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Breastfeeding in the Hospital??!!

I'm starting my first hospital position next month, and I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to breastfeed there. Currently I work at a doctor's office and I go home for an hour during lunch to pump and I'm able to hold out again until I go back home. But being at the hospital for over 12 hours, I'll have to pump twice! I don't want to pump in a bathroom, I think that's gross. Do they generally allow you to go to a room for 15-20 mins a couple times during the day without issues?

Are there any moms here who pump(ed) at a hospital? My son is 5 months old.. and I'm trying to do it until he's a year old or close to it. My goal is at LEAST 6 months.

A lot of hospitals have lactaction lounges for that express (haha!) purpose. I've known more than one nurse to successfully find times to pump during 12 or even 16 hour shifts!

sl1011 thanks for asking this question. i would like to know as well. can you share with me what you do for daycare? that is another concern of mine. thanks.

sl1011 thanks for asking this question. i would like to know as well. can you share with me what you do for daycare? that is another concern of mine. thanks.

do you want to know where i send my child and stuff, or about me sending breastmilk?


Specializes in PICU.

Aye most hospitals have a policy about breastfeeding employees, you typically just have to find someone to cover your patients for a smig while you do it, typically in a lactation room. You should get a half hour lunch and at least a 15 minute break. With all the women staff in hospitals i'm sure they'll be understanding, don't sweat it :)

tntrn, ASN, RN

Specializes in L & D; Postpartum.

You should be allowed a 10-15 minute break every four hours...the length might vary from state to state and any union contracts....but you need to plan on using your breaks for pumping.

Do you want to know where I send my child and stuff, or about me sending breastmilk?

I meant the child:). I'm still trying to figure what moms do for daycare with 12hr shifts. Center hours aren't long enough. Sorry for being vague with my question.

Check your state laws. http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14389

I printed a copy of the laws pertaining to my state and carried it with me for the first couple of months I was breastfeeding. I pumped during classes and clinicals- often sat in a closet with a chair against the door using a hand pump to crank it out as quickly as I could. I was a student and had no control over my day....but had understanding (to a point) instructors. I used an insulated lunch bag to hold all my "works" plus the pumped milk. I cleaned it out every night and did it again the next day. I actually found the hand pump easier and faster sometimes than my electric pump.


Specializes in labor & delivery.

Our hospital has a breast pumping room in the post partum unit. It is open to all employees.


Specializes in maternal child, public/community health.

there is a little known provision in the health care reform about breastfeeding:

what does the reasonable break time for nursing mothers law do?

  • section 4207 of the patient protection and affordable care act (also known as health care reform), amends the fair labor standards act (flsa), or federal wage and hour law. the new provision states that employers shall provide breastfeeding employees with "reasonable break time" and a private, non-bathroom place to express breast milk during the workday, up until the child's first birthday.
  • download the text of section 4207 only.

what types of employers are covered?

  • all employers covered by the flsa are included, but those with less than 50 workers do not have to comply if they show that complying with the law would cause "an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer's business."

if you goggle it, you will find more information.

it is certainly possible to maintain your milk supply while working three 12 hour shifts a week. breastfeed often when you are with your baby. it is much easier with an older baby who will soon be on some solids (if he isn't already). with all the health benefits of breastfeeding, it is worth the effort to pump at work. if you run into any problems, seek out a lactation consultant early on when it is easier to remedy whatever challenges you are facing.

I would check with the hospital's L&D or postpartum unit. NICU might also have a place for you, as they usually try to accommodate moms with babies on the unit who want to pump for their kiddos. I remember pumping in such a room when one of my kids had to stay a few extra days and that was many years ago.

I'm glad the law specifies a "non-bathroom" place for pumping.

Good luck with your quest. Thanks for doing this for your child.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

I work in a hospital that's pretty supportive of BFing/pumping moms. We have a pump room; however I am on mother/baby and we also have several pumps for patients who need to use them while visiting their baby, and employees are able to use those pumps as well. I switched jobs while my son was an infant and actually found the hospital admin/policy more supportive of pumping than the office setting I was in prior. Your mileage may vary, of course, but most hospitals in my area recognize the need to accomodate employees who are pumping for a baby.

