Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BlogHer '10 - community of awesome

The number one reason that I went to BlogHer was not to grow my blog, or monetize it, or learn what" I should do next". The number one reason that I went was that blogging has made me feel like I'm part of something. A secret sisterhood? A cool club? I don't know what exactly to call it, but bloggers, and moms within social media, they support each other and I think it's awesome!

Twitter has only increased that feeling, exponentially, for me. The bloggers and moms I was becoming friends with through blogs now honestly feel like IRL friends (and some have become so). Twitter makes me feel like I always have someone to go to in times of need.

And while I was at BlogHer, I had a bit of a time of need. After 3 days away from my unweaned twins, and many attempts at pumping with the borrowed breast pump I brought with me (I don't generally pump so I don't have an operational pump that I know and count on) I was uncomfortable, to say the least.

I was getting engorged, and I was feeling a blocked duct on the way. And I wasn't sure what else to do other than what I was doing. BlogHer is super supportive of moms and even had a Lansinoh sponsored lactation lounge, but it wasn't constantly manned and the time I stopped in it was empty.

So, I did was social media types (who are apparently comfortable with putting it ALL out there into the web-o-sphere) do and I tweeted:

Anyone with pumping help/advice available to help me out today at #BlogHer10 #bf? #ireallymissmyunweanedtwinsless than a minute ago via Echofon

I expected and hoped someone might respond. Within minutes I got more than I ever anticipated! And the only person who really was on my list when this started was @PhDinparenting - the rest came about because of ReTweeting.

@glidinglara What kind of help do you need? Have you been to Lanisoh lactation lounge? #blogher10less than a minute ago via TweetChat

@glidinglara what kind of help? try to find @thienkim she is bfing mom, there is also a lactation lounge somewhereless than a minute ago via TwitterRide

@glidinglara what kind of help do you need? I'm a seasoned pumper.less than a minute ago via Echofon

@Blacktating @glidinglara I'm not at the hilton right now but go to the mother's room. @GinaAtLansinoh is there to help. I'll be back soonless than a minute ago via TweetCaster

@glidinglara I have a Hygeia pump with me - do you have your own horns? I'll let you use mine and show you how. Let me know.less than a minute ago via Echofon

And there were more! Within minutes a swarm of help was within reach. I was tweeting back and forth with people, and I knew that if I went back to the lactation lounge right away I would find someone to help me.

And I did! @ginaatlansinoh was there from @lansinohusa, along with a couple of other women (I unfortunately didn't catch their names) and they gave me some excellent advice. I walked in thinking this was a total shot in the dark... what else could they tell me other than keep on pumping?

Well, they knew I'd probably been rushing (which was true) and I was "sternly" told I needed to spend no less than 45 minutes sitting and relaxing to get anywhere.

Other helpful suggestions like a hot shower, photos of my kids, and just letting my mind relax were all great too. And the kicker, they gave me a brand new pump to use (and keep) because I had a one sided pump and they knew that a double pump would increase my chances at being successful.

Within an hour I was on my way up to my hotel room with a new breast pump and a plan. After 45 minutes (I did it... it was boring... but I did it :) I had pumped more milk than I had in every other pumping session put together since I'd arrived in New York City.

The pump worked marvelously. It was a Lansinoh Affinity. I admit to having somehow become a Medala snob over time, but this pump was smaller than any double pump I'd encountered with Medela and worked really well! I recommend checking it out if you're in the market for a pump.

And not only did I walk away from the experience more comfortable because the problem had been solved, I was on a high from the amazing things that social media does. Within minutes of me asking for help I was on my way to having a solution, and I felt SO supported.

And THAT is what I wanted from BlogHer. And I totally got it.