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Thread: Pumping at contaminated workplaces

  1. #1

    Default Pumping at contaminated workplaces

    I work in a ICU and I pump in an empty patient/equipment room-the only place available and private. I feel like I am contaminating my pump and the milk I pump not just because where I am pumping, but also how I make a living. I have a lot of patients on isolation. And those who are not often become isolation patients later so everyone is always at risk it seems! So how are others keeping clean for their babies? I wash my hands like crazy and remove my scrub top when I pump, but I do not feel the milk is clean enough. But on days when I am working a few 12 hour shifts in a row, my dd really needs that milk. How are others dealing with this? The last thing I want to do is feed her MRSA or something like that.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Northern CA

    Default Re: Pumping at contaminated workplaces

    Have you talked to other hospital staff about your concerns? If proper isolation procedures are being followed, you shouldn't be carrying germs from one patient to another, let alone to yourself. Washing your hands, using hand sanitizer and removing your scrub top should be adequate to prevent spread. Breastmilk is pretty resilient stuff. I also assume that when you work with isolated contagious patients you wear gloves, mask, etc... depending on the situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Re: Pumping at contaminated workplaces

    If you google around, there are ways to "pastuerize" breastmilk. It's more commonly done by moms accepting milk from donors, but you could do it if really necessary. But I would stop far short of that myself...it is definitely not the best thing for baby.

    I have had to pump in some pretty sketchy areas -- I once did another veterinarian a favor and filled in at his animal hospital so he could go on vacation and didn't go check it out first. Well, it made me go when I walked in for my first day of work and I have a really strong stomach. Seriously, this place was really, really bad. Like visible dirt everywhere, and the place smelled, and the only place with any privacy or space to pump was the bathroom, which was also used as the laboratory and library. I couldn't not pump...baby needed my milk, and I would have gotten really uncomfortable. So I laid out a clean towel that I brought to keep drips off my lap (a sterile Chux or surgical towel would work too) on a shelf, away from the toilet and the microscope, to put my stuff on and made sure my pumping stuff only touched that. Washed my hands well before touching anything to do with pumping, and it was fine
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Pumping at contaminated workplaces

    All I can say is I understand. I too work in a hospital and feel the same way about a contaminated pump and pumping area. I wouldn't pasteurize your milk though.. the baby is getting such awesome antibodies to all those germs. That is how I justify it in my mind. Just be as clean as you can.

    I buy those Medela Quick Clean steam bags and sterilize my pumping equipment while at work. I love them. Don't know if you do this?

    Momma to Benjamin, we recently made it nursing to age 2!!!!

    Benjamin born 9-17-09

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Pumping at contaminated workplaces

    This is a really hard situation and people just don't understand. I have had to pump in bathrooms, ambulances, and the medical/surgical floor of the hospital. All not my number one choices. I just made sure that my hands were really clean, had a few antibacterial wipes on hand and comforted myself with the fact that I was being exposed to all the same pathogens as my milk and would therefore be making antibodies to protect my LO if I had been exposed to anything.
    Mother to the wonderful Teya - born June 21, 2010

    Wife to Pat Sept 13, 2008

    We are and at school

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