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Thread: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    I would really appreciate any advice the moms on this board can give me. My first child is due on Feb. 17th and I have to take my state's bar exam on Feb. 27th & 28th (2 weeks later)! The exams will last all day for two days. I would really like to breastfeed, but I am worried about leaving a hungry, screaming baby with a caregiver during the exam. Just the thought of leaving a famished and hysterical baby for 8 hours makes me cringe! Is there a way to keep my baby fed and happy, while I take the exam?

  2. #2
    cmp12345 is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    Do you get any breaks during the exam and can someone take the baby to you for the feedings during that time? Or, can you pump breastmilk for your baby while your'e gone and also pump during breaks (if any) to keep up your supply and prevent engorgement?

    Here are some related links. Maybe someone who has experienced this can help you. Personally, I think if you can, I'd delay taking the exam b/c you're going to be super tired with a 2 week old newborn.

    http://forums.lalecheleague.org/show...highlight=exam

    http://forums.lalecheleague.org/show...highlight=exam
    Last edited by cmp12345; October 3rd, 2007 at 10:59 PM.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2007
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    There is only a one hour break for lunch each day. However, if the baby is born on his due date, he will only be 2 weeks old and will want to feed more than once during an 8 hour period. Is there a way that I can pump and store milk for the baby before the exam? If so, how exactly do I do this? Thanks for your reply.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    Is there any way that you could take the bar at another time? You could be late having your baby and not be able to take it then anyway. If you do have the baby depending on when you go into labor you might still be in the hospital or your milk might not have came in then. I would think that 2 days without baby that early on could be a problem with breastfeeding. Are you sure you are even going to be up for the bar at that point? Having a baby can be emotionally exhausting, babes don't sleep through the night at that point either formula fed or breastfed it makes no difference, so your bound to be exhausted, also like I said before depending on when you have the baby actually even if you have it on your due date you will still be recovering. What if there are complications in labor ( I am by no means trying to say there will be!!!) There are a million what ifs that if it were me I would delay taking the bar. I don't want to sound negative but since this is your first baby I am trying to throw everything out there for you. I also forgot to mention emotions, your hormones will still be out of whack and I think if I had to be away from my newborn for 2 whole days that soon all I would do is cry...lol But then again I haven't even been away from my 8 month old for more then 1-2 hours and that has only happened maybe 2 times. I would just really think this through. I know that not taking it then it would mean a wait for you to take it again right? But at least that would give you a chance to recover.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    I just finished taking the July bar. I know how you feel. Your baby will be much younger than mine was, though. I would call the bar exam place and first make sure there will be a place available to pump. I was told that I could use the restroom but there were 6 stalls and several hundred people there so that was not feasible. I would really try to push for a place to pump (offer suggestions such as a storage room or something if they simply say to use the restroom). Also, I would ask if this would be something that they would give an accomodation for. In certain instances they give you an extended amount of time to take the exam or more breaks or whatever. It never hurts to ask.

    I can totally understand your not wanting to delay the exam after all of the work you have done to get to this point. You should probably buy a good electric pump (pump in style advanced by medela or the ameda purely yours) or rent a hospital grade pump. Hopefully an LLL leader will pipe in and correct if I am wrong, but I would start pumping a little each day up until the exam. This way you will have some bm to give baby during the time you are taking the exam. It is usually not recommended to introduce a bottle until 6 weeks pp because some babies get nipple confusion. My DD did not have a problem with this though (we supplemented because of jaundice the first couple of weeks). Just be aware this is a risk of introducing a bottle early. Another option would be to have your caregiver spoon feed the bm. At that age they really are not eating much during each feeding. They just eat frequently .

    On the day of the exam I would pump immediately before the exam, during the lunch period, and immediately after the exam (before leaving to head home). I am not for sure how your exam was set up, but for mine on the first day we had a 15 minute mid morning break. You could always pump a little to relieve engorgement during this time. The first afternoon was the worst because there was a 4 hour testing period. On the second day there was 3 hours of testing, lunch, then 3 more hours. So you might have some problems with engorgement on the first day if you do not get any extra time but the second day should not be too bad.

