Pumping breast milk during Step 1

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    Wow, that was over two years ago!! It went fine. I had to be very careful about my break time. Here’s what I did:

    2 “long” breaks of 20 min each – pump for 15min, snack while pumping, pee. I brought a hands-free pumping bra so I could eat and drink while pumping.
    Between each block I took a 5min break to stretch my legs, pee, and have a drink of water so I wouldn’t be distracted during the blocks. I also hand expressed a teeny bit of milk during my 5-min breaks to minimize engorgement.

    Overall, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

    That being said, I was also about 4-5 months postpartum when I took the test. In the first few weeks after my milk came in I had a terrible time with engorgement and plugged ducts – I never would have been able to go that long between pumping sessions at that point.

    I’m planning a post about breastfeeding in medical school on my blog, doctorssurvivingmedicine.com – if you check by in a few weeks, it should be up.


    Thanks for the update! I will definitely check out your blog.


    I just wanted to let you know that the post about breast pumping in med school is up here:

    Breastfeeding in Medical School

    I have another one coming in a few more weeks about pumping and breastfeeding during USMLE.


    Hi everyone, I just wanted to comment on this because breastfeeding mothers are allowed extended break time now during Step 1!!! I know this because I just took Step 1 this past summer, and I had 90 minutes of break time (rather than the standard 45 minutes of break). I didn’t see this updated on this website, so I wanted to add this to the thread so that people searching for information can get the correct, updated info.

    First of all, the information is on the USMLE website: http://www.usmle.org/test-accommodations/forms.html
    The correct form is “Request Additional Break Time Only”. I had my doctor write a note that I was breastfeeding, and I mailed it to the USMLE disability services. I also took a photograph of my breastpump and attached the photo with the form. I heard back after a few months that my request for additional break time was approved. I was only then able to register for the exam.

    Anyway, I received 90 minutes, and it was enough time for me to pump twice during the exam, as well as have lunch and go to the bathroom. You just have to make a request well in advance!!

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