J.F. asks from Lake Forest, IL on December 11, 2006
Breastfeeding Mom Going on 4 Day Business Trip
I am a mom of a 4 months old baby daughter. Next month I have a 4 day business trip and am nervous about leaving my baby. I have been breastfeeding, but she will also take a bottle. Does anyone have experience with business trips away from baby. I am nervous about her missing me (not to mention my missing her) and feeding only from a bottle for 4 days. Her Dad and grandparents will be taking care of her, so she'll be around people she knows and loves but I'm nervous about my not being there. I really don't want to wean just because of work. Also, if I express milk, I have no idea how I will get it home with all the new flight liquid restrictions. Any suggestions? Thank you!
G.M. answers from Chicago on December 11, 2006
I know how you're feeling. I had to leave my 6 month old son for two days with his dad. I think as long as your daughter is used to taking the bottle now, you really shouldn't have any issues. Also, as long as she is used to being fed the bottle by others she should be fine. I left my husband the feeding/sleep schedule incase he 'forgot' and he said that helped. About flying, you are allowed a limitless amount of baby milk on the plane. But I would call the airline just to double check.
I hope this helps you a little!
E.W. answers from Chicago on December 12, 2006
Looks like you got some great advice from others. You will miss her much more than she will miss you. My one other comment would be enjoy 3 nights of uninterrupted sleep! Good luck!
K. answers from Chicago on December 11, 2006
I, unfortunately, have done this several times. The first time I had to go away, I ended up leaving early because I missed my then 4 mo old so much. It is hard, but your baby will be SO HAPPY to see you when you return. Because she takes both breast and bottle you will probably have no problem nursing her when you return. I remember being very nervous about that. Regarding expressing while you are gone, I usually get several ice packs and keep them in the hotel freezer. Most hotels will not let you put breast milk in their freezers, but some will, so ask. I usually get a refrigerator in the room and store the breast milk there. For travel on the plane, I have an enormous insulated lunch box/bag that I but in my checked luggage full of all the ice packs that have been kept in the hotel freezer and the breast milk. Also, if your return flight is later in the day, get late check out. Even when I have been told this is not available, when I give them my reason, they have always given me late check out. This has worked for me each trip. I hope it works for you, too. Good luck.
K. answers from Chicago on December 11, 2006
I did this when my son was 3 months. Here's how I did it:
1. ask your hotel for a room with a fridge. Most will give you one for free upon request, though some may charge you a little extra.
2. Bring a hard-sided cooler and a few ziploc freezer bags (gallon size) for ice
3. Bring your breast pump. I personally recommend 2 - one hospital grade or nice double (Ameda Purely Yours or Medela PIS) and an Avent Isis hand pump for travel.
4. Bring many freezer bags - enough for 4 days worth of milk.
5. Bring a small bottle of dish soap for washing your pump parts.
Shoot to pump every 3-4 hours during the day. Use the double pump when you can, but otherwise the hand pump works fine. You can even do this in the bathroom in a pinch. Use a ziploc bag filled with ice (love those hotel ice machines) in your cooler to keep things cold during the day while you're out and about. (I actually also brought a little soft-sided travel lunch cooler for during the day when I was away from my hotel room). Put your pumped milk in bags and into the travel cooler during the day. Put all into the fridge when you get the chance.
When you travel home, pack your small hard-sided cooler (I used one of those Igloo Playmate) with: ziploc full of ice, then all the milk bags (could also be in another ziploc), then another ziploc with ice. Tape shut, put your contact info on, etc. Check this as a perishible item and tell the baggage check people that it's breastmilk. I flew United doing this and they made sure it came off the belt first!
If the flight is long and you need to pump on the plane, you can always ask the flight attendent for some ice and make sure you bring an extra ziploc bag for that.
It can be done. I brought back over 60 oz, and recently my sister flew with over 100 oz! Worst part is missing your baby!!
Edit to add this comment: It's not the end of the world if you need to dump milk. After all, this is a FREE RENEWABLE resource! I think we (moms who pump/breastfeed) tend to get a little overly protective and anal about our saved milk. Yes, it's wonderful for our babies. Yes, it's "liquid gold" and all that, but seriously, who's counting the difference between 100 and 110 oz of milk? Just do your best and try not to stress about it. Main goal of pumping is to keep your supply up and keep your boobs from exploding :)
R.M. answers from Chicago on December 11, 2006
I agree with the advice here, but also, it is o.k. to "pump and dump" if it is not convenient to store the milk from each pumping or at all; as it may be stressful depending on the schedule. The key is to pump to keep up your supply for when you return home.
I found the hardest thing was full day meetings (rushing to pump during breaks) and then dinners (rushing to the hotel to pump)...no one knew I was sitting there counting the minutes until I could pump to relieve the pressure. That was the hardest thing for me.
Good luck. Your baby will miss you, but will love to see you when you get back.