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

Hi S.,
Although it might seem hard to do, relax. That is likely your biggest obstacle to producing right now.
Secondly, make sure you're eating enough calories (and not trying to lose weight to get into that bikini) and fluids.
By adding an additional pumping session to your schedule, you will make more milk. Breast milk is made when the breasts are stimulated (pump or baby).
I nursed for 36 months (15 months and 21 months with 2 girls), and went on vacation without my kids twice, pumping enough to stay comfortable while away, and to maintain stimulation/production.
When I returned home, I picked up my sleeping daughter, and nursed her, as if I'd never been away.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,
Wow, you are amazing! I exclusively breastfed my daughter too (who stopped bf'ing completely at 2 1/2) and is now 6, so it's given me some time to reflect on the whole thing. I've recently been thinking about my militant commitment -- I couldn't really pump and she wouldn't even take a bottle -- which means I never left her for more than a couple of hours. I'm now convinced that I probably should have taken a *little* better care of myself sometimes! Honestly, I don't know if you can increase your supply much more without creating other problems (when you go on your trip you don't want to be even more engorged than usual...)I think that it's amazing that you've pumped as much as you have -- you sound stressed (which can exacerbate mastitis). I say you do your best, and even if he has to take some formula he will totally be fine. Friends of mine who have done the same thing as you found that their child ate a bit less while they were away. Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time and give myself permission to relax...I've learned the hard way that taking care of myself makes me a better mom! Have a great vacation.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S., the tone of your email sounds really stressed (understandably), try to give yourself a break here and relax about this. The more relaxed you are the more likely to keep the milk flowing. I know how difficult it is to have two kids at home so close in age, my two teenagers are only 16 months apart. You have a lot on your plate.

From my own experience, the pain in your breast, may come from not emptying your whole breast when you pump during the day. I was notorious for holding my breast in such a way that the milk wasn't flowing as well from one area, once I juggled things around ;-) the problem resolved itself.

Adding another time to pump during the day, particularly if it's a time when you can really relax should be helpful since our bodies are made to supply based on demand. Warm compresses before pumping might help too.

Lastly, if you can't manage to get all the milk you want stocked up, don't be too hard on yourself, if your son has to have a forumla to supplement some of his feedings. I breastfed both my kids until they were 6 months old, working and pumping from 6 weeks on. With one of them work stress was such that I couldn't keep up with enough milk for the needs during the day. I consoled myself knowing that since I was supplying the majority of nutrients for my child they were still getting all the benefits of breastfeeding.

All the best (Enjoy your trip)!

1 mom found this helpful

My opinion is don't go or bring the baby with you. To convince your empolyer have the baby's doctor right a prescription that the baby needs exclusivly breastmilk for food. Then explain to your boss that either the baby goes (which usually doesn't cost any extra) or you stay. I have left my 2 year old nursling for a few days to fly home for a funeral. He was very traumatized and in hindsight I wish I had bought him a plane ticket and taken him with me.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that the more frequently you pump/nurse the more your supply will go up. That has been my experience. I breastfed my twins exclusively for 7 months then started pumpiing around that time just to ease some of the stress. But I never lacked in supply because they demanded so much! It sounds like you are a great mom and want to do the best you can. You would still be a fantastic mom if your worst case scenario happened and your son had to have formula while you were gone. I exclusively breastfed my first son (now 4), my twin boys (3), and my daughter (19mos) - but I do not have a full time job to go too as well. I can relate to the anxiety you must feel. Good luck to you and have a fun trip! All you can do is your best when it comes to your children, and no matter what your kids will always think that you are #1. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Stress will reduce your milk supply.

Drink a lot of water.

Your son will likely drink less without you, and if not he'll be fine taking formula. I AM WITH YOU - I ABSOLUTELY did not want my children to have formula.

However, by choosing to take a trip, you may consider loosening your position a bit and going with the flow if the breast milk runs out. It'll be okay, and he'll likely nurse just fine when you return!

Above all, take a deep breath, and know he's in good hands.

