63 answers

Leaving Breastfed Baby for 4 Days. Need Advice!

I am going on vacation to Hawaii from April 17-20. I am nervous about not being able to pump enough milk for him to eat while I am gone. Right now I have 53 oz in the freezer. I estimated I will need at least 100 oz, but I'd like to have more just in case.

My baby has been exclusively breastfed so far, and I want to continue this. I have a few issues making this more complicated. Last Wednesday, I returned to my full-time job after being on maternity leave, and I am already taking a sick day today. This is the 2nd time I've been sick since being back at work, so I'm assuming I'm stressed, even though I don't feel that way.

So far, my pumping schedule has been 2 times a day at work. My baby takes about 12 oz. of EBM every day, and I have been able to pump an extra 2-4 oz. per day to add to my vacation stash. I have been taking Fenugreek and More Milk to increase my supply, and this seems to help. However, I estimate that I will need to pump consistently an extra 4 oz a day every day until my trip. I shouldn't have a problem getting in an extra pump session before I go to bed, but I'm just so nervous that I won't pump enough and then my baby will have to have formula which is what I REALLY want to avoid.

I am just worried about my supply decreasing now since I am sick. Does anybody have any suggestions for boosting my supply more? I'd also love to hear other experiences from women that have successfully taken trips without their nursling in tow and were able to pump just enough to get them by.

**Note: I am planning on taking my electric pump with me, and I will be pumping every 3-4 hours. I want to bring my pumped milk back with me, but I will not have access to a freezer so that could become a challenge.

P.S. The vacation is an all-inclusive, company paid trip. The whole office is going. I can't cancel now, plus I think I could use a nice vacation, especially since it's free.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you so much for all of the support and helpful information. I just returned from Hawaii late Sunday night and everything went very smoothly. I was able to pump a total of 105 oz to leave for my baby, and he didn't even finish it all. There were 5-6 bags of milk left in the freezer.

I pumped on a regular basis in Hawaii; about every 4 hours. The hardest was having to wake up in the middle of the night when I was in a deep sleep. But, I did it! I was also able to take ALL of my milk home with me. I packed a soft cooler and ice packs and when I went through airport security I just told them it was breastmilk. They just looked through the cooler and sent me on my way with no problems.

It turned out to be a really wonderful trip. My husband and I really needed the time alone together as we were starting to drift apart a bit. It also rejuvenated me and gave me a new appreciation for my babies. Four days was just long enough to be away from them. Any more than that and I would have gone crazy!

Thanks again!

Featured Answers

Drink as more water and when you think you can't drink any more, drink some more. the more water you drink the more you will produce. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I am sorry to say this, but I think it sounds really tough to leave a 3-month old for 4 days that you are breastfeeding full time. For you and for him. I understand if you are stressed about it. Isn't there anyway you could take him with you? Or is that impossible?

More Answers

When a baby is left by his mother, it is always perceived as abandonment, and it is traumatizing. I strongly suggest you take your little baby with you! You will have the rest of your life to take vacations, but your baby has only one primal period. It is during the first two years of life a child develops trust and, when his mother abandons him (he has no idea of time, just loss), it undermines this first developmental task and trust is lost forever! Please, for the sake of your boys, reconsider your decision to leave them behind. I know you had children to have them, not to leave them. Now's the time to do just that. It's soon enough that they'll leave you, and then you'll have the rest of your life to vacation. Best wishes...

2 moms found this helpful

I was also very committed to bf-ing my children. So I'm going to be very honest with my answer. Is it really necessary to leave your baby for four days at this time? I understand that the trip is an all-office one, but...your little one is only 3 months old. Four days seems like an eternity to leave a three month old.

2 moms found this helpful

I left my 4 month old son for a 7 day Hawaiian trip, too. I just tried to pump and pump, to build up a supply. I was not concerned about giving formula (although he was 90% breastfed), so before the trip, sometimes I would give him formula and freeze the milk that I just pumped. Also, once in Hawaii, when I did pump, I had the hotel staff pick up my breast milk and they froze it in the hotel freezer. I got a few weird looks from the staff who came to pick it up, but who cares. At the end of the trip, I got a cheap cooler and ice, and brought it back on the plain. This was 3 years ago so the plane restrictions weren't so stringent. Breast milk is liquid gold, so I didn't want to pump and dump.

