For Breast feeding mothers... how do you fit in pump breaks?

  1. I am returning to work 10 weeks after baby number 2. I am "allowed" only 3 breaks a shift (2-15min 1-30min lunch). I am only allowed to pump on my breaks...

    How have others fit in pumping routines into their work shift, especially in the beginning when the need for pumping was much higher and more frequent?

    Any tips?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   NeosynephRN
    Well I went back at 6 weeks...I pumped twice a shift(12 hours) and I was cool with that...my supply did not drop and I only pump for 5-7 minutes. Now I can pump once at 3 am ( I work 7-7) and I do fine..my unit is very accomidating and they let us use a spare office right on the floor so I am right there if I am needed!! Good Luck!
  4. by   SillyStudent
    In the two hospitals I have recently worked in, everyone is extremely respectful of 'pumping breaks'. The nursing mom simply mentions to a co-worker or two that she has to run and pump, and they cover for her. They generally pumped about 3 times a 12-hour shift, as I remember. I know of at least one mom that pumped more often, and nobody had a problem with it. If you believe it will be a problem, I'd talk to your manager and see what can be worked out.

    I do have a funny story though.

    One of the Residents I used to work with was a nursing mom, and she was in the pumping lounge when a code went off. She showed up with breast milk splashed down her scrub top, calmly put on an isolation gown to cover it up (and because it was a body fluid...lol), and started giving orders. Later she said that she was expressing milk so well, that when the code went off, she couldn't get the milk to stop flowing and she actually showed up with a couple of washcloths in her bra. The nursing pads were not doing it. I wish I had that kind of supply when I was nursing!

    We all had a good laugh and teased her for 'stuffing' later :
  5. by   RXtech
    It might help them be more accommodating if you remind them that moms who continue to breastfeed after returning to work have less absenteeism due to sick children. (Babies are less likely to get sick when they are getting breastmilk.)
  6. by   MisterSimba
    Quote from RXtech
    It might help them be more accommodating if you remind them that moms who continue to breastfeed after returning to work have less absenteeism due to sick children. (Babies are less likely to get sick when they are getting breastmilk.)
    Seriously! I worked in an infant room at a daycare for about a year, and the babies who were breast fed were hardly (if ever) sick, while many of the babies who were on formula got sick all the time.
  7. by   queenjean
    You are typically working with a bunch of women, in theory they should be more understanding, having been there.

    My dh brought the baby up once a shift to nurse, and then I pumped 2-3 times. I just tried to get myself very organized.

    The last thing I did before leaving for work was sit down and nurse the baby on one side and pump on the other. I'd pump both sides if she didn't nurse well before I left. Sometimes I would pump right before I went home; I literally wouldn't be able to make it home before I felt like I was going to explode, even though I had pumped regularly during the day.

    In the beginning you have to take so many breaks, but that gets less and less. By the time she was maybe 7-8 months old, I only had to nurse her once during the shift and didn't have to take a pump break at all--but I still had to wear nursing pads until I completely weaned her, because if something made me think of her, or if you had that odd demented pt that sounded like a baby, I'd just start gushing.

    ETA: Also, don't forget to pay it back later. I went back to work when my youngest was 3 weeks old, and nursed her until she was two. I was able to maintain that relationship so long in part because my coworkers helped me when I needed breaks. So now I ALWAYS volunteer to cover the nursing moms' pts when one of our nurses has had a baby. We're a pretty tight knit group anyway, and I feel like a nurse could ask anyone on our floor; but I make an effort to say something like "I've been there before and know how it is--when you have to pump, you have to pump, no matter how busy the shift if. Never feel bad asking for a pumping break. I'd be happy to cover for you whenever we work together. I appreciated it when everyone covered for me; now it's my turn."
    Last edit by queenjean on Jul 7, '08
  8. by   labcat01
    I'm starting an ICU internship in a few weeks and I think I'm just going to have to wean but it is BREAKING my heart. The schedule is crazy and I'm not sure how supportive the coworkers are going to be

