would probably bring our son to more meetings if there was quality care available.

  35. Angela says:

    I attend a lot of education and technology conferences….none of them provided childcare or a room for pumping. Interesting issue…..

  36. Devra Renner says:

    The American Sociological Association has had childcare as a part of their conference for at least 40 years. I know this because both of my parents are sociologists and I grew up attending their conferences and going to the childcare. It was WONDERFUL! I have wonderful memories of playing with the other kids who I would see once a year at the meetings. We all grew up together and it was fabulous!
    Now that I am a parent myself, I have met my mother at the ASA meetings and the times I have attended I have used the childcare for my offspring.

    ASA usually tries to coordinate with SSSP and SWS so that members attending those meetings can overlap childcare too.

    I also know the American Academy of Pediatrics offers childcare during their conferences and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has all kinds of family stuff during their district meetings. I don’t know about their national ones, because I’ve only attended (and presented!) at a multi district meeting.

  37. Redsy says:

    Hi There,
    I’ve been in government/nonprofit work for ages and there has never been any outward accommodation of breastfeeding or childcare or anything.

    And I’d say YES YES YES those things would have a great deal to do with my attending a function or furthering my commitment to a certain job or profession.

  38. whymommy says:

    Awesome responses, everyone! Keep ’em coming — I promise I’ll post Tuesday night about what’s brewing on this topic over in my little corner of the world.

  39. Catherine says:

    I used to work for an International non profit that had annual conferences for all employees. Requiring a female employee to be in a different country from a nursing baby or toddler is a big thing, and we allowed childred to come and made small provisions such as a room for them near the conference room, etc, but did not go as far as creating childcare – which meant that the women would figure out their own system of childcare and essentially would miss a lot of the conference.

    As you can guess it was more of a don’t ask/don’t tell policy than anything really helpful since women were able to be there with their kids, but we didn’t actually provide anything that allowed them to participate to a great degree. It ended up becoming such a lose-lose that we recently decided only nursing babies can come – and lost almost all our mom attendees as a result.

    This was non profit, and it was an in house conference, both a bit different from what you’re asking I think. But a better choice for us would have been to go all the way and provide local childcare in the hotel/conference center I believe – a bit more costly, but would allow the women to participate rather than losing years as you mentioned.

    For me now? There’s no way I could attend such a conference – I’m ready to see culture change on this one.

  40. Dawn says:

    After the last National Convention the Episcopal Church had, they passed “The Naomi Resolution” that will include child care at future conventions.

    http://episcopalprincess.blogspot.com/2007/01/eliot-and-naomi.html

    (yah, I know Naomi🙂 )

    As for BlogHer, I’m just bringing the husband and child with me.

  41. Andrea says:

    I work in the education technology field, and in my first career I was a K-12 teacher. After the arrival of my first child, I stopped attending conferences in either field due to lack of child care.

  42. Tara says:

    I work in boarding school and have attended a number of large conferences and none has ever had childcare or an area for nursing moms. My husband and I work together at the same school, so we don’t generally get to go to the same conferences (since we have 4 kids ages 7 y.-9 mos.) though we do both get oppotunities for professional development.

  43. Anonymous says:

    The American Anthropological Association offers childcare at their conferences. If you want to know the details here’s a link: http://dev.aaanet.org/meetings/info/childcare/Childcare.cfm. As far as whether this provision will be a major factor in whether I attend, I’m not sure. It certainly is nice, but I’m nervous about flying alone with an infant, don’t know how we’ll handle the extra cost (second plane ticket, childcare, etc.), and worry that if the baby is not enjoying the jetlag or the change of routine I might be up all night and not be getting much out of the conference anyway. So in the end, I don’t know if childcare is going to be enough to get me to the conference with an infant. On the other hand, I think that professional women attending conferences with their children sends an important message to younger women in the field that they don’t (or shouldn’t) have to choose between having a family and having the career they love, which isn’t a message they are getting right now. Combine the importance of this message with childcare facilities and it might be enough to get me to the conference. We’ll see.

  44. Maria says:

    Delurking for this one, but I have been thinking good thoughts for you all during your treatment.

    The major conference in my (ex-)field (one of the biosciences) has no childcare facilities, but directs you to the respective hotels to see what they can arrange. I can’t say for sure they don;t have a room for nursing/pumping, but they certainly don’t advertise the fact. (I’ve only attended before I had Mio). A friend of mine once decided against taking her infant to this conference. On the other hand, I have seen people take their small children, but usually with a companion (e.g. grandma) to take care of them during sessions.

    Hope this is helpful.

  45. shannond says:

    I work in the Technology field. I have two children, both of which were breastfed. I have never attended a conference that had childcare available, or that had a designated area for nursing moms. I usually talk with the hotel or conference center and they have always been willing to set me up with a small private room for pumping. I generally attend 3 or 4 conferences a year. Hope this helps.

  46. Elizabeth says:

    I responded earlier about the JSM conference. I also wanted to mention that I attended an IEEE conference when my son was 10 months old. The percentage of women was much smaller at IEEE than JSM and it felt a lot less family-friendly. I brought my mother with me to take care of my son and it was easier when he was 10 months than when he was 11 weeks. (What were we thinking when he was 11 weeks? – darn, that was hard.) Still, there was nothing in the IEEE program about childcare or nursing accommodations. I am grateful to learn from the previous comments that the hotels will often find you a place to nurse or pump. (Maybe this seems obvious but I just never thought of it – you get used to thinking that pumping will be offensive.)