~ Mother of 4:
18yr girl (breastfed 1 yr), 11yr boy (breastfed 2 yr), 6yr boy (breastfed 2 yr) WHILE WORKING, and one on the way (Due 10/1) with full intentions of breastfeeding WHILE WORKING.

Enjoy Hawaii!

1 mom found this helpful

I breastfed all 4 of my kids, now 8, 6, 4 and 2. I understand your concerns with the baby's adjustment to you being away in regards to breastfeeding. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but... There is a chance that your baby will not want to breastfeed when you return. If you are willing to take that chance, then go. But it is a long time to be away from a 3 month old, breastfeeding or not! I think you should bring him with you, or wait for another time. Your obligation right now is to your baby. Sorry to be so direct.

1 mom found this helpful

Is the vacation really worth all this stress about pumping? Can you put it off for a few months until he is not breastfeeding anymore?

I know with me, the more stressed I got about not being able to pump enough, the less milk I produced. I never figured out a way to get around that.

I don't mean to be a "downer" but it sounds like you have so much on your plate! A toddler, a newborn, you're back at work, not feeling great, and trying to plan a vacation all at the same time.....that's a lot to handle!

1 mom found this helpful

To releive the pain and possibly avoid the mastitis, fill a rice bowl or other small deep bowl with very warm water and a few teaspoons of salt; mix well to dilute. Put the bowl on the edge of the kitchen counter, lean over and soak the affected breast for a couple minutes until the water cools. This works VERY well to unclog the milk ducts if you are getting mastitis. Since you are working, try to do it before and after work each day...should clear up in a day or two. I got this tip from a Lactation Specialist and only had to soak about three times before it cleared the ducts.

As far as producing more milk, try pumping more often for shorter periods to see if that will work and try pumping on the weekends after every feeding. Higher demand produces more milk...

If you are not able to pump enough milk before the vacation, mix bottles 50/50 or 75/25% with formula for the four days to extend the EBM. Your baby is still getting the benefit of your antibodies without added stress on you and it is ONLY four days. When you get home, go back to 100% breatmilk.

Don't feel guilty!! I know it is hard, but you need to do what is best for the baby AND you; sometimes that means compromising on things. Like my wise husband once told me..."if you are stressed out and exhausted, you cannot be a good mom to your children". Be a good mom and make sure to take care of you too! Besides, if you increase your breastmilk too much before your trip, your breasts will be uncomfortably full during your vacation.

Good luck and have fun in Hawaii!

1 mom found this helpful

I just wanted to say, GO!! I hope you have a great time! I dont really have any pumping advice, I breatfeed but could not pump at all. It was very dicouraging. You sound like you are doing an awesome job!! I have heard that oatmeal helps to increase supply!
Don't feel guilty if baby needs 1 or 2 bottles of formula while you are away. He is doing a great job between breast and bottle now and I can gaurantee he wont like the formula and will be happy to have his momma's milk back!

Don't worry too much, you're doing a great job!

edited to add.............. I read a few responses about bringing baby along. This is a great idea! maybe you could swing it somehow??

1 mom found this helpful

My advice is DON'T GO, he is three months old for goodness sake!
Your office and coworkers will understand, there is never any such thing as not being able to cancel. It is simply your choice.

I always had trouble pumping at night... maybe you could get up 1-2 hours before the littleist needs to nurse (or pump an hour after his first meal) instead of at night? Also, make sure you are eating all the good stuff you can. It's easier to produce milk when you are well nourished. I hope you don't get sick and good luck.!

I'm sorry, but I've got to wonder, WHY are you leaving your baby for four days? That is a lot of time to be away from both your children, and they will get scared you aren't coming back. Especially your Rico. After you return hey'll freak out whenever you leave them because they will be afraid you aren't going to come back. Also because of their age they will not be able to communicate this with you.

Also both your boys are too young to talk to you about bad things happening. If you leave them with a friend and the friend blows a gasket and scares your kids that'll make everything worse. Perfectly seemingly awesome people can lose it and shake a baby. It happened to a gal I knew in Yuba City, and her beautiful baby girl now is a special needs child because someone she left her with shook her. It doesn't take much shaking to hurt a baby. . .

