RespectTheChemistry19

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I am to an age where another friend has a baby just about every month and so these things occur to me sometimes! Good friend of mine had a little girl on Friday.

I was an exclusive pumper with my first baby because she was a preemie. This was seven years ago and I don't remember how long my pumping sessions lasted, but it seemed like I was never not pumping. And this was with a fancy-pants hospital pump that I imagine was more efficient than the commercially available ones.

How on Earth are female residents able to breastfeed!?!

Do they just arrange to have a computer in a closed-in closet so they can pump while charting? Seems like that's what attendings do but I imagine that would be much more difficult for a resident to arrange for both for practical reasons and because you don't want to seem like a princess.
 
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ciestar

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This is what one of the obgyn residents does where i rotated. She pumps in an on call room. She mentioned she nurses maybe twice a day if she is working that day.
 
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sb247

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I know one that has a poncho shirt thing and pumps in the group workroom so they can keep working with the team. But she’s not shy and that program is laid back
 

Crayola227

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A medical career is often contraindicated to breeding.

It's difficult but some people do it. Some specialties, and in particular programs, are more sensitive to this than others. Peds and ob/gyn moreso. IM, notsomuch with the sympathy but there's a lot of time in front of a computer charting that you could "sneak off" to do it. I imagine rads maybe.

How long did you breastfeed for?

I think a big issue is how long do you expect to be able to breastfeed this way. Some women do great, and others find their supply drying up from the stress and the pumping. Some women just find good old fashioned nursing tough just for the stress issue.

How much privacy do you need? I think the issue with privacy is actually more for the mom being able to pump than the comfort of colleagues. I mean, if it were me and I was a rads resident, as long as I could get away with it and everyone in the room didn't seem too wigged out, I'd do it at my computer in the workroom. I mean, they keep the lights down. What with the rules about how women can breastfeed in public, I can't imagine anyone getting too worked up over you fiddling with your boob and then putting it under a baby blanket.

I know I've heard of some women just going for it in this fashion.

Can you pump hands-free or one-handed? Can you multitask, read, transcribe, have a conversation, or read an xray while doing it? If I could, then I would just pump anywhere I could get away with having the machine. Although, I forget the noise it makes. Some workrooms it might not even matter.

Some residencies don't have workrooms at all, and some places you'd have to fight every other preggo women in the hospital for the "pumping station", which sometimes is basically just a chair behind an exam curtain but otherwise open to the whole wide world. Nothing like trying to do something relaxing while you hear every IV alarm and code grey and code blue in the place.

I'm all about doing whatever it is you have to do to get a job done. At the same time, having babies during medical training sounds like particular sort of hell. Not trying to be discouraging, sorry.

Good luck to all!
 
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I had 2 kids before medical school, one in last year of med school and one in residency. During residency, it was difficult to find time to pump. Every day, I would come home with a few small bottles full of milk, and the baby usually drank about 8 while I was gone.

Fortunately, I stored up a LOT of milk in his first 2-3 months of life. He was small so did not drink as much as I could make, and since I was home with him, I could store up a lot of milk in the freezer at first. I pumped every 2 hours and literally filled the freezer. Then when I went back to work, I did not have to worry about finding time to pump every 2-4 hours at work, which I found just did not work well for the patients' schedules.

And, of course, there is also formula. I know breast is best. But some of my friends went to formula by the time they went back to work, bc they knew it was going to make them crazy if they did not.
 

mvenus929

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Several residents in my program pumped and breastfed for an extended period of time. They usually pumped for 30 minutes before rounds, right after rounds, and then once again in the afternoon before they went home for the day. We had a specific call room set up for the pumping mothers... it was just more logistically difficult when there were 2-3 mothers trying to pump at the same time. Several went 6+ months with pumping.

If it's something you want to do, you can make it happen. You just have to be good at multitasking.
 

The Knife & Gun Club

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My gen Surg resident has these neat little things that were breast shaped and fit in her bra over her breast. She would slip them in while putting in orders - it was super discrete, I didn’t even realize it was happening until maybe 2 weeks in.