    I attended a one-day conference at a university and could not find a place to pump. I asked at the information desk and the administrative office and none of the restrooms had power supplies near the stalls. I ended up pumping in my car in the busy parking garage (right by the elevator). It took me twice as long to pump half as much and by the end, I was in tears with frustration, discomfort, and embarrassment. I THINK THAT THE FIRST PLACE TO BRING CHANGE WOULD BE TO UNIVERSIIES. We want new mothers to be comfortable at their university if we want them to finish their educations. This seems very important.

    Now my son is almost two and my husband has quit his job to take care of him/us. The three of us go to conferences often. My son still nurses but of course we can do this more discreetly now (which is fortunate since he nurses like an acrobatic monkey).

    Whatever you are doing with this information, thank you! Being a new nursing mom is HARD, but it could be made a little easier if society was more accommodating (or at least less uncomfortable by the idea). Also, we need to remember that a new mom is often a mess of hormones and other feelings and that a normally self-sufficient and confident woman may be very sensitive during the first few months after her baby’s birth. This is a time when she might not be capable of fighting for her rights like she could do at other times in her life.

  47. whymommy says:

    Awesome comments. I’m in the thick of it right now. Will report back Tuesday night or shortly thereafter….

  48. Lawyer Mama says:

    Had to weigh in on this because it annoys me so much. I have *never* been to a legal conference where childcare (or a nursing room) was provided. Never.

    A co-worker of mine, whose baby wouldn’t take a bottle while nursing, ended up bringing her MIL to a conference we attended in a hotel in D.C. She would go up for every break and nurse the baby in her hotel room. Luckily, she has a wonderful mother-in-law.

    I’m also a member of the National Association of Women in Construction (I’m a construction litigator) and the annual NAWIC conference doesn’t offer child care either. Some of the regional groups do, although not mine.

    I remember a friend of mine and her husband (both doctors) both attending an NIH conference a year or so ago and there was child care.

  49. Robyn says:

    I am in the field of high-tech Project Management (have my PMP certification) and have never been to a conference where child care was offered. Notta one.

    When my son was an infant, I brought my mother along to conferences (she’s retired). They would hang out all day. And I would either pump in the bathroom or she would bring him down and I’d nurse (usually in the bathroom again). It was a pain, totally inconvenient. But my only other option was to not go to the conferences.

    When I stopped nursing, it was much easier to go to a conference or training. But my spouse and I are in different fields, so we’ve never had to deal with the being gone the same weeks. Although we have had to coordinate work travel to make sure that we aren’t both gone the same weeks. Less of an issue for my spouse, who works in finance and is more likely to have to work a weekend on month-end close than to have to travel.

    I have to admit tho, that just because a conference offered child care, I probably wouldn’t be inclined to use it unless there was clear and thorough details about the care. The ratio of adults to children, activities, schedules, background checks, etc.

  50. Krista says:

    Hi,
    I actually just got back from a conference last night… and I took my 11 month old with me. No nursing room and no child care. Thankfully I was staying with friends in this city that were will to watch him part of the time. If I was there by myself? Well, I probably would have ended up missing parts of it so he could sleep in the hotel room. He did fairly well for the morning session which was the only time he was with me.
    And this was only a day and a half conference. Anything longer with no child-care and I wouldn’t have gone.

  51. trish says:

    Wow – some cultural difference here or else I’m very thick-skinned.

    I’m an oceanographer in Scotland and I went to two meetings with my son while he was still breastfed. In both cases my husband travelled with us and did the childcare, but when my son was hungry I would just feed him in the meetings or during the meals so I didn’t have to miss anything. It might have helped that the meetings were small and dominated by Norwegians, Scots, and Canadians – who tend to be pro-breastfeeding. It’s the law in Scotland that a woman can feed her child in public and I’ve never had anything but positive feedback and the Norwegians (where the other meeting was) bent over backwards to accomodate my family’s needs.

    I’m feeling lucky right now…

  52. Daisy says:

    No, childcare is not available at conferences I attend.

    I have seen (and know) nursing Moms that brought their husbands or some other person to watch the infant while she was in conference sessions. That might help.

  53. Former employee says:

    I used to work for a national association of lawyers. The annual convention was around 4000 people. They have had child care now at least 3 years at the annual convention since every year a few vocal parents demand it. And every year it is COMPLETELY underutilized and the organization took a HUGE hit of $5-10k to provide this service.

    The year we had a hotel room reserved just for nursing mothers room not ONE person used it in 6 days. I talked to a few attendees who didn’t even realize we had it, because they hadn’t bothered to read any of the general info emails we sent out OR their brochures. So don’t just assume it wasn’t at your conference. Maybe it was and you didn’t know about it!

    ASK. If they don’t have what you want and enough people ask, maybe you will help improve things for future moms.

  54. […] I asked you what you do about this at your conferences – and 50 women responded in just a couple days, telling me all about the options, which seem to shake out like this: […]

  55. whymommy says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful experiences shared. I’ll pass them on to my working group asap.

    Monica, from Baby Beethoven is the winner of the books! Some of you may know Monica from Cootie Coutdown or Cootie Chronicles — she’s also a DC-area mom. Monica, send me your address and I’ll send the books right out to you.

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