Breastfeeding Memoirs: Working as a Resident

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2015, we are sharing inspirational stories from breastfeeding/working moms.  Today’s story was written by Amelia Sorenson.

--------------------------------------------------------

When I found out I was pregnant as I was about to start a surgical fellow, which can mean a seven day, sixty (sometimes eighty) hour work week with erratic long nights of call, I thought a lot about what it would be like to do the work while pregnant and how to manage maternity leave (six weeks, worked the day I delivered). What I didn't think about was how I would establish a breastfeeding relationship during those first few short weeks and how I would manage to keep breastfeeding when I went back.  

Once my son was born I realized I should have been preparing for breastfeeding. I went to a breastfeeding support group three times in the first week and am so grateful to the mothers I met and the support from the lactation consultants.  (First piece of advice - figure out support groups BEFORE baby arrives and utilize them early. Every time baby latches he is learning what to do, so the quicker you can get him doing it right, the better).

The night before I started back at work my brand-new electric pump made one long whirrrr and wouldn't turn on again….necessitating a frantic trip to buy a hand pump (Second - buy a hand pump just in case). I was more than anxious that first day back with my little cooler and hand pump.  Fortunately, I work in a “baby-friendly” hospital and a NICU nurse gave me a kit to the hospital grade pump and a few days later I found the most beautiful lactation room with a view of the ocean (Third - Figure out where you will be pumping before you leave for maternity leave).   

Photo by Erin at The Theo Loves

Photo by Erin at The Theo Loves

I’ve never been able to make a schedule since surgical case length and clinic patients are too different, so I decided that food for my baby had to be on the list of priorities and that some pumping is better than no pumping and tried to pump every three to four hours. (Fourth – Feeding your baby is something important; so let yourself treat it like it is a priority).

Orthopedics is 90% men and I am the first woman in a long time to have a baby, so I’ve been straightforward about what I am doing, hoping that it will make it easier for the next resident. (Fifth – Tell people what you are doing.  You have to do it a lot and really aren’t taking a break.)     

Now that we have made it to 6 months and have enough supply to have donated milk I want to say that you can do it too! Don’t give up early or think that because you are working long hours you can’t do it.  Most of all enjoy the time with your baby before your go back to work. 

Photo by Erin at The Theo Loves

Photo by Erin at The Theo Loves