Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Adventures in Pumping
Life is going pretty great for Team Kicks. Baby is almost 4 months old and is a complete joy. He has a sweet easygoing temperament and *usually* sleeps through the night. We are so spoiled and it is so easy to leave work behind and come home and cook dinner while we sing to each other - me from the oven and counter and Baby from his bouncy seat on the kitchen floor - then playing and rolling (!) until bedtime. Love.
However I grossly underestimated how not-fun it would be to be a resident and pumping. The number one thing I underestimated was how hard it is to keep and transport clean parts. There are CDC guidelines for this stuff - wash every time, let air dry, yada yada yada. Not happening. In the fridge the parts go. I have one friend who has an extra set of parts at work for each pumping session. Love the idea but my pump (Spectra) is huge. I was traveling with two bags for awhile (pump bag + work bag, not to mention a coffee thermos in one hand and a water bottle in the other) but I was clearly such a hot mess trying to keep all my things afloat my mom finally bought me a little wheelie suitcase that at least fits all my pump parts. So I wheel around the clinic and the hospital and started leaving my laptop at home which at least makes me appear a bit more together.
I told myself early on that breastfeeding was NOT going to be something I was going to lose my mind over. I was not going to schedule a middle-of-the night pump - if Baby is sleeping, I am sleeping. If I had to give up breastfeeding for any reason, fine. I was a formula fed kid and I turned out a-ok. As I tell my moms in clinic, the best thing for baby is to be a fed baby with a minimally stressed mom. However, as I found myself pumping in my car on the way to work in a skinny little nursing sheath in subzero winter temperatures and a car that was slow to warm up, I questioned whether I was actually sticking to this sanity thing.
I would like to dedicate this post to my 3 pump-spirations - I have three wonderful co-pumping co-residents in my life. One has a similar go-with-the-flow (hehe pump puns) attitude towards breastfeeding as myself and was the first to recommend car pumping. One has a baby almost 6 months older and was answering my very basic pump questions via text months and months earlier. And one is so dedicated she has a middle of the night pump scheduled to keep her supply up and she is still a bomb resident every single day. My residency is so pump/breastfeeding friendly I've never seen a new mom resident without a breast pump along. So we can do this. Plus anything after 6 months I consider a bonus.
I still have so much more to share about pumping. Awkward conversations with older male specialists. An episode with a preceptor where I was about to run to my pump an hour later than planned when my preceptor started sharing this emotional story and all I could think about was...time to pump....time to pump.... So sanity = questionable. I do address pumping a lot more with my postpartum moms in clinic now - especially with my non-English speaking patients who I discovered I had been prescribing double electric breast pumps for but never addressing how/when/why to use it.
If I had any tips for pumping residents/students/physicians so far I would say 1) hands free pumping bra 2) pumping in the car is a game changer and 3) seriously go buy a wheelie suitcase with all the pockets if you don't have a nice pump bag. Anyone else have any tips? Still have a few months to go. Would also love to hear some ridiculous making-the-pump-work-at-work stories if you've got 'em.
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My only tip is to stop comparing yourself to others. You do what works for you.ReplyDelete
I wrote a blog post about the whole car pumping thing - and I’m still not convinced it would work for me! People were passionate about it though and shared many suggestions - http://www.theshubox.com/2018/01/pumping-thoughts-questions-including.html?m=1ReplyDelete
I shouldn't highlight car pumping so much - it can be a pain sometimes. For me, I was really stressed with my new morning routine and having too many "last" things to do before leaving the house (the last thing I should do before leaving the house is let the dog out because it will be a long day for him. The last thing I should do is put baby in his carseat so I don't get him mad before leaving. The last thing I should do is put work clothes on so they don't get spit up/dog hair on them. etc. etc.) and a difficult time making it to my first pump break of the day (usually at 10:30) with considering the day care drop off and my commute - so the car thing makes morning less stressful for me. Plus my commute is about 30 minutes so I pump a little longer than I normally get to at work. But I think the majority of people probably don't actually do it. There is a certain amount of ridiculousness that goes along with it (see post above) and I agree with OMDG - you do you and own it! :).Delete
I do see how it could take away from first pump stress. I guess I can try it out!!! We will see :). It’s my 3rd baby and yet I still don’t feel like I ever figured this out in a way to make it not horrifically stressful!!ReplyDelete
I was hoping you’d tell me it all gets magically figured out by kid 2 😝Delete
Lol pump-spirations! I had one 14 and 12 years ago. I couldn't have made it without her. And wow pumping in the car? I can't imagine. I don't think anyone should question the sanity of someone thinking time to pump during a story - it's like time to pee when you're at 10 out of 10 you've got to do it or something embarrassing will happen!! Or worse, you will get an incredibly painful blocked duct from waiting until you are over full and if you haven't gotten one yet google how to clear a blocked duct. I've tried them all from steaming hot showers to massaging clogged area in tabletop position lol (the latter really works! Gravity at it's best). Best of luck glad you've got lots of girlfriends to share stories with. I can't wait to hear more you are bringing back stressful and painful memories that are more fun to experience in hindsight.ReplyDelete
I used to pump before I went to bed- It was far enough after the bedtime feeding session and early enough before the middle of the night wakening and I felt it kept my supply up and also gave me an extra freezer stash. Neither of mine slept through the night until 9 months of age...ReplyDelete
What about advocating for your residency to provide a hospital grade pump in clinic and in the call rooms? That way all you need is your own tubing? Or if you are okay with it - borrow a back up pump from a friend who is not using it. I know you’re technically not supposed to borrow pumps but I borrowed my sisters with baby #1. Sending hugs! You can do this. I too always pumped on the way to work in the morning as a resident - game changer! Hands free pump woohoo!ReplyDelete
I love this idea! The admin staff has asked us if we have any ideas for improvement and I’m going to bring up the hospital grade pump idea! We have one where we do OB and the system works slick.Delete
When I went back to school at 4 months pp I was starting MS3 on Transplant surgery. I ended up pumping in the resident work room with a hand pump during and after morning rounds. It actually worked great and nobody mentioned anything. I stopped pumping one day into my ob rotation 6 months later. As a student, I started to miss a lot and I want to go into ob. I hated pumping and it was the thought of missing a delivery that finally pushed me to stop. I also always said I wouldn’t push pumping or BF if it wasn’t working out. However I do like bf so I nurse when I’m home but he doesn’t get a lot of calories from me (he’s 11.5 months now)ReplyDelete
It's so nice to hear about other medical students and residents who are pumping! I am a 4th year student and I have a 9 month old baby -- I've been pumping through all my different rotations. The biggest challenge is working with a new team in a new location every couple of weeks -- I constantly have to tell different people that I'm pumping, and figure out where and when to pump as my schedule changes for each rotationReplyDelete
I hear you - it gets old explaining it to new people as often as every half day and every location is completely different with schedule and accommodations. I’m actually going to write my next post about that specific challenge because it’s been so ridiculous!Delete