    Anyway, I just wanted to wish you luck. I know a lot of people have been successful with nursing and nursing. I know you can do it too!
  9. by   MIcrunchyRN
    Quote from labcat01
    I'm starting an ICU internship in a few weeks and I think I'm just going to have to wean but it is BREAKING my heart. The schedule is crazy and I'm not sure how supportive the coworkers are going to be

    Anyway, I just wanted to wish you luck. I know a lot of people have been successful with nursing and nursing. I know you can do it too!
    IMO it is NOT an option to wean because of my job. My kiddos come first kwim? I made that mistake with my daughter when I went thru nursing school and couldn't pump enough. It broke my heart I couldn't nurse her longer.

    There are laws about BFing mothers and the work place... make sure you look them up for your state (can find them on the la leche league website). As they cannot tell you, you cannot pump on your normal breaks.

    Thank you all for your tips! I will post more when i go back to see hwo it goes. I will be finishing my orientation (LOL bedrest in middle of orientation) so I'm sure while orienting it won't be an issue anyways
  10. by   mpccrn
    when my children were babies i worked in an ICU shock trauma unit. it was the ONLY time i ever took a break or lunch out of the unit.....and the world still went round and round despite me stepping out for a few minutes. funny what happens when your motivation is someone other than yourself......lol :wink2:
  11. by   rnkalee
    I have a 5 month old and have been back at work and pumping since she was 6 weeks old. A few tips...get your pumping supplies ready ahead of time, assemble to bottles, put on the tubing, etc. Take a picture or two of your baby as well as a piece of her/his clothing that smells like her for letdown purposes. This helps make the process faster so you can decrease the time you're away. Ask around your unit to see if other people have pumped in the past and look to them for support. I've found it's best just to say to your co-workers, "hey, I have to go pump right now, would you mind covering for me?" I haven't had anyone say no yet.

    When I first went back, I pumped three times in a 12 hour shift but that quickly got to be unrealistic so I am now at twice a shift and it works for me. I feed the baby on both sides right before I leave for work, pump around 11 and again at 4 and then feed her as soon as I get home. Fortunately, I work in Labor/Delivery/Post-Partum so it's really the perfect place to be a breastfeeding working mommy. I either pump in one of the physician call rooms or, if I'm on the post-partum unit, I pump in one of the two breastfeeding rooms for the intensive care moms.

    Like someone else said earlier, make sure that you pay it forward and help out other mommies in the future. Also, for now, make sure that you go above and beyond to help your co-workers out when they need it, so they are more likely to want to help you out when you need a pump break.

    Good luck and congrats!

    karen
  12. by   AMarie85
    The good thing about being a nurse is that we all know the benefits of breastfeeding babies...I think it's great because our coworkers are probably the most supportive of breast pump breaks...I couldn't imaging working in an office or something and having the same kind of understanding of how important it is to pump breast milk both for the baby and for your supply.
  13. by   ElvishDNP
    When I first went back to work (ds was 12wks at the time) my immediate coworkers (fellow staff RNs) were so very supportive and covered for me any time I needed to pump. My supe and the medical director (working in community health center) sometimes got annoyed because they felt I was taking too long (morning break, lunch, and afternoon break, but ok...). They never said anything to me because I think they knew they didn't really have a leg to stand on. I busted my backside the rest of the time. Brought home to me the importance of those immediately surrounding me.

    Fast forward a few months & I'm working in a hospital (still there). Verrrry supportive staff, mgmt, everybody. One thing you might do is get in touch w/ your hospital's lactation consultant (probably found on NICU or OB floor) to see if she can pull some strings or give you some advice about what other bfing moms are doing. They are not only there to help patients. One of the LCs at the hospital hooked me up with equipment for the hospital-grade pump to use in the pumping room so I didn't have to lug my own stuff back & forth every day. See if there's something the LC at your hospital can offer you.

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