As far as multitasking mothers go, Anna Young from Utah is pretty hard to beat – she ran a half-marathon on September 9 and pumped breast milk while at it, continuing on to finish the race.
Young had given birth to her first child, a baby girl, just five months prior to the REVEL Big Cottonwood half-marathon. She already knew she was going to have to take a break from the race to pump milk, because her daughter had no way of meeting her on the course to breastfeed. Young told ABC News that runners had to be really early on the day, and they were shuttled up to the Wasatch Mountains in Utah where the downhill course would begin.
The new mother carried a hand-held pump in her backpack and estimated that she would have to pump at Mile 6, but realized as she was running that she was going faster than she thought she might have. Young waited until Mile 8 to pump, deciding to keep walking. She explained,
In the moment, I just decided to keep going with the race since it had been a really good atmosphere, and I just wanted to keep going.
She said she saw a photographer around but was surprised that he was able to take a photo of her. Young thought it was “kind of a neat photo” and decided to post it to a Facebook group called Occupy Breastfeeding. She says the support group and La Leche League International – a nonprofit that encourages breastfeeding – helped motivate her to “find a way to run my race and take care of my daughter.”
The photo has since gone viral.
Young said having the moment captured was extremely special as she had initially struggled with breastfeeding due to her daughter’s tongue and lip tie issues, which can impact a baby’s ability to latch on. She admitted that the process was hard, and that she found difficulty bonding with her little girl and was frustrated that something so natural would not happen easily.
She said La Leche League and Occupy Breastfeeding both helped here with her problems, and that she has no trouble breastfeeding now.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Breastfeeding Report Card states that breastfeeding rates among American mothers continue to rise, with up to 79.2% saying they had tried breastfeeding their children.