fallen625

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Oct 8, 2012
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I am currently breastfeeding my baby and will need breaks every 5 hours or so to pump milk when and if I go to graduate school interviews in February. Will this be an issue during interviews? Or when staying overnight with graduate students? Ideally I would like to not advertise the fact that I have a baby.

I really apologize if this is a bit of an awkward question! My baby will be 9 months when I go to interviews, and I am really debating whether I want to pump during interviews or wean.
 

researchgirl

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At least at my program, this would not be problematic -- but I'm having a hard time imaginging how you would manage to pump without others knowing that you have a baby.
 

CheetahGirl

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Do not wean! I pumped during interviews (...6 years ago). Bring your pump and perhaps share your situation with an admin person or current doctoral student (right? You'll apply to doctoral programs, not internship?). Usually the first person you encounter is not your interviewer, so you can disclose that you're in a predicament and need a clean, private place for some personal business and leave it at that...remember, you will be submersed in personnel, doctoral students or clinicians in psychology (we know what's up when someone wants to be vague and most of us can figure it out). Now, if you have the money, rent a car or if you're interviewing and have a car - Take it! Get an A/C adapter and pump away in the privacy (and cleanliness) of your own vehicle (of course, leave the car running or you may have a dead car battery on your hands). That is exactly what I did (sans the dead battery) on several of those all-day, tour-this-and-tour-that interviews...meanwhile my body was shouting "Get me to your car quickly or you're going to have to explain why you look like you just spilled something all over your blouse!" Ha Ha! (For you Moms - and Dads - out there, you'll know exactly what I'm referring to...Do take extra n-pads, just in case.) Everything worked out nicely...and no one ever knew what I had been doing. ;)

Good luck w/ all but don't wean (IMO) just for interviews. I was able to exclusively BF each of my babies for one-year (even during grad school) so it all works out and has lifelong benefits for your health & Baby's (...if it's right for you). And I can totally commiserate with wanting to focus on your merits as an applicant (versus those of a new parent) during interviews. If it does come up, make sure that you are well-versed in that fact that you have a lot of support at home for your baby (and work towards getting that in place).

Good luck with all! :luck:

(BTW: Uncanny, how we all find each other on the web to share such perculiar experiences...never thought I'd revisit those same worries again.:smuggrin:)
 
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PsychPhDStudent

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I think it'd be reasonable to ask someone (grad student you're staying with, the director of clinical training, area admin) about needing occasional breaks or info. about breaks. Every interview I went on had sufficient time for a bathroom break and quick phone calls. Admittedly, I know nothing about pumping, but even if you didn't ask, you'd at least have *time*. As a current grad student, if I knew an applicant needed to pump or inject insulin or anything else, I'd be more than happy to find them a nice quiet, private space in the building.

I think the right program would be supportive of you having a baby, particularly if you have ideas about how you're going to juggle everything. :)
 
Nov 12, 2013
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Psychology Student
I am currently breastfeeding my baby and will need breaks every 5 hours or so to pump milk when and if I go to graduate school interviews in February. Will this be an issue during interviews? Or when staying overnight with graduate students? Ideally I would like to not advertise the fact that I have a baby.

I really apologize if this is a bit of an awkward question! My baby will be 9 months when I go to interviews, and I am really debating whether I want to pump during interviews or wean.
I tried really hard to hide my pregnancy during interviews...only to discover recently one of my LoRs spoke in glowing terms about how much more impressive my work was in light of my having a young and growing family. :)
Which is to say, yes, you can do this. Do not wean unless you and your baby are ready. I know my grad program was really supportive of my pumping twice a day as a first year (which meant leaving classes early). I get not wanting to advertise, and you can manage it, with some help from support staff or students (which gives you a great insight into the culture of the place, anyway, imo).
 

LM02

Senior Member
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Nov 8, 2004
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Do not wean! I pumped during interviews (...6 years ago). Bring your pump and perhaps share your situation with an admin person or current doctoral student (right? You're apply to doctoral programs, not internship?). Usually the first person you encounter is not your interviewer, so you can disclose that you're in a predicament and need a clean, private place for some personal business and leave it at that...remember, you will be submersed in personnel, doctoral students or clinicians in psychology (we know what's up when someone wants to be vague and most of us can figure it out). Now, if you have the money, rent a car or if you're interviewing and have a car - Take it! Get an A/C adapter and pump away in the privacy (and cleanliness) of your own vehicle (of course, leave the car running or you may have a dead car battery on your hands). That is exactly what I did (sans the dead battery) on several of those all-day, tour-this-and-tour-that interviews...meanwhile my body was shouting "Get me to your car quickly or you're going to have to explain why you look like you just spilled something all over your blouse!" Ha Ha! (For you Moms - and Dads - out there, you'll know exactly what I'm referring to...Do take extra n-pads, just in case.) Everything worked out nicely...and no one ever knew what I had been doing. ;)

Good luck w/ all but don't wean (IMO) just for interviews. I was able to exclusively BF each of my babies for one-year (even during grad school) so it all works out and has lifelong benefits for your health & Baby's (...if it's right for you). And I can totally commiserate with wanting to focus on your merits as an applicant (versus those of a new parent) during interviews. If it does come up, make sure that you are well-versed in that fact that you have a lot of support at home for your baby (and work towards getting that in place).