I wouldn't do it. The risk is not worth it to me.

If you do go, be sure you pump during your trip otherwise you'll have sore breasts and then start to dry up.

If you do decide to go make sure you bring tons of Breast Pads for your bra because you will be pumping so much to make sure you have enough milk to leave and that makes your body think you are nursing that often so you will have to pump a lot while you are away. It is so much trouble to try to freeze it and store it at the hotel, unless you are really having trouble producing milk because the best way to get your baby back on your milk is to feed when you get home. I took a trip when my son was 7 months for training for a new job and he would not take the stored breast milk as much as he would regularly take milk so my mom introduced formula but he ended up being allergic to milk-severly when I returned because we introduced it to soon. I did have to pump all the time and change my pads but at night in the hotel, when I was by myself just for a moment, I sighed and smiled and then called home! smile. Anyway, good luck, have fun!

Stop stessing!

The worse thing is not that you will have to supplement with formula (which is what will happen if the breast milk will actually run out) but that you will have the sitter actually run out of milk, you will stress yourself to the point of physically not being able to go on the trip, and/or obtaining another infection!

Stop stressing!

Do what you can do. Plus if you plan on continuing to nurse when you return, you will have to do something while on the trip to express your milk or you will be miserable to say the least.

Stop stressing.

If Romeo has to take some formula for supplement, he will be okay and you can once you return, re-intoduce him to the breast and milk. He will be okay.

So go out an enjoy yourself because it won't be everyday that you (or anyone else for that matter) will get to go on such a nice trip sponsored by their job.

And stop stressing enjoy yourself. Romeo will love you just the same when you return and will relish the fact that he is nursing from you again.

Stop stressing.

Also don't worry about your children forgetting you while on the trip. That won't happen. They will miss you, however if you have some quality time with them when they return, they may be a little clingy but they will be okay. Not everyone out there is prone to harm a child. If you trust the person you are leaving them with and have noticed no problem before, they should be okay. If you are already streesed a nice vacation might do you some real good.

So again, pump what you can and stop stressing. Enjoy your vacation, laugh, take plenty of photos, and get in the water for me.

Stop stressing!

No worries. I becme an expert at traveling without baby while nursing. You are doing the right things.
Pump what you can while you are home and try to build whatever supply you can.
Continue pumping on your trip.
Call the hotel and tell them you need a freezer in your room or access to one. Make sure they understand what you need. Get names and responsible people. Also ask them to help you get dry ice.
You can either ship it home overnight (call freight co for details.) and/or
Call the airline and get specifics on how to transport your pump and milk. I think it is no trouble to check it with baggage, plus it is colder under the plane. They need to know you'll have dry ice, as well.
This way, you'll be sure your baby gets your milk, you'll have a great time and you don't need to worry excessively about your supply reducing.
Have fun and congrats on your baby!

It seems there is so much pressure on yourself to have everything "just right" before your trip. While I completely understand you only want your baby to be fed with breastmilk, sometimes the added stress may affect your milk supply as well as compromising your immune system. From your email, it seems you are doing everything you can with respect to your milk supply. I wouldn't be so hard on yourself. As moms, perhaps we feel more guilt than anything else when we can't be "perfect" or be there for our children 120%. You've got a nice supply of breastmilk. If your baby gets a few feedings of formula, in the overall bigger scheme of his health and the amount of breastmilk he has, would it really make that much of a difference? Besides, we forget, apart of their nutritional needs, the benefits our children receive when we are healthy, whole and relaxed. Enjoy your trip. Be good to yourself.

I dont know if you would consider beer but it really works. the yeast in the beer will make you produce more milk. Just one beer in the evening wont hurt the baby. Thats what my mother told my sister when her son was a baby and it really worked. Good luck! and enjoy your vacation.

Dear S.,
You don't mention how your baby is being cared for in your absence. Do you know any nursing moms who would be willing to nurse him if the bottle feeding doesn't work for some reason? Is there a local nursing moms support group (La Leche League?) that you can talk to in advance who may be able to step in and help?