Residents are busy but also resourceful as hell!
 

PTPoeny

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Just saw this today: Breastfeeding as a Physician-Mom: Where There Is a Will, There Is a Way

Pumping in residency is hard. I did it once in residency and twice in fellowship. Residency is harder because you have to figure out a different routine on each rotation. Right now the official rules are vague and your state may have better protective for pumping than your hospital/program. However, as of 2020 all residencies will have to have a plan for a space where residents can pump that is near to patient care and provide fridge storage per acgme rules. There are also options for pumping discreetly whole providing patient care. I am an ICU fellow and when I can't leave the bedside I have pumped while resuscitating a patient it accompanying a patient to CT. None of them are silent but I also have friends who have even pumped while seeing outpatients. It is easier in certain specialties, as a peds unit we have a bunch of pumps for moms and I just grab a hospital pump when there is one free and I have time to go to my call room which does make pumping faster. We also have lactation consultants around seeing moms who are happy to answer questions for staff as well. There are also more women in some specialties and it is easier when other people have figured out tricks to make it faster and easier to fit in your particular specialty. When I was pumping for my older son when I first started I was the first attending or fellow pumping in the ICU in over a decade. This time I recently had a 24 hour shift where the attending with me and both the day and night resident were also pumping.

There are also support groups just for female physicians to help with some of the unique questions that come up.
 

siliso

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You can pump if you want to. Easier than somebody working the floor at McD’s, unless you need to be in very long surgeries. You can also Not pump and your baby will be okay either way.
 
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Hi! I am not a resident! But a pumping momma. They have new wearable breast pumps (Willow, Elvie). People in healthcare wear during charting, some RNs wear them during rounds. It really depends what your doing. I own Willow pump and wear it during my classes currently sometimes/commuting/whenever! It has actually changed my life, I would have quit breastfeeding by now for sure.
 

SLC

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We had multiple residents who did it while I was a resident. They just got some sort of poncho like sb247 mentioned and went for it. But we were a laid-back place and the culture was sorta the same. After a while, nobody notices or cares (nor should they really).
 

MedicalDestiny

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I am to an age where another friend has a baby just about every month and so these things occur to me sometimes! Good friend of mine had a little girl on Friday.

I was an exclusive pumper with my first baby because she was a preemie. This was seven years ago and I don't remember how long my pumping sessions lasted, but it seemed like I was never not pumping. And this was with a fancy-pants hospital pump that I imagine was more efficient than the commercially available ones.

How on Earth are female residents able to breastfeed!?!

Do they just arrange to have a computer in a closed-in closet so they can pump while charting? Seems like that's what attendings do but I imagine that would be much more difficult for a resident to arrange for both for practical reasons and because you don't want to seem like a princess.
You have to advocate for your self. Find a female attending that went through motherhood and pumping and she can advocate for you too. Don’t give up on pumping you have to be creative but can do it! I had to pump while doing ER admissions under a poncho— I saw the pts and then sat to do orders and notes so then I could pump and type. Getting quick breaks in is key and see if you can get a portable laptop to do notes on if you need to.
Ideally no stress and no work when pumping but as a resident it can be challenging (but possible!) dont give up and advocate for yourself it’s your legal right
 

giantswing

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I pumped as a ortho resident on trauma service using a freemie liberty. Wore it under my scrubs. Saw patients w it on and would empty it just before scrubbing in. No one said anything but most our guys were dads and super laid back. Highly rec using a portable pump but also not giving a flying f.
 

siliso

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I feel like women and mothers in medicine may be too perfectionistic and hard on themselves to their detriment and maybe even their kids’. Kids who get formula and go to daycare are okay and know their parents love them (as long as they actually do). Breastfeeding and pumping and humane maternity leave should be available to everyone who wants them as matter of justice - but if it doesn’t work for you don’t sweat it. Having a healthy, educated, happy mother and financially stable family is a way more important benefit to your kids than getting exclusively breastmilk, in a developed country with safe water and formula. I say this with the creds of a certified LLL leader who breastfed 3 kids past age 2 each. It’s Not.That.Big a deal.