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Updated: May 31, 2024

Pumpspotting, a Kittery startup, gears up for nationwide bus tour

Amy VanHaren of pumpspotting in front of a school bus Photo / Courtesy of pumpspotting Pumpspotting founder and CEO Amy VanHaren in front of the former school bus that's being converted into a mobile nursing, pumping, feeding and parenting space. The multi-city tour kicks off in Portland in July.

Five years after its last "Breast Express" bus tour, Kittery-based startup pumpspotting is gearing up for its third road show this summer. This year's edition will make stops in more than a dozen cities nationwide as a mobile nursing, pumping, feeding and parenting space.

Affectionately known as the new Barb, this year’s vehicle is a 2010 Blue Bird Front Engine school bus that’s being refurbished by Rebecca and Will Turek, the Buxton-based founders of a company called Cornerstone Conversions.

Amy VanHaren, pumpspotting’s founder and CEO who leads a team of six employees, said the three-month buildout should be completed in about six weeks, just in time for the tour kickoff at Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland on July 18. 

“The goal of the ‘Feel Better, Feed Better Tour’ is to improve maternal health outcomes and build baby-feeding confidence by fostering community one city, one parent, one feed at a time,” VanHaren told Mainebiz.

To achieve that goal, the vehicle will be equipped with a lounge for nursing and pumping, along with a kitchen, snack pantry and tea bar, self-care station and accessory closet — and a space for parents to meet with lactation consultants and doulas.

Parents will also have the opportunity to try pumps and other products provided by sponsors of the tour, which will travel to more than a dozen cities across the country from July to October, pulling up at venues from children’s museums to farmers' markets and other places where moms and families gather.

“It’s really about a strong community partnership in each city that will bring the tour to life,” said VanHaren, who won’t be on the bus herself but keeping tabs on the journey from her home in Kittery. She was honored on the Mainebiz Next list in 2021.

pumpspotting bus tour promo
Image / Courtesy of pumpspotting
The pumpspotting "Breast Express" will make stops in more than a dozen cites nationwide from July through October.

Allagash kickoff

Allagash Brewing, the first stop on the tour, is a longtime supporter of pumpspotting that offers the app as a benefit to its employees.

"We've put a lot of time and thought into our longstanding program to support new lactating parents working at Allagash,” said Celine Frueh, human resources director at the brewer, Maine’s largest.

"We're also excited to be sharing that ethos and experience with our customers who visit the brewery,” she added. “To that end, we're a proud partner of pumpspotting, and are excited to play a part in their cross-country tour. It's a great way to spread awareness on the importance of supporting new parents in breastfeeding and pumping accessibility in the workplace."

VanHaren said that while her company is all set with sponsors for the tour, the team is happy to speak to any workplaces or community organizations who may be interested in a visit.

More information

Find out more about the upcoming tour here.

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