Showing posts with label pumping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pumping. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

MiM Mail: Getting the milk home

Hi MiM,

Avid follower of five years (you got me through training...almost! Last year of fellowship. Thank you!).

Very concrete question:
I have to leave my nursing nine month old for two days and two nights for a conference (he is currently seven months old and I am anxious about this process). I will have to bring my pump, but I need some suggestions about getting the milk home. Carry on airplane with ice (does this entail a bigger ordeal since I won't have an infant with me)? Mail with dry ice? What has worked for fellow MiMs? I really appreciate your advice. I'm worried about the separation and channelling my anxiety into figuring out this milk transportation situation!

Dedicated MiM follower

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pump hero

I needed to meet with a team to grade their students and had set up a time to meet them in their team room. This is one of the best team rooms we have in the hospital. It's spacious, with a wall of computer stations on either side, and windows lining the opposite wall from the door, filling the room with natural light. When I'm bringing the third-year students around to their team rooms after orientation, I always deliver this team's students last since it's kind of like closing the curtain between first class and coach.

I walked into the room and saw a medicine intern with her back to me, working at her computer. At the other wall, the senior resident was reading some papers before him. They greeted me as I sat down with my folders and took out my forms for grading.

"I hope you don't mind, but I'll be pumping while we do this." In the sudden quiet, I heard the telltale rhythmic sounds that I knew so well. She was pumping. Right there. In the team room. I didn't notice earlier, but she apparently had a hands-free set-up going, and was typing away, doing her notes. I glanced back at the senior resident, nonplussed. This was routine business.

I was filled Admiration. So impressed.

"I think it is so awesome that you pump in the team room!" (Could I have?)

"I've lost all modesty after 9 months," she said with a smile.

We graded. She finished pumping, cleaned up, stored the milk, and I could not stop smiling.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Sucking Machine

I recently gave up nursing. That part was hard. Giving up pumping was easy.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that nobody likes breast pumping. When you're nursing, there's that wonderful bonding... but when you pump, it's just you and The Sucking Machine. It requires a tremendous amount of dedication for any woman, but I really think that it's harder for a physician-mama than most. And even harder if you're a resident-mama.

The problem with being a pumping resident is that there's no natural break scheduled into the day where you can retire into the coat room with your pump. On clinic rotations, I usually ended up working right through lunch, so no free time there. On ward rotations, there was usually some downtime, but I always lived in fear of hell breaking loose mid-pump. And ladies, is there anything more embarrassing than answering a page with your pump going in the background?

Some women I know in non-medical professions told me that I "have a right to be given time to pump!!!" (Note the use of multiple exclamation points.) Unfortunately, it doesn't really work that way in the hospital, especially if you're the lone resident on the ward.

Nurse: "Mr. Smith is having 10 out of 10 crushing chest pain and shortness of breath!"

Me: "Sorry, I'm on a pumping break. Try me again in 20 minutes."

Since I had no office, most of my pumping for the first three months was done in a "family room" on the inpatient ward, which was usually unoccupied. Unfortunately, the room had a bed and several patients' families were convinced I was going in there to nap. I wish.

After that, I moved to a different hospital and I had two choices for pumping: Empty Patient's Room or Glorious Pumping Lounge. Glorious Pumping Lounge had everything but a running waterfall in the background, but it was a five mile trek in hiking books from my ward, so I usually opted for Empty Patient's Room. And routinely got walked in on by the janitorial staff.

I managed to pump until Melly was seven months old, exceeding my goal of 6 months, and I nursed quite a bit longer. I think I did good. Next time I'm going to go for the whole year.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Today was one of those insanely busy days, the kind that I had never come close to encountering prior to having my first child. On top of my regular clinical duties, I had additional responsibilities that had been "saved" for me since I couldn't do them while (inconveniently) out on maternity leave. The end result was that I ran around like a headless chicken trying to round with my housestaff, see consults, see clinic patients, fit in two pumping sessions, and deal with some seriously crazy patient scenarios, straight out of Grey's Anatomy.

Today, multi-tasking was the only way I could survive. I seriously had almost no time to sit still, I barely ate lunch (two hours after I initially heated it in the microwave), and always, always took the stairs.

My most peaceful moments were, coincidentally, while pumping. At least then I had no choice but sit in my office and internet surf or read my email (probably against OSHA regulations to walk around the corridors while pumping).

Of course, during my second pumping session, I actually paged the resident I was working with on consults to discuss our patients, you know, seriously multi-tasking. I made no excuses for the background whirring noise. "I'm pumping," I announced unceremoniously at the beginning. There was no time to be modest.

(I knew she was a mother; I certainly wouldn't have said this if she were a man.)

She chuckled. "I've so been there."

Which is why I love working with housestaff who are mothers themselves. There's an unspoken understanding.

They get it.