Do you have the option of bringing him along? Obviously you would miss out on a lot of the group activities, but it may offer you a reasonable compromise.

This would be easier to do if you had a little longer track record of successfully leaving him while you were at work. Your anxiety may be telling you something important.

I am 57, a grandmother of a 3 year old little girl and I know that this may discount the advice, so it's important that you know that. If my years may be considered a benefit for just a moment, it would be that I've learned to pay much closer attention to my heart and my gut and to trust that when something feels "off", it may be my Wiser Self trying to guide me.

I wish you the best, whatever you decide and that those 4 days are wonderful for you.

Monterey, CA

Any chance that you can pump in the middle of the night?
Around 4 am is supposedly when you have the most milk to pump out (that is, unless your little one is drinking throughout the night). This was the recommendation from the lactation specialist I saw when I was having problems with my production after about 6 months of working and pumping. Also, when I first went back to work when my daughter was 3 months old, I pumped every 2-3 hours at work, at least 3X and sometimes 4X if I could squeeze it in (no pun intended!) which helped keep my production up and really helped up my supply in the freezer.
Also, factor in the possibility of milk getting wasted somehow when you are gone when you are figuring out how much you will need to have in your freezer...a terrible thought, I know, but spills can happen, or warmed milk that doesn't get used in the proper time frame may need to be dumped.
Good luck!


Honey, your body is in shock. You just went back to work. How about grieving? Going back to work may be exactly the right thing but I bet there needs to be some release around this. This vacation, in part, is about going back to work.

Clarity and relaxation will come after grief is released. You are doing the best you can. From all the responses, it looks as if there could be ways to have what you need and take care of the baby too.

OH Stacie!

Sweetheart...It sounds like you definitely need a little time away.

You are doing everything you can to make sure your baby has what he needs while you're away. There's nothing else you can do, but what you're doing. Just keep up the great work. :o)

I'm sure you are leaving your boys with whomever you trust the most to take special care of them. Well.....trust yourself enough to know that whomever is taking care of them, will be able to handle it, even if the worst happens and your breastmilk runs out. They'll know what to do.

My concern is actually more for you. Please make sure that you take extra "inserts" for your bra. Being away that long from breastfeeding will have cause to "leak" without you even knowing. I should know....it's happened to me on a weekend get-away. Big-ole-basketball size wet spots on my blouse during my first 3 day get-away after my second boy was born. VERY embarrassing! My husband about DIED when he came back from getting us drinks and found me standing their with a smile on my face ready to go dance the night away....whatever!

Anyway. I strongly suggest that you begin to tell yourself that you are doing everything you can to make it work for your son. If they run out of breastmilk, they run out, BUT they know what to do. The baby will go back to nursing after he's had formula. Mine did. Think about all your "estimating", it will only be for less than a day of feedings on formula.

Honey, start packing and getting excited. Don't miss out on this trip, especially because it's free! Go and have a terriffic time. If you start relaxing your mind NOW, then by the time you are into the 2nd day of your trip, you might actually be relaxed enough to enjoy it! It always took me 2 days to finally relax about my kids back home, and think if I did everything for them before I left. By the time I finally convinced myself it was all good at home, we would be ready to leave the next day! I learned along time ago to start relaxing my mind BEFORE the trip, so I could enjoy it more. It sounds like you need to try it :o)

Good Luck Stacie! Have a wonderful time!

:o) N.

I highly recommend that you join the yahoo group called "pumpmoms", those ladies are a great resource! Just go to groups.yahoo.com and search for pumpmoms. I have a couple suggestions:
Eat oatmeal every day! I swear, it works.
Drink lots of water
Can you fit in 3 pump sessions at work?
Can you fit in one more pump session at home after you put your baby to bed but before you go to bed?

up your fluids, drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, nurse more as your body will increase the out-put do to the demand.
this should help increase mlk production.

warm wash clothes and showers help with the soreness,BUT if your breasts are red and hot to the touch! you need to see your doctor A.S.A.P

At this early stage in his life, your health and your baby's health are intimately linked. It sounds to me like you have several concerns about your own health and his.

