Mommy Scrubbs Q&A: Breastfeeding and shiftwork – does it work?


I was just wondering about your experiences breastfeeding and working as a registered nurse. I am currently expecting, and I work peds (primary) and couplet care (occasionally). I really want to breastfeed this time around (this is my second) because of the benefits for me and baby… however, I am concerned with my working 12 hours shifts that it might become difficult. I barely have a chance to go to the bathroom when I work sometimes (especially winter season), much less sit down and pump on a regular basis! We don’t have any great places to go and pump on a regular basis either… between working and going to grad school full time, I am beginning to wonder if formula feeding might be better for me and my entire family.

So anyway – who has personally pumped while at work? How did you make it work out? What tips do you give your working moms upon DC?

– Thanks, JeepGirl

Hello to you JeepGirl,

I have a friend at work who works 12 hour shifts while breastfeeding. She works night shift. Her daughter is now almost 7 months old. She pumps one time during her shift. However, she is drying up now. It is difficult to pump 3 times during a 12 hour shift (minimum 2 times) to keep supply up. You need to nurse/pump at least 8 times in a day to maintain adequate milk supply. This is why I am on an extended maternity leave. I know I will not get my unpaid breaks to pump. (I rarely get more than a BR break or 2) And I do not want to loose my supply. She then comes home from work, nurses dd and has to sleep during the day (usually from 9am to 3pm) does not nurse/pump during that time. (She has a sitter) Then nurses her dd before returning to work. So really she is only nursing/pumping 3-4 times a day so that is why she is drying up. When she is off she gives dd formula during the night so she sleeps for longer intervals and bf during the day. Even if you could just breastfeed while in the hospital and on maternity leave, and keep doing it until you dry up your child would still get a lot of the benefits, and so would you. But if you choose to use formula that is ok too!

Remember if your going to pump while at work, Mommy Scrubbs makes it as easy and discrete as possible for you to get that done. You can save time, so you can limit your breaks, since we know pump breaks are UNPAID!