Breastfeeding doesn't stop for anything — not even a triathlon. So when Katrina Bolduc, who is still nursing her 19-month-old son, signed up for an Ironman (a 140-mile triathlon) she knew she'd need a way to pump during the race. Thanks to supportive race staff, she managed to make it happen.
"Here's me nursing my 19-month-old son at Ironman village this weekend," Bolduc wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. "This was my first full Ironman — 140.6 miles! I was nervous about nursing/pumping and worried about how my pump would get to and from the two transitions without me getting disqualified from taking something from my husband."
According to Ironman rules, those participating in the race (which is a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run, btw) cannot take anything from people in the crowds. That includes water, snacks, and breast pumps.
Since those participating in an Ironman get 17 hours to complete the race and still qualify with an official time (Bolduc did it in less than 15), she knew that she would need to get that pump somehow.
Luckily, the race includes mini breaks between events and private tents for participants to change their clothes for the next race. Race staff agreed to bring Bolduc her pump so that the mom could still complete her Ironman. She pumped in private tents between swimming, biking, and running. However, the time she spent pumping did get added to her overall race time.
"It was an incredible experience," she told Scary Mommy. "I was hoping to finish in under 15 hours which was my goal and I did!! The pros finish in 9.5-10.5 hours. They are crazy fast! I did as well as I could have hoped for with a little one. It was a huge accomplishment just to get there."
She wanted to share her experience so that other moms "know that it is totally possible to train and compete in a full ironman while breastfeeding," Bolduc tells Refinery29. "I want other moms to feel comfortable in their own skin and keep breastfeeding their babies as long as they want to. I want to help pave the way for other moms and help propel this breastfeeding movement so they do not have to deal with negativity and nasty comments. I want breastfeeding, motherhood, and fitness to be celebrated and most importantly I want everyone to do whatever is best for them and their family with support from everyone."
Bolduc, who is a doula on top of being a breastfeeding Ironman champion, has a little mantra that she tells her clients: "You do uterus." Clearly, it's working for her.
World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7 this year, and the entire month of August is devoted to breastfeeding awareness. For more coverage on nursing, pumping, or choosing not to do either, head over to our Mothership page.
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