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I had a 3 week old baby at my visit. It went great and I got the job. They even postponed the visit for me since I couldn’t fly out when they originally asked (bc I was too pregnant). I just asked the admin who organised the logistics if I could have pumping breaks and to ask the hotel for a crib. Nothing was an issue and they provided me a private room to pump in and prep for the talk during the day. After the interview they checked whether I was still up for dinner or needed to get back. All in all, it was great.


Not in academia anymore, but I was nursing when I was interviewing. My baby was only maybe a month old or less, and I didn't really want to fly with her (as we didn't want her to get sick or anything). I received advice to request a zoom interview (which I'm sure would have been accommodated), but I ultimately decided to fly, pumping extra before I left and continuing to pump during the visit.

It worked out okay, but I think I should've asked for a zoom interview. I underestimated how much walking around would be involved at the interview, the possibility of engorgement and leaking, and the lack of job market mindset since I was learning about taking care of a newborn infant and not really sleeping.

Everyone is different though, and I've read some really amazing experiences with flying out and nursing a baby. Good luck to you on the baby and the job market!


I had an older nursing baby (6 months-ish) when interviewing, and I left her at home with my partner and pumped while on fly-outs. Infant care is exhausting and you really need to be on your game during fly outs (which are themselves exhausting!), so if you can pump and leave your baby at home I highly recommend it. Good luck!

Nursing Parent

I am quite impressed by both of the Anonymous replies who either took a very young baby with them or managed to travel and pump without them. My direct experience was with an older nursing baby, and I made a trip with my partner and 4 month old, requested time and space to pump during the day (and indicated the frequency I needed to do this and how long a break I needed) and was able to nurse the baby before and after the start of the day. It entailed some out of pocket costs for me (partner's travel) but was fine. I have never managed to travel away from a nursing baby within the first year due to my own comfort and nursing habits, but so much of that depends on how much one nurses, how soon a baby night weans, how well pumping goes (or doesn't). But I have had colleagues who were great pumpers and had babies that easily took bottles and who I think found it easier to just work in the pumping during interviews and leave their family at home.

The hardest part, I found, was that there was no way to do any of it without disclosing my personal/family circumstances. As the reader reply said in the OP, motherhood is normal. But I couldn't help but worry that it would complicated my job prospects or would turn too much attention to my personal life relative to my professional identity once people have this information about you and maybe just want to use it as small talk. That said, I have since interviewed for other jobs further into parenthood and been happy to talk about my family, our interest in moving to a place, asking about quality of life with kids in that place, etc., so the concern I had earlier on as a newer parent has receded some (but I also feel more professional secure, so that may make the difference).

mom x2

I had an older nursing baby (~10 months old) for my flyout. Because he was only nursing a couple of times of day at that point, it wasn't too difficult to pump when I was away for the on-campus portion of the flyout; I think I only ended up pumping once on campus. The faculty was very supportive and accommodating about it, but the situation itself was a little awkward: the faculty didn't know of any lactation rooms on campus so the search chair ended up commandeering an empty lecture hall for me to pump in while standing sentry outside. It was a little weird and did give the impression that the institution hadn't invested in things like lactation rooms. But overall it wasn't a big deal (and I got the job).

A few thoughts:

-My husband had flexibility on when he could take paternity leave, and he had saved some for January/February partially for the ability to come along on flyouts. Obviously this isn't the case for everyone, but if you have a partner with some flexibility around leave, remote work, etc., this made the flyout experience much easier for me. You may have to pay for their travel, as mentioned above, but depending on the length of your flyout (and travel to/from) this could be a big help.

-I now have two kids, and for the second kid I got the Elvie pump (I had the Spectra for my first kid and while on my flyout). It is a TOTAL game-changer in terms of being able to pump on the go--you can fit it in your bra and essentially pump wherever and whenever. I've done it walking through the airport, in an Uber, walking down the street, etc. It's way easier to transport and if I had it during a flyout it would've really reduced the stress--the Spectra is pretty large and even if there are lactation rooms on your campus it can be a whole trip to get there, pump, and get back. It's not super cheap--I paid around $325 for it out of pocket. But when I was on the market, my graduate department had a fund for job market expenses, broadly construed, such as getting a new outfit for an interview. I would suspect that I could have easily argued for using such a fund to buy a breast pump.

-Last product recommendation: Ceres Chill breastmilk thermos. I did a lot of traveling and pumping without my baby last year due to my job situation, and this was amazing for it. It would be great for a flyout, and again, see if your grad department or institution might have funds to cover such a thing.


thanks all. It's good to read these experiences and hear how supportive people are, but it is just an incredibly awkward thing to discuss with a search committee. Thanks also for the very specific tips, it helps.

TT mama

I was in the same boat four years ago, down to reaching out here. I ended up taking my baby on two flyouts in her first three weeks. It was nuts but I am so glad I did it. I was not a first-time mother, so I knew what I was getting myself into, and I REALLY did not want to be separated from her that young. I considered it anyway but I just hated the thought of capitulating to fear about how I would be perceived. Obviously if you would rather NOT have the baby with you, that is a different story. As others have noted, lactation experiences vary widely from family to family and over time.

See below for the thread that Marcus kindly started for me at the time. There I offer to speak privately, but I am now on a search committee so I think I need to rescind that offer. However I can still provide some anonymous advice / commiseration.

Yes, it feels SO awkward to discuss this with a search committee. There is just no way around it. You have to talk to potential future employers (often older male ones) about the state of your breasts. I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to do this as neutrally as possible and settled on some phrase like "time and space for lactation."

My current employer routed me through HR and handled it as a formal pregnancy-related accommodation. I think this was governed by a state law rather than a federal one so YMMV. I would not have thought to ask for this process, and I could see there being pros and cons if they do not offer. But it was a huge relief to talk to a third party who was not evaluating me as a finalist. If you do go this route, my understanding is that HR has to let you ask for accommodations rather than offering them directly. At the suggestion of the search committee chair, I even asked for airfare for the family member who came along with me on the visit. They said yes!

Another school was more ad hoc. I paid for a second plane ticket and the chair added breaks to my schedule and ran it by me beforehand. When I arrived I discovered that I would be doing a lot of walking around campus and that the department administrative assistant had stepped in and reserved rooms near my major appointments for me to use. It was clear that this key piece of the puzzle would not have happened without her. I was very hesitant to "be difficult" and did not ask enough questions beforehand. Were I advising my past self, I would suggest following up with the administrative assistant after I had the schedule from the SC chair. Everything still went fine and I got an offer.

One random bit of advice that might be helpful if taking the baby is to bring along some small bottles of ready-made liquid formula even if you do not expect to need them. This saved the day for us at one point when the schedule did not quite go according to plan. The baby was sufficiently young and hungry that she could not have cared less about the change in food source, and it made zero difference to our subsequent nursing relationship.


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