Good luck with all! :luck:

(BTW: Uncanny, how we all find each other on the web to share such peculiar experiences...never thought I'd revisit those same worries again.:smuggrin:)
My vote is for honesty - the car scenario above sounds tricky, and you run the risk of confusing people by mysteriously disappearing to the car (or wherever) a few different times in the middle of your interview day. There is usually a program coordinator/administrative person who you will be interacting with to arrange your visit - he or she would be a great person to talk to about your needs, and to help you work out a plan of action for the day. If you bring it up before you arrive, that person might even be able to arrange your interview schedule to build in breaks to allow you the time to pump without feeling rushed or frantic between meetings.

Similarly, I think it would be very difficult to "hide" this from a student host, if you choose to stay with one. Again, I would be honest, and just explain that you need to pump and would be happy to do in the bathroom (or wherever).

If you don't already have one, you may want to invest in a cheapy battery powered single breast pump so you don't have to lug the big guns around. After 2 kids, I wanted to burn that vinyl black bag - I don't miss the pumping days at all! Good luck. :)
 
Nov 25, 2013
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I am also a breast feeding mom (17 months strong!) and applying/interviewing for internship now!, and I agree with Cheetah- bring your pump and make it work! I have pumped in airport bathrooms, others' offices, etc., while traveling for conferences and other academic activities, but I will not compromise my parenting values (breast feeding, for example) for a degree of any sort. I also think that if you cannot find a way to make it work, talk with someone who can be of assistance (e.g., an administrative assistant) in helping you to find time and places to pump. As an advanced student that does applicant interviews, I would have no issue with an applicant pumping. I would hope that the applicant would address the issue of having a family and balancing work, but we are not allowed to ask those questions on interviews. I would be taken aback if an applicant attempted to hide having a family- it's one thing if it doesn't come up (I will not volunteer information about my baby on internship interviews, but I will not go to great lengths to hide the fact that I have a child, either). Also consider whether you really want to go to a program that looks poorly upon having a family and/or breast feeding. The field is changing and more of us are having kids while attending our programs!
 
Jan 25, 2011
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Psychology Student
I am currently breastfeeding my baby and will need breaks every 5 hours or so to pump milk when and if I go to graduate school interviews in February. Will this be an issue during interviews? Or when staying overnight with graduate students? Ideally I would like to not advertise the fact that I have a baby.

I really apologize if this is a bit of an awkward question! My baby will be 9 months when I go to interviews, and I am really debating whether I want to pump during interviews or wean.
I pumped while I was traveling for interviews. I would also not hide the fact that you have a baby: personal fit with the department is very important, especially when you have a child. That's a crucial part of who you are.
 
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fallen625

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Oct 8, 2012
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Thank you everyone! I am applying to very competitive programs so I can't help but worry that having an infant will make people have second thoughts about me (ei - that I might not be able to dedicate as much time to research as someone without a baby). I am not planning to lie if it comes up in conversation, but I can't help but wonder that if I advertise the fact by asking about pumping / etc someone may hold it against me.
 

CheetahGirl

Clinical Psychologist
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Feb 15, 2007
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Thank you everyone! I am applying to very competitive programs so I can't help but worry that having an infant will make people have second thoughts about me (ei - that I might not be able to dedicate as much time to research as someone without a baby). I am not planning to lie if it comes up in conversation, but I can't help but wonder that if I advertise the fact by asking about pumping / etc someone may hold it against me.
I do agree with others about being genuine and honest, but I also did not advertise (which is why I suggest share your need to pump with intermediates, but not necessarily the DOT that may interview you). However, the one program that I mentioned my kids during the interview is the one I will graduate from. :) So, at some point, you will have to go with the flow and present yourself as someone who is organized and highly competent regardless of the fact that you have a Bambino waiting for you at home. If it comes up, you will find yourself talking about the support system you have in place to help raise your family because as any parent knows...it does take a village.
 
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Nov 18, 2013
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Psychology Student
Thank you everyone! I am applying to very competitive programs so I can't help but worry that having an infant will make people have second thoughts about me (ei - that I might not be able to dedicate as much time to research as someone without a baby). I am not planning to lie if it comes up in conversation, but I can't help but wonder that if I advertise the fact by asking about pumping / etc someone may hold it against me.
My program is pretty competitive, and several years ago one of our applicants had recently had a baby and was pumping. She told the admin who was scheduling the interviews, and her pumping breaks were blocked into her schedule, and she was given a private office to use for that purpose. It was definitely not looked down upon (this student was given an offer, and did choose to attend my program).
 
Nov 12, 2013
116
210
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Psychology Student
I do agree with others about being genuine and honest, but I also did not advertise (which is why I suggest share your need to pump with intermediates, but not necessarily the DOT that may interview you). However, the one program that I mentioned my kids during the interview is the one I will graduate from. :) So, at some point, you will have to go with the flow and present yourself as someone who is organized and highly competent regardless of the fact that you have a Bambino waiting for you at home. If it comes up, you will find yourself talking about the support system you have in place to help raise your family because as any parent knows...it does take a village.
I have heard *many* times through my program that those with families tend to be *more* organized - because we need to be. :) Not sure if it's always true (or always true about me) but it's a nice thought.
 

postitnote

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Feb 20, 2010
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Also consider whether you really want to go to a program that looks poorly upon having a family and/or breast feeding.
Very much this!! I know it's tough to put yourself out there and worry that this might be the "ding" a program counts against you but you truly do not want to be somewhere that has such a fundamentally disparate view of something that is important to you! Good luck and also good for you for making this work for you, your family, and your career aspirations. :)