Since your baby is so young, and so very important to you, why not take him with you? He would not need a ticket to ride on in your lap on the plane. You could use slings or other baby carriers to keep him with you the whole time. You'd still get a vacation from your other home duties, and your regular job duties. You'd still get to go to Hawaii!

I imagine your coworkers would be happy to hold him for 30 minutes here are there so you can have a swim, etc. Take the baby with you, and you'll both benefit!

Any chance the job would let you bring the little guy along? Sometimes new moms are afraid to ask & that work may think they are more focused on baby than work, however in reality, many people/jobs would support your bringing a child of this age. It is certainly better for attachment, as he will not understand your absence. If you took him, though, be prepared to step out of any trainings when he is overly fussy & bring a sling. To mom's who have left their babies under a year- what's done is done & you may have thought you were making the right decision. To mom's who haven't- please reconsider- read the materials available about attachment from a psychological & sociological perspective!

Hi S.,

Supply always matches demand. I would increase the number of times you pump during the day, to 3 or 4, if at all possible, given your job. The more you pump, the more milk you will have. Good luck, and try to relax on what sounds like a wonderful vacation!

Probably not the advice you're looking for, but stay with your little one, or have your family along and stay in the same hotel. Hubby and 2 sons...

You are so concerned about how much milk you can you pump for you baby. What are you really worried about? I could not imagine leaving my baby at 3 months of age... maybe this is what you should be worried about.

I am so sorry you are going through this. I don't really see how you can boost your supply any more than you already are. The pressure can't be helping. Excuse me if I am off track, but are you stressed about the milk supply, or about leaving your infant? You just went back to work, a big adjustment right there.

Do you feel OK leaving him for 4 days? If your heart says no, I'd listen to that. If that is the case, is there some reason he can't go with you? He'd fly for free. With a sling or carrier you can just keep him closeo and have your hands free. You say you can't cancel--maybe you can revisit that. Is this company/job worth it? Maybe your poor health is, like you said, from stress. If you are stressed leaving him, then it won't be much of a vacation, free or not! Hope you feel better!!

I would definitely try formula before your trip and make sure your baby would take it just in case. My house just had a power surge and I my refrigerator was fried and I lost everything in there. It also happened to my friend and she lost 20 ounces of stored breastmilk (she was so pissed). I did supplement one formula bottle everyday after about 2 months so my husband could feed her and give me a break. I didn't like breastfeeding at all and couldn't wait until it was over. It sounds like you may have a clogged milk duct. I had it once or twice and I would nurse my daughter more on that side and pump more on that side and the next day it would be gone. Hot showers can also help too.

Hi S.,

You know it's all a supply and demand thing. I assume, since your back to work he is taking a bottle most of the time? You should try to pump as much as you can for storage and use while you're away. AND obviously...you'll need to continue pumping on your trip to keep up your milk supply. If your baby has to have a little formula - it's not giong to kill him. You could always look into a Breast Milk bank. It took my milk almost 5 mos. to equalize...I had so much milk that I looked into giving it away to the Santa Clara Milk bank. I'm not sure what thier requirements are.

Good Luck, S.

Hi S.,

Have you thought about bringing the baby with a nanny. Seems a little young, in my opinion, to be left for 4 days. Sounds like you would worry less too and enjoy your holiday more. Just a thought.


My advice isn't the advice you want to hear.

Don't go on the trip and leave your baby.

3 months old and 4 days without mommy?

It is so admireable that you want to continue breastfeeding exclusively but let's get practical. You need to take care of you as well as that beautiful baby. There is nothing wrong with mixing formula with breastmilk in a bottle. Remember the baby is still getting antibodies to build his immune system, which is so crucial. No wonder you have become sick over the stress.

You are not superwoman and she doesn't exist. Start right now mixing formula, a little more with each feeding, with the breast milk and go down to pumping once a day. Please do this for your sanity or you won't enjoy your trip at all.