    I went back to evening classes and finals at 2.5 weeks pp. You can do this if you really want. BF is one of the best things you can do for your lo. It will be hard in the beginining but you can make this work.

    some good sites for purchasing an electric pump if you do not rent one: www.lactationcare.com
    www.hackleyhme.com

    Congrats on the new arrival. Good luck on the bar!
    Mom to Lainey (11-8-06)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    Another option would be for your caregiver to bring your lo to the bar exam site during your lunch periods (maybe even before and after too) so you can bf. The caregiver then could just feed your EBM to the baby while you are taking the exam.

    PM me if you have any questions for me.
    Mom to Lainey (11-8-06)

  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    Yikes! I also vote for delaying the exam. In addition to the obvious logistical difficulties with feeding a newborn who eats round the clock for comfort and nourishment, You may not even be able to walk just two weeks after delivery! I know I was barely mobile after my first and right now, just one week after the second, I can't imagine having to take any test, let alone one that makes me sit on a hard chair for two days straight! I can barely sit down on the sofa for more than brief spells without discomfort. I suggest you speak with your care provider and friends who have already given birth about the realities of the post partum period.

    I think it's admirable that you are so dedicated to your career, but this sounds like a strenuous and important exam. Wouldn't you rather be at your best than in pain and hormonal? Good luck!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    Like PP, I think you may have an extremely optimistic opinion of what your state of mind and body will be like when your baby is ten days old (and that's if you're not overdue!) BUT I think your commitment is admirable and I know that you'll be able to do this if you set your mind to it!

    First - yes, you can pump a little bit every day prior to the test to build up a store of BM for the baby to eat. You will not have the time to build up a very big "stash" but newborns don't eat that much at a time, and IF NECESSARY a bit of formula supplementation over a two-day period will probably not have an adverse effect as long as you pump when possible, and nurse frequently when you're together with your baby.

    Ideally, if your caregiver can bring the child to you - I would nurse immediately before the test, pump if you have a morning break, nurse at lunch, and nurse immediately after finishing the test. If that's not possible - just replace "nurse" with "pump." Keep in mind that nursing is FAR more efficient than pumping - those little babies are really motivated - so that is always the better option.

    I would advise you to contact the test administrators IMMEDIATELY to discuss your break time and pumping facilities, and get everything they say IN WRITING. The last thing you want is for someone to say on the phone, "oh sure, you get a morning break, and there's an office you can use" and then you get there and the actual person in charge says, "I don't know who told you that. There's no break, and you'll have to use the bathroom to pump." Also, this way, if the accomodations they offer are not acceptable you have time to negotiate something that works. The recent Sophie Currier case is currently under another appeal, but as of right now it does set a precedent that lactating mothers deserve accomodation in exactly your situation in order to place them on a level playing field with other test-takers.

    HTH!
    Erin - Hayden James is my beautiful boy - we've been nursing happily for two years, with no end in sight!


    Change the language, change the reality.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    Not to rain on a parade, but there would have been no way I could have pumped enough milk to get through a day that early -- it took weeks before I could get enough milk, and that was after numerous visits to a lacatation consultant, requiring medication, etc. It's nice to assume that all will be well, but we had to spend an unexpected 6 days in the hosipal after our LO was born. I couldn't have functioned for a 2 day exam two weeks after her birth.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and the bar exam

    Wow! I'm so impressed that this is what you want to do, and I don't want to discourage you at all. That said, I think the previous posters make some really good points. There are lots of variables here, and many of them aren't really within your control. What if your baby is late? What if you have to have a c-section, or there are circumstances that necessitate a longer-then-usual hospital stay? (Both were the case when my son was born.) Two weeks post-partum is really early to try feeding and pumping at all, in my experience, much less building a supply. And I'm not sure about other people, but I had a pretty easy recovery from my c-section, and there is no way I could have sat taking a test all day. Is there another administration of the test that might work for you?

    I'm definitely not saying it can't be done, but it may be more challenging than you're planning. A previous poster made a good point in asking if that's going to be your optimal shape to take the exam in. At best, you're going to be sore, sleep-deprived, and uncomfortable. Whatever you decide, I hope you work it out however's best for you, and congratulations on your baby!!

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