Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oh, the places I've pumped!

I have this week off from school, and my daughter will be turning 1 shortly, so I'm taking the opportunity to wean myself off the pump and get her transitioned to cow's milk during the day.  I've been breastfeeding and pumping for close to a year, but I'm now finally almost done.  (For this baby, and with the pumping, anyway...I'm planning to continue nursing in the evening for as long as my supply holds up).

Given the momentousness of this occasion (I get my lunch breaks back!  I can wear dresses that don't pull down in the front!  Regular bras!), I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect a bit on how pumping at work has gone.

Over the last 3 months I've rotated through neurology, psychiatry, and outpatient medicine at Stanford hospital.  For most of the time, I've ended up using my trusty Medela manual pump.  Its size, ease of cleaning, quietness, and speed has endeared me to it over my electric pump and even over the hospital-grade pumps available in the maternity ward of the hospital.

I've pumped:
-in the maternity ward lactation room (it has 3 chairs for the entire hospital campus, so there's often a line, but it has some perks, namely the conversations through the curtains with other moms, and that you can check out the newborn nursery on your way in for an oxytocin boost)!
-in bathrooms all over the place.  Gross, but sometimes convenient.
-in my car
-in my team room (with a cover), so that I wouldn't miss a call back from a patient's primary care doctor
-during class
-in empty clinic rooms (which are the best!  There's a computer for internet browsing, magazines to page through, and even a sink)
-during morning report with the neurology department (with a cover, sitting in the back and trying hard to look nonchalant)

totally worth it
I've had to be flexible, to say the least.  The fact is that as a medical student, you have little to no control over your schedule, so although there is guaranteed to be time, in an absolute sense, to pump during the day, that time is unlikely to be exactly according to your pumping schedule.  So you make do!

But the nice thing about being a medical student is that you're surrounded by doctors, who are comfortable with bodily processes and most of whom have at least a passing familiarity with the health benefits of breast milk.

I can't imagine that I would be comfortable pumping during a meeting at any other job...but then, at any other job, I would probably have enough control over my schedule to take 15 minutes to pump when I needed to!

Have you ever pumped in front of colleagues?


  1. I'm impressed. I did a little dance of joy the day I finally gave up pumping.

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  3. Oh my goodness. I love love love love love love love love love looooooooove your blog! And yes- I mean every one of those. I am pre-med and can't WAIT to have a family, but I've been so worried about how I'll be able to find time for my girlfriend, kids, AND school/work. Your blog gives me hope :) So keep up the posting- I promise you'll always have at LEAST one loyal reader!!!

  4. What a cutie! I hope he/she knows how lucky they are and how much mama went through to give him the good stuff. :) I never could get the hang of pumping... I had to do a mix of breastfeeding, hand-expressing, and supplementing. I'd breastfeed in public but never could bring myself to express in front of anyone. Without my baby around, I felt awkward...