Your body is still recovering from having a baby in the first place and a sick and stressed mom is passing her sickness and stress to the baby and to everyone around her.

Please take care of yourself and let me know what you decide.

God bless - +B_

Hi S.,
I left my 4 month old (while I also had a 2 year old!) and went to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia for 8 days. I was really nervous,but it was an incredible opportunity. My trip was unexpected so I did not have a chance to stock up. I left with maybe two bottles in the freezer and my pump in tow. I was faithfully pumping every 2-3 hours, but my little guy did have to take formula. I should add that he wouldn't touch it prior to this. My mom stayed with the kids and she said the first night was tough (not too unusual with an infant!), but that he got used to it. As soon as I came home he looked at me, smiled and made a distinct "I want to nurse" sound while batting his arms. He continued to nurse exclusively for another 12 months. On the flip side, my two year old was very angry with me because she didn't fully understand that I was leaving and apparently it seemed I was gone a really long time. She was very clingy for a month or so. I hope this helps and you are able to go and enjoy yourself. Aloha!

ok, I had to leave my newborn a few years ago for a few days because my best friend was getting married and I was the matron of honor and didn't want my baby out in the public like that. Anyhow, I didn't store enough breastmilk so I had my husband pour 3/4 of breast milk and 1/4 of formula and she didn't realize the difference according to him. By the time I got back, she adjusted fine to the breast milk and I continued breast feeding her. Just a thought

Hi S.,
I'm sorry you're feeling so stressed! That cannot be good for either your health or your milk supply. A few thoughts: I respect that you only want to feed your son breastmilk, but adding some formula to each bottle of breastmilk will not hurt him, nor will it take away from the benefits of breastmilk. It's definitely better than having him have to switch to all formula bottles at some point because a whole scale switch like that would be tough on his digestion. Feeding him a blend of breast milk and formula from the get-go will be easier on his gut. My now five year-old son had a very sensitive gut, so I'm hyper aware of these things. I also pumped the whole time I breastfed (son was born very early and too small to take from the breast with any regularity w/out totally pooping himself out). Do you have a hospital grade pump (I rented mine from the hospital)? They are much stronger and would be more effective at increasing milk supply, such that you end up pumping out enough for twins, which has its own drawbacks. Please keep in mind that the more you increase your milk supply, the more you'll need to express on your flight and vacation. My last piece of advice (it's the existentialist in me) is that you always have a choice. I completely (trust me!) understand that you need a nice vacation, but at what cost? I have no doubt that your son will be fine, even needing some formula to supplement your breastmilk (as a matter of course, neonatologists in the NICU fortify breastmilk for preemies as tiny as mine was, and we were sent homw w/ high calorie powder formula to mix w/my breastmilk). My concern is for you and your health. You might not feel stressed, and I'm sorry to be so presumptious, but you certainly sound stressed in your post. It's easy to get into kind of an alarm mode with a new born (e.g., always on the watch for something bad to happen, even just subconsciously -- I think we all do this to some point, but perhaps you're in a heightened state of this right now?). You're already sick -- your immune system is taxed. I guess my question is, as nice as the vacation sounds and even though the whole office is going, will you really be able to relax, or will you end up feeling even worse? A free vacation isn't so free if you compromise your health. We really underestimate the effects of stress on our body. If you really want to go, you may need to let go of the idea that your son will have 100% breastmilk while you're gone. We cannot control everything, as much as we desperately want to (at least I always want to!). If you will be worried about your son the whole trip, you absolutely can cancel now. So a few coworkers might think you're being overprotective or whatever (maybe they're more evolved than that?). That's not their business, and there are worse things for people to think. I'm a working mom, too, and I understand feeling like you have to do everything the best mom ever would do (and I have no doubt that you're an excellent mom!) and everything the best employee ever would do. You need to give yourself some slack! I wish you the best whatever you choose. Your gut will tell you if your trip will be relaxing or more stressful than it's worth. Please don't compromise your own health!