My advice to you: 1) Stay hydrated, not always an easy task for a floor nurse. 2) Do your best to stay caught up so that when you need to pump, you can take that break. Obviously there will be times when that won't happen; hopefully if you make the effort you'll be able to pump on a semi-regular schedule. Good luck to you, and I know your little man thanks you. :)

i work night shift 12s and have a breastfeeding colleague. i think there might be a pumping room down in Mother/Baby but it's easier for her to pump in the multipurpose room cause she doesnt have to take the elevator down 4 floors, etc. it's a room on our unit for meetings, education, etc. she says, "i'm gonna pump" goes in, locks the door behind her and then 15 min later she's done. we are all good pals, no one minds keeping half an eyeball on her pts for a few min. she usually pumps three times a shift, once over her lunch break. she stores her milk in the freezer in the nutrition room until the end of the shift. mgmt is totally supportive.

seems to work out well for her.

tablefor9, RN

Specializes in ICU, Home Health, Camp, Travel, L&D.

As previous posters noted, your breaks are legally covered, postpartum probably has a room, and yes it's possible!

Back with baby #'s 1 and 2, I didn't know abt the cute room with the recliner and TV on postpartum...I pumped in the lounge. The two guys in our unit were great to give me my time without barging in, and who cares abt the girls?

It worked out fine! Though, I have known of nurses having to tape on tink collectors when things were slamming on the unit!

Keep your eye on the goal. You said you wanted to go for 12 months, so go for 12 months. Your supply may dip from the long shifts with no baby emptying the breast, so make sure that baby is "on tap" as much as possible when you are together. Especially the first few weeks your working. Make sure to pay attention to supply, if you think you notice a dip, maybe start on some fenugreek, start making batches of lactation cookies. If you have a handsfree pump, pump on your way into work, so you start empty. Oh, and maybe keep an abd pad close by in case you start squirting all over the place because you were late to pump. Yep, that happened to me. Those tiny breast pads were not nearly enough to hold it.

Do your best to not get so full your breasts turn to rock hard painful breasts, you will increase your chances of plugged ducts, which some people decide to throw the towel in with that.

Twelve months is do-able! Congrats on your new position and I hope you have an amazing supporting staff to work with! Thanks for working so hard to give your baby the best!

I meant the child:). I'm still trying to figure what moms do for daycare with 12hr shifts. Center hours aren't long enough. Sorry for being vague with my question.

Oh, I have a wonderful sitter who has a very small in home daycare. She has daycare rules and stuff, but she is kinda flexible with me. I just told her about my new job and asked if this would be a problem. My husband can pick up by 530, so it's not an issue with her. Right now he's there from 815-530 mon-fri, but when I start at the hospital it'll be 620-530 1-3 days a week. Your best bet is to find a private sitter.

I worked opposite shifts as my husband. I went back to work at 3 weeks post partum. Initially I pumped one breast right before I went to work, while nursing the baby on the other. Then I pumped about 3 hours into my shift. Then my husband brought the baby up during my lunch to nurse. Then I pumped one more time, about 3-4 hours later. Then nursed when I got home.

In the beginning, I had to have at least 3 pumping/nursing sessions, but by the time the baby was 5 months old, I could go with just 2 or so. By the time she was about a year old, I only had to nurse her during lunch, I didn't have to pump at all.

I suspect your coworkers will be very supportive. Many of us have been there, done that. Just make sure you go to extra lengths to help out, to make up for the extra coverage you require. And in the future, when you have a coworker who is a new mom, make sure you are supportive and offer to cover her for adequate nursing/pumping breaks.

I worked with one nurse who worked 12 hour shifts and pumped for well over a year. She would go down to a special room they had on the OB floor.

So glad for women and babies that there is a law for this now!!!

Just 25 years ago I pumped as quick as possible in the bathroom on my regular breaks. It's really hard not to touch anything, and spreading paper towels on a skinny ledge for your supplies, etc. Needless to say my second baby was weaned way quicker than my first. I wish I would've persevered more because breastmilk is so good for them and there's nothing like the bonding.


Thanks to whoever fought for that law!!!

about the childcare have you looked at your hospital? mine has 2 onsite day care facilities that are for employee's kids primarily. they open alittle earlier and stay open alittle later to accomodate the 12 hr shifts.


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