I would definitely have the formula as a back-up, even if the babysitter doesn't use it. It gives some piece of mind to whomever is watching your son. They don't want to run out of food. I underestimated how much much milk I needed stored up. I thought I had enough, but Grandma ran out after the 5th day. So I was really glad that I had given her a can of formula.

You deserve this trip. Go and have fun. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about going. Good luck and ALOHA!!

2 moms found this helpful

Good grief! Ignore all of those people who are trying to make you feel guilty. All mothers need vacations and if you need one now, then go. Where you are right now is hard. When your son is 18, he won't care. A few days apart will not do any harm to your relationship.

Just bring your pump and pump as often and as much as you can. Especially on the sore side. I once had to be separated from my infant due to a family emergency and was able to resume a week later. It wasn't what it was before, but it was there. If I had pushed it, I may have been able to resume full time. Also, like someone else said, if formula is needed to supplement, it's not the end of the world. Just make sure it's mixed in with the breast milk otherwise the baby might reject it. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Drink as more water and when you think you can't drink any more, drink some more. the more water you drink the more you will produce. Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear S.,

Congratulations to you on a new baby and a free trip to Hawaii. In reading your email, you sound so worried about your milk supply that I was compelled to suggest you not go at all. But a free trip? Who could pass that up?

My thoughts are this. You will need to leave some formula for backup in case of an emergency (freezer dies and all the milk is lost, or other unforeseen emergency). I would suggest you have Romeo's caretaker simply supplement with formula while you are gone (the prepared or condensed method of preparation seem to taste better than powder does) for the milk you cannot pump. This is not the end of the world and you should not feel bad about this.

A word about myself. My baby was not a good nurser from day one. She didn't like nursing but we managed to keep nursing together for 3.5 months. To top it off, she wasn't gaining enough weight per our Pediatrician so I had to supplement my breastmilk with formula after she was only 2 weeks old. I was devastated. I was still able to breast feed, but from the get-go, she had to have formula as a supplement. The more she drank from the bottle, the less she wanted to nurse so I really resented having to feed her formula in a bottle.

I saw several lactation consultants so that I could find ways to increase my milk supply and get her to nurse better but she simply wouldn't nurse after she was 3.5 months old. I wanted her to get breastmilk SO badly that I continued to pump for 3.5 more months. Now talk about BORING. I hated the pumping but I kept it up because I wanted her to have as much breastmilk as possibl. It was so difficult as I watched my milk supply gradually decrease.

One thing the lactation consultant told me that really helped me out. When I complained that my baby was only getting half of her milk supply from breastmilk, she reminded me that half is SO much better than none. This is my main point.

I hope you have a great trip.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello S.-!

I'd say to try to relax if you want the best milk supply - stress will cut the supply down. Also - this may be worth a try- it has worked for many people who swear by it, but it is a little weird. If you are worried about mastitis, put a raw cabbage leaf in your bra, next to your skin and change it every few hours until the symptoms subside.

And ENJOY your vacation-!!! Don't bring the kids - you will do well with the break - how nice that you are able to go-! If you have returned to work, and your littlest one is OK with a bottle with breastmilk in it, he will be fine - go and have fun-!

You know how much breastmilk your son will need for nighttime and daytime, just store that plus a little extra, and then don't worry - 4 days is not that long.

DO take a breastpump - and either save the milk in a freezer, or just express it - you will otherwise get very uncomfortable.....and your milk will start to shut down. I would still pump at least 3 times in a 24 hour period while you are vacation.

My biggest advice is to not worry - everything will be fine-!

1 mom found this helpful


Take a moment a breathe. And you certainly have a choice, and your choosing to go, why because it's a great opportunity to have some downtime. It's not selfish, and I saw some great advice to bring a pump if you plan to continue breastfeeding when you return.

Go have some fun, a little formula would probably be good. I had my daughter on one bottle of formula a day from the time she was 6 weeks old. It made the transition to ween her from breast milk easier.

Have a great time.

1 mom found this helpful

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