Mixing working and breastfeeding

  1. 0 I am looking for others who have worked/are working while continue to breastfeed their kids. I did manage to work part-time while breastfeeding my dd, but it had disasterous results (mastitis which lead to an abscess, OUCH!) How do you get time to pump? WHERE do you pump? How often? I am looking into going back part-time now, and ds is still very interested in breastfeeding. He normally nurses every 2 hours, and I have a very large milk supply. I will not consider weaning in order to work, not an option! (allergy to dairy and soy, I am in going to bf long term) What do your co-workers say about you leaving the floor to pump? Would you bring this up with your potential nurse manager at your interview? I would not expect EXTRA breaks or anything. I would just want to be GUARANTEED that I get to take my breaks. I can eat while I pump, so these breaks would not have to be in addition to a lunch break or anything. I would just need to be able to pump twice for 15 minutes during an 8.5 hour time frame. I don't mind going to my car to pump, if there is nowhere on the unit available, but that would require extra time, of course. What are your thoughts? How do I make this work? How do you get your co-workers to cover patients while you leave the floor and become unavailable for that time? I don't feel like this should be an issue, since so many other jobs you actually get your breaks... I am very nervous about this, as I am VERY prone to Mastitis, I have had it 5 times, 2 of those times I abscessed. I *really* do not want to go through that again, and I am afraid if i go an entire shift with not emptying out I will be going through it again. I am looking for others who have gone down this road sucessfully. I want to hear stories!!!
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  3. Visit  GooeyRN profile page

    About GooeyRN

    GooeyRN has '12' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Psych, Med/Surg, LTC'. From 'Boonieville'; 36 Years Old; Joined Nov '05; Posts: 1,735; Likes: 750.

    20 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  JB2007 profile page
    1
    I personally have not returned to work while breastfeeding. However, one of my co-workers is breastfeeding at this time and she pumps at work. She lets me or our unit supervisor know that she is going on break then she goes and pumps. She will go into the unit supervisors office if she is not using it, the conference room if not in use, or even a empty room.
    Most of the nurses where I work are good with this because we are all mothers. Our unit supervisor is really good about it, but then again she is the mother of six children herself. Of course, my co-worker uses this as her 15 min. break, or if it is a really bad day she will eat her lunch and use it as her lunch break. As far as I know she pumps everyday.
    I think this is a great thing that you are able to do for your child and it is doable to pump at work. You are entitled to your breaks. Believe me if you where a smoker you would make time for a break. I use to smoke so believe me I know this to be true. Just look at this as something you have to do and do not feel bad for taking you break. Good Luck!
    GooeyRN likes this.
  5. Visit  alexis79 profile page
    1
    You do not have to bring it up in an interview, but it would be nice to know if the manger is understanding or if the hospital is so short staffed that you do not get breaks.
    I just went to work and I have a 8 month old baby. Weaning was not an opion for me. I had to pump in the locker room for a few days. Then someone offered their office. I think you will find people understand. I did not make a big deal about it. I would take my breaks when offered and pump out fully. I invested in a good pump that really drains my supply, which I think helps avoid mastitis. I have a medela adavanced as I can pump and clean the parts and be back in 15 minutes. Good Luck.
    GooeyRN likes this.
  6. Visit  GooeyRN profile page
    0
    Quote from alexis79
    You do not have to bring it up in an interview, but it would be nice to know if the manger is understanding or if the hospital is so short staffed that you do not get breaks.
    I just went to work and I have a 8 month old baby. Weaning was not an opion for me. I had to pump in the locker room for a few days. Then someone offered their office. I think you will find people understand. I did not make a big deal about it. I would take my breaks when offered and pump out fully. I invested in a good pump that really drains my supply, which I think helps avoid mastitis. I have a medela adavanced as I can pump and clean the parts and be back in 15 minutes. Good Luck.
    I have Medela Lactina Select and it is awesome. It does drain me. That is great you get to pump in an office. I really do not care where I pump, as long as it isn't in the bathroom! What if no one offers you a break after 4 or so hours? Do you speak up then?
  7. Visit  short1978 profile page
    1
    Well I am a new grad, havent started working yet...but did pump through nursing school...and will be doing the same once I start working since I just had another baby in Oct.

