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Exclusive pumping/hospital RNs that pump

Nurses   (3,885 Views 17 Comments)
by CharmantUn CharmantUn (Member) Member

CharmantUn has 1 years experience and specializes in CVICU.

2,724 Profile Views; 59 Posts

I'm a new grad, but took a year and a half off for pregnancy/raising a baby. I'm starting a new job in a step down unit and have been exclusively pumping for the past 8 months (baby is 9.5 months old). My supply magically tanked when I got the job, I went from 24 oz to 10 oz...if I'm lucky.

I'm now at the point where I'm OK if I only do 2 pumps a day and I don't resent formula like I once did. But I still feel incredibly sad that I might not make it to my one year goal. I don't feel comfortable asking for time to pump at a new job at a busy unit with high acuity patients (vents, central lines, etc). My commute is far enough that pumping in the car to and from work seems reasonable.

Anyone have any experiences with pumping or weaning with a hospital job? Most RNs I know have no idea that the ACA now requires employers (with 50+ employees) to provide a pumping room and adequate time to pump. The nurse managers I interviewed with know I have a baby (and great daycare) but I didn't dare bring up pumping during the interview.

Thanks!

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Racer15 has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ED.

707 Posts; 9,741 Profile Views

I don't have any kids but two of my coworkers have breast fed babies and they generally pump every four hours or so. It can be difficult at times when we're busy and everyone is running their tails off but we try to make it work.

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496 Posts; 8,126 Profile Views

My facility does offer a pumping room. Unfortunately it's on the other side of the hospital. Most of my coworkers who pump won't waste time to go that far. Most of them just take over an empty office in our unit to pump.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

1 Follower; 228 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 318,005 Profile Views

Day shift is fast and furious at my workplace; hence, most of our breastfeeding moms work night shift. There's generally more downtime on night shift, which allows our pumpers to get away and pump every four hours uninterrupted.

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

1 Follower; 4,212 Posts; 29,581 Profile Views

I'll echo what another poster said. There is a pumping room, but it is 4 stories up and a long walk away.

Between assessments, meds, docs on rounds and everything else, making the time is difficult. I only worked part time, and there was always time before work, after work and maybe sometime in between. Plugged ducts became a problem.

For our coworkers, we have always managed to get them time off to pump.

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NurseOnAMotorcycle has 10 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN.

1 Article; 1,065 Posts; 23,988 Profile Views

I was lucky to be home when I was breastfeeding, but my coworker has just come back from time off. We just cover her pts and let her go whenever she says "I have to go pump." I haven't heard any complaining or anything about it. Most of us have had kids and breastfed them so we are a little more understanding, I suppose.

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SubSippi has 2 years experience.

907 Posts; 12,681 Profile Views

Nursing is filled with child-bearing aged women. Your coworkers and manager have likely dealt with this before, several times. Just tell them you're pumping and ask how women normally handle it there.

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

1 Follower; 4,947 Posts; 42,626 Profile Views

Congratulations on the baby and the new job!

I've pumped for five babies--one in nursing school/working as a CNA, the rest as an RN (one working a neuro floor, one working LTACH, and two working SICU). My youngest was born during a baby boom on my unit, so for a while we'd have as many as 3 BF'ing moms on a shift. I wasn't always able to pump as much milk as my babies ate, but I continued to lactate. I nursed two babies for >2 years; one for 12 months and then SHE quit; one I weaned at 15 months; and I'm still BF'ing my 18 month old.

I would start by asking your manager where breastfeeding moms go to pump. If she gives you any pushback, then you can advise her that they're required to give you a place; although that might not be necessary. Well before the ACA, many states had laws on the books protecting BF moms' right to pump time and a non-bathroom pump space. You never know, there might be an office space or something on your floor that you could use if the official pump room is a good ways away.

Great that you don't resent formula anymore. :up: Your sanity will thank you. The good news is, as long as you keep pumping you shouldn't dry up. I typically pumped once during an 8-hour shift or twice during a 12-hour shift; I took the one pump break in conjunction w/ my lunch break. I'd heat up my food and take it to the pump room and eat while pumping. And then I'd pump or nurse right before and right after work.

Break, some might say? What's a break? It's those 30 minutes in the middle of your shift which the hospital doesn't pay you for. Protect it. Take it. It's yours. Plus, smokers somehow manage to leave the floor for 15 minutes at least once a shift. (which they are entitled to do, as the official policy wherever I've worked is that we get 2 15-minute paid rest breaks.) If they can take theirs w/o guilt, you can CERTAINLY take at least one for doing something healthy! :yes: Think of it this way, too: breastfeeding is an immune booster. You will call off less if your baby gets sick less. So in that way, you are benefiting your unit.

When asking your colleagues to cover for you, you don't need to be apologetic because you're not doing anything wrong. You simply say "I need to go pump for my baby. Can you keep an ear open for my call lights?" and give a quick report. Then be willing to reciprocate if they need to take a breather. If you get pushback from them, you do need to discuss it w/ your manager though, because you are legally entitled to pump.

On your days off, you could also pump during the baby's nap time and/or after he/she is in bed for the night. That way you'll build some surplus that can either be fed the next day or frozen for later.

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions or concerns! This is something I'm very passionate about. :)

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ilikesharpthings has 6 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg ICU.

60 Posts; 3,019 Profile Views

I work 12 hr days on a med/tele floor and usually took 3 pumping breaks (the middle one was in conjunction with lunch and I had a hands free set up so I could eat while I pumped). Most of my coworkers were happy to cover for me. A few things that helped me:

1) I had 3 sets of parts for my pump, and I would just put the dirty sets in a ziploc bag and use a clean part for my next session. Not having to wash parts at the hospital decreased the time I needed to be off the floor, and then I'd just wash and sanitize everything really well at home after work each day.

2) hands-free is a must! Then you can snack, use cell phone, whatever you need to do to distract yourself from obsessing over each drop of milk! It's so important to be relaxed and comfortable and not to be worrying about volume!

3) I would always tell my "buddy" (the nurse covering my breaks and vise versa) to take their time on their breaks and to make sure to encourage them to take 3 breaks as well! It helped them not to resent the time I was off the floor.

Hope this helps! Congrats on being a working mom! It's hard but so worth it!

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vintagemother specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

2,699 Posts; 44,530 Profile Views

I second the hands free pump that can pump both breasts at one time.

I never pumped as a nurse. I was working full time pumping (about 15 yrs ago) I'd pump on my breaks and lunch in my car. It was brutal!!

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fawnmarie has 15 years experience and specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

282 Posts; 10,529 Profile Views

With a good double electric pump, you can pump a 4 to 5 ounce bottle in less than 10 minutes. I pumped at work when I was a new breastfeeding mom, and having a great pump is a must! I found pumping to be relaxing, and a good excuse to take a little bit of "me time" during a busy shift.

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Gooselady has 23 years experience as a BSN, RN.

601 Posts; 7,278 Profile Views

I worked with three gals with new babies that used the hands-free breast pumps at work. They'd take off their top, put on a patient johnny, get their lunch ready, apply the pumps and off they'd go! Lots of staff lunches were accompanied by the rhythmic whir of breast pumps, we had two pumping at once for a while :D.

It wasn't OK to take EXTRA time aside from breaks or lunch to pump (when I was in charge I looked the other way) but the gals I worked with managed to pump at least once during an 8 hour shift without decrease in their milk supply.

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