When Molly Waitz of Cutchogue runs her first New York City Marathon on Sunday, she’ll be pumping breast milk for her 8-month-old son while racing.
Waitz, 27, an insurance agent and new first-time mom, was asked if she wanted to train for the marathon when her son, Bode, was just a month old. She agreed to take on the challenge as part of a five-member team running to raise money for the nonprofit First Candle, which is dedicated to ending Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other sleep-related infant deaths and providing bereavement support to families. “I was one-month postpartum and so sleep deprived. I don’t know what I was thinking,” jokes Waitz. But she started a training regimen on the North Fork, frequently pushing Bode in a stroller while she ran.
She soon realized that she faced a problem: The 26.2-mile marathon would likely take her six hours to complete, not to mention the time it would take to arrive at her starting position and get back to the hotel afterward. She breastfeeds Bode, which means her body produces milk on a regular schedule. “I can’t go the whole marathon without pumping,” she says. She says she was worried she would have to take breaks and express milk on the side of the road and just toss it.
Waitz spoke to the chief executive of First Candle, who spoke to contacts she had at the San-Francisco based Willow, who sent Waitz a Willow Pump gratis and advised her on how she could approach the dilemma, Waitz says. Waitz has been training wearing the pump, which she says enables her to complete each six- to 10-minute session without having to slow down. “I don’t have to stop physically moving my body to do all this. I should come home with about 20 ounces of milk that I can still feed my son.” Waitz has a fanny pack with backpack straps that she wears, and it has an ice pack inside. She is able to stop for a few seconds just to remove a filled bag and store it in the fanny pack. She says she expects to pump two to three times during the marathon.
Waitz says she’s incredulous about what women can do while breastfeeding. “I can run a marathon and still do it,” she says. “You don’t have to stop your whole life to feed your kid.”
The First Candle team is still accepting donations at crowdrise.com.