Company helped parents at Tokyo Games ship breast milk

This story was published in partnership with The 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.

This summer, medals weren’t the only closely tracked commodity at the Tokyo Olympics.

Kate Torgersen calls it “liquid gold.” And for several weeks, it was her job to help oversee the logistics of getting breast milk from the Summer Games to different parts of the United States. She plans to help a handful of breastfeeding parents now in Tokyo during the Paralympics Games, which began Tuesday. 

Torgersen is the founder and CEO of Milk Stork, a California-based company that ships breast milk. She didn’t plan for Milk Stork to play such a critical role in lactation services for breastfeeding parents at the Olympics. It started in late May, when Torgersen saw news headlines about a marathon runner who was told she couldn’t bring her nursing infant daughter to the Tokyo Olympics because of the pandemic.

Milk Stork is offering to help parents ship breast milk home to the U.S. from the Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Milk Stork soon sent a tweeted response: “OH HELLLLL NO! Breastfeeding @TeamUSA & @USOlympic athletes & coaches (& athletes/coaches from other countries too!), pls contact us if you need to get your #breastmilk from Japan.” It asked followers to spread the word.

The tweet kicked off a frenzy of activity for Torgersen, who launched Milk Stork in 2015 after facing logistical challenges bringing breast milk for her twins home from a work trip. The company estimates it has shipped 4 million ounces of breast milk to date.

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