All of the worry and stress is not helping your milk supply or health it sounds like. Also the possible guilt of going back to work and then leaving your babe for vacation(which sounds lovely- the vacation I mean) probably doesnt help matters. I would try not to worry, rest as much as you can and drink lots of water. Try acupuncture for the breast issues- it works wonders for everything including boosting your immunity which you need. Get a referral for a good one in your area. GOOD LUCK

Kudos to you for breast feeding. I felt it was important as well and I had so many people treat me oddly or poorly for it, it was insane. I also had to return to work at the end of maternity leave and pump. Not a great experience, but for my kiddo, I'd do it all over again. Fenugreek is a great way to boost your supply. I found a tea by Traditional Medicinals called "Mother's Milk" which contained Fenugreek and other ingredients that really helped me out. You may be able to find it at Safeway. You can definitely find it at Whole Foods or Elephant Pharm. Don't push to pump more than you are comfortable with. You can stress yourself into producing less. Something you might try to get a lil' extra in your reserve without stressing your body too much is pumping right after he eats. There is often still a little left after Jr. is done, and expressing it can add to your "vacation stash" as well as give your body the signal to increase the volume of milk you are producing. You can still do your one extra night-time pumping session to produce the bulk of your stash, and have the extra you are looking for. The breast tenderness may not be mastitis. If it is, I'm sorry! I too have dealt with that and it's not pleasant. But as painful as it is, continuing to breast feed will actually help flush out the ducts and clear the infection, and it cannot hurt or be spread to your baby. I did have tenderness issues with some of the pumps I tried, and of course, if you're at work and your all full and ready to go and have to wait for a break to go pump, they may feel tender and achy as well. Just a thought... as nice as grown-up vacations are, is this one that your baby could go on with you? Under 1, they can be cradled in your lap and you don't have to pay for an extra seat. If you breast feed while the plane is taking off and landing it takes care of the ear-pressure problem. If your baby can go with you, you can continue to feed him and not worry about a stash, or having to pump on vacation to keep your body producing. I had to take a trip when mine was little, although not a company trip, and she was fine on the plane. Whatever works best for you, the most important thing is not to stress. Too much stress really will decrease your milk supply. It sounds like you are doing a great job. Good luck and enjoy Hawaii! :)

What about bringing baby with you? They are free and Hawaii is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy special time with your littlest one. If hubby or signifigant other is coming they'll be able to help and the hotels usually offer child care although I don't know for what ages. We even had got a referal from our condo managers for a babysitter who lives there and that is her job. Baby sitting for visitors. Best wishes to you and for a relaxing get away.Enjoy!

Are you bringing your pump along on your vacation? I hope so because 4 days of not nursing or expressing will not only be horribly uncomfortable but may effect your milk supply.

Honestly, and don't take this the wrong way, but leaving a breastfed infant for 4 days sounds like a bad idea on a number of levels. There will be plenty of time for vacations when your kids are more self-sufficient.

You say you can't cancel now- they'll fire you if you don't go? Make you pay out of pocket the cost? Hard to imaging you'd lose your job and the company is probably writing off any expenses anyway. Plus the anxiety of worrying about what's happening with your baby and having to pump the whole time... how much fun will it be anyway?

Be SURE to bring your breast pump if you decide to go on your vacation. You'll be miserable, and might even stop producing milk if you go without expressing for four days. Also, be sure that the person who is going to be caring for him has lots of practice feeding him before you go on your trip as well.


I remember my mom having a little 8oz. beer when she was nursing my little sister. The doctor said it helped milk production and also helped her to relax (she was always a bit nervous/anxious). If you start worrying about not producing enough, your body will respond accordingly.
What's the worse that can happen? Maybe he'll like a little formula, you won't know unless you try it. Set your mind at ease and try it now before your trip...if your milk supply doesn't last you'll have peace of mind knowing he'll be o.k. with formula. Most of all, RELAX! Don't listen to the mamary gland nazis who would have you believe that your child is doomed and you've failed as a woman if you supplement with formula. Both my boys grew up on formula after being nursed for just a month. My issue...my breast were HUGE and latching on was difficult for both of my boys. The oldest wasn't gaining weight so I used common sense