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.