    I used the locker room to pump. I was careful to sit in the corner and cover up good just in case someone came in. Most smiled and said sorry to barge in....I am comfortable pumping even if someone else is there, as long as I am covered, so it was never an issue for me.

    At school I would use the lab that was not used during that time frame.

    I also have the Medela Pump In Style and I love it....had the Advanced before but just upgraded to the newest unit. I like this one bc, unlike the older model and the backpack that is new, the pump itself can come out and is really small and compact.

    I also like the sterilizing bags made by Medela bc you dont have to bring the bottle brush or dishsoap. Just rinse the parts out and put them in the bag w/ the required amt of water....put in microwave and they are clean.
    GooeyRN likes this.
  8. Visit  Jolie profile page
    2
    Is there any chance that you would work in an OB setting?

    It has been my experience that OB units have been somewhat more "breastfeeding friendly" toward their staff than other hospital departments.

    Maybe it's because most have equipment and designated rooms close at hand. Maybe because the staff is sensitive to the needs of new mommies admitted for IV antibiotics due to severe mastitis. Whatever the reason, it may be worth your while to look foran OB job.
    Elvish and GooeyRN like this.
  9. Visit  inland18mempire profile page
    1
    I would NOT bring this up during the interview for two reasons: it's too much information, and the manager may view this as a negative attribute about you. Honestly, I can see why. When I'm at work I'm usually too busy to take a break and have to work through them. I think it depends which unit you work on/how busy it is. If you're working in the ICU, for example, you don't get to take scheduled breaks since the patients usually require immediate attention. If you are one of those that "demands" to take a break, another negative. Is this right? No, but it's the reality of things. Also, just wanted to add that breastfeeding may make your coworkers uncomfortable. For that reason, it would have to be done in a very private, one-person-only type room.
    GooeyRN likes this.
  10. Visit  dawngloves profile page
    1
    I would pump wherever it was clean. I have pumped in empty pt rooms, behind curtains on the unit, in tub rooms and in my NM office.Depended on where I was and what kind of day I was having.
    I would double pump and would hook the flanges through rubber bands attached to my nursing bra. That way I could eat, too.
    Finding the time is an art. You have to look at the day and figure out where your window is. I would feed my kids before I left, so I would have 4 hours. I would get into work, get report and try and see when was best. Sometimes I would have to pump after two hours because someone would need something when I should pump. Sometimes It'd be six and I'd be leaking and aching!
    No one ever had a problem covering me for 10 minutes. Especially when I was just on the other side of a curtain.
    GooeyRN likes this.
  11. Visit  SheriLynnRN profile page
    2
    Quote from inland18mempire
    i would not bring this up during the interview for two reasons: it's too much information, and the manager may view this as a negative attribute about you. honestly, i can see why. when i'm at work i'm usually too busy to take a break and have to work through them. i think it depends which unit you work on/how busy it is. if you're working in the icu, for example, you don't get to take scheduled breaks since the patients usually require immediate attention. if you are one of those that "demands" to take a break, another negative. is this right? no, but it's the reality of things. also, just wanted to add that breastfeeding may make your coworkers uncomfortable. for that reason, it would have to be done in a very private, one-person-only type room.
    it's only the "reality of things" because we allow it to be that way. it is unacceptable to ask someone to work for 12 hours without taking a break. if we don't demand that we be allowed our breaks, we are accepting abusive working conditions. occasionally, a break must be skipped due to unforeseen circumstances, but not routinely.
    as far as making coworkers uncomfortable by pumping breastmilk, my inclination is to say "too d*mn bad!"....but if someone were to inform me that i was making them uncomfortable, i would ask my manager to help me find a more suitable place to pump. i have every right to feed my child!
    GooeyRN and hatingthewaiting like this.
  12. Visit  GooeyRN profile page
    0
    I can't work OB... I can't do a full-time orientation for several months, I never worked OB. It is a psych unit for chronic patients with chronic medical issues that I will be working on. I have experience in psych and med/surg so I won't need an intensive orientation. It does get busy there (like everywhere!) but it is not like life and death kind of busy like in the ER, ICU, med/surg, etc... I know a lot about the unit. Basically, it is a sure thing about being hired. I don't want to go into details, but I just have to hand in the application and get the ball rolling.

    I can pump discretely. I have used the rubber band trick, and the sports bra method (holes cut in it, wear breast pads so nipples don't poke through, and slide the horns through) so I can pump hand free to eat/chart. I have never exposed myself at my prior job. I leave the pump itself in the bag, nothing but the tubing is exposed. No skin shows. Therefore, I have no problem with ANYONE walking in on me, since there is not even a second when anything is exposed. Some have walked in on me at my prior job, and several didn't notice. Only one person noticed, and that was only b/c there was a pause in the conversation and she heard the familiar sound of the pump running. If not for the sound of the pump, I don't think anyone would really have any idea IF I was sitting behind a table, etc. I plan on taking two set ups, so I don't have to waste any time at all washing parts after wards. It can all be washed when I get home.

    Basically, I have all of the mechanical issues worked out to be hand free and discrete. *I* do not require 100% privacy since I won't be exposed at all. I prefer males not be seated next to me, eh, it really wouldn't bother me all that much. From what was told from my inside source ( that just sounds so funny) the only place I would realistically pump would be the med room. I am fine with that. However, it is an obvious thing that others may have to get in there in that 15 minute time frame. *I* am fine with that. There is no break room, so that is out. Like I said, I have no issue with going out to my car if necessary, I have an adapter to plug into the cig. lighter.

    My biggest issue is getting two breaks, lasting 15 minutes each, during my shift. I haven't ever been one to demand breaks, since I don't mind eating while I chart, actually prefer not to take breaks b/c they make me lose my train of thought, they make me fall behind, etc. But this is a medical requirement for me and my ds. He can not have dairy or soy products. I can not go longer than 4 hours without emptying before I get a plugged duct. Abscesses are not fun at all. I have been through it twice, and I would really rather not go there again.
  13. Visit  NurseyBaby'05 profile page
    1
    What shifts will you be working? I know 3-11 is one of the more hectic times on the floor where I work. Try to avoid the crazy shifts. Two fifteen minute breaks isn't unreasonable at all. I wouldn't bring this up during the interview. It would (to me anyway) seem like you are asking for something as a favor that you are entitled to anyway.

    Now, being realistic, there may be some crazy stretches where this may not happen. It seems to come in streaks of a few shifts in a row where I work anyway. To keep things flowing in case of a bad shift, nurse ds just before you walk out the door and as soon as you get home. Also, try to nurse him an extra time after your shift too. That way, if it is the rare occasion that you may only get one break, it won't bite you in the boo . . . . .er . . . . . butt. If you find that missing breaks is a regular thing, then I would look for a job elsewhere. The manager is certainly not going to tip her hand if this is the case on her floor, so it's one of those things where you'll have to wait and see.
    GooeyRN likes this.
  14. Visit  NurseyBaby'05 profile page
    1
    I also agree with other posters. The smokers always seem to get their smoke breaks, so I wouldn't sweat it. If someone gives you a problem, I would point that out. Just don't forget to return the favor. Everyone needs a few minutes to clear their heads, not just breastfeeders and smokers.
    GooeyRN likes this.
  15. Visit  Elvish profile page
    1
    I went back to work FT when my ds was 3 mo old. It was hard, I won't lie. I worked in a community health center and used an empty patient room to pump when I got a free moment. My immediate coworkers were awesome about covering for me; I just told them where I was going and they were cool. My supervisors weren't so happy about it but didn't bug me because they knew they couldn't legally.

    When ds was 10mo old, I switched to OB and I have to agree w/ Jolie....it was far more BFing friendly. People there are honestly more willing to let you have pump breaks than meal breaks!

    I would just be matter of fact about your needs, and you might want to have a note from your son's pediatrician about his special needs on hand *just in case.* If this NM is someone you already know I can't foresee it being a big deal.

    Every dollar you spend on a Medela pump is money well spent. I had (still have) a Pump In Style.
    GooeyRN likes this.


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