× Women Medical Students

Pumping during interviews?

4 years 10 months ago #95403 by mdstudent14
Hi ladies,

I just gave birth to baby #2 and have the majority of my residency interviews scheduled over the next month and a half. I am breastfeeding/pumping and am curious how others may have handled pumping during interview days. I will really just need to work in one pump session, probably at lunchtime. I'm concerned about missing any time during the day, but I really don't think it's a good idea to go the interview day without a pump session either. Thoughts? Advice? Thanks!

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4 years 10 months ago #95419 by tr_
If you don't desperately need the milk, a timesaver option I used to use is to skip the pump and just take a few bathroom breaks during which you hand express into the toilet. This saves having to drag the pump around, set up and take down. It's faster and much less obtrusive. The downside is the milk is wasted; so depends on where you are with your freezer stash.

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4 years 10 months ago #95431 by westcoastmd
I'm in the same position (just had baby #2 10 weeks ago, started interviewing around 5 weeks pp, all while breastfeeding/pumping). I've had a number of scenarios unfold including:
- not pumping (shorter interview day)
- pumping just before lunch (after a hospital tour; pumped very quick so I wouldn't miss the time with the residents)
- waiting so long to pump that I actually leaked through my breast pads onto my shirt (luckily no one else knew but I was very uncomfortable until I could pump & had to change shirts)
- using an attending's office to pump (who had just returned from maternity leave and was also pumping- she recognized my bag :) ).

That said, I contact the coordinator/admin assistant before to let them know that I would need time and a space during the day to pump. And when I get to the interview, I look at the day's schedule and try to figure out when there might be a natural break for me to be away and not really miss anything. Everyone has been very accommodating and has been able to rearrange time slots, if needed, so I can pump and not miss anything.

I have driven to most of my interviews so far, so I've pumped in the car (while driving) just before arriving. This buys me some time when I first get there. And since this is my 2nd go around with baby/pumping/medicine, I know that I can push myself up to ~5-6 hours without being completely incapacitated with discomfort; I try to pump within 4 hours if possible.

I like the idea of hand expressing just enough to not be uncomfortable if you can spare to waste the milk or are in a bind. I cut my pumping sessions short, usually pumping for 10-15 mins max, enough to fill the bottles and empty the breasts mostly, but not completely. So between set up/storage I can be finished in about 20 mins. I could do less time if needed but I have a good milk supply and I'm not currently doing rotations, so if I don't pump exactly the amount of milk as my LO eats that day, it's fine because the next day I'm home with her. I'm not sure what your situation is in terms of supply, schedule, etc.

I'm going to have to travel soon for a few interviews and besides the anxiety about being away from my babies overnight, I'm preparing myself for pumping while traveling. It all just seems so daunting.

Good luck!

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4 years 10 months ago #95437 by mdstudent14
Thank you both for your suggestions! westcoastmd, glad to hear I'm not alone! ;) Honestly, I have way more anxiety at this point about the pumping and the travel away from baby than I do about the interviews. Hah! Anyways, I got a power converter for the car and will pump on the way in and way home - great idea. I have emailed the program coordinators for my upcoming interviews to work in a 20-min time slot. So far, they've been very accommodating. I am going to shoot for the same - a shortened 20-min session. At home, it would take longer between set-up, etc., but it is what it is! 20 mins should at least prevent the engorgement.

Anyways, thank you both! I appreciate the support. westcoastmd - good luck to you too and congratulations!

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4 years 10 months ago #95445 by westcoastmd

One thing I do to help with timing is keep my pump parts assembled (including attached to the bottles). Milk can technically be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours. But with my cooler block, my bag is even cooler than room temp. So, I figure even used pump parts should be ok for a few hours without being cleaned (although I sometimes wipe off the breast shields/phalanges).

I keep them assembled and attached to the bottles, wrapped in a paper towel, placed in a gallon ziplock bag (so they don't touch other things & any residual milk doesn't drip into my bag). Another thing you could do, if you have access to a refrigerator, is to refrigerate the pre-assembled parts after use. I did a combination of this while on rotations and it worked great. You could also pack extra pre-assembled parts (if you have spare parts) if the day is going to be longer (again, already in their own ziplock bag so all you have to do is pull them out & plug in). I hope that makes sense.

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4 years 10 months ago - 4 years 10 months ago #95486 by Melbelle
I have pumped at all my interviews. I email or call the contact person in the week before the interview, then remind them when I see them in the morning. They usually have me step out during a resident teaching time, and many have down time while we all sit in a room waiting for our interviewers to retrieve us. I usually get an office or an empty conference room to use. The coordinators have generally been very supportive and accommodating. I have a little cooler bag (like the shape of a lunch bag with gel stuff built in) that I stick in my purse for the milk, and I just wash the pump after I leave.
Last Edit: 4 years 10 months ago by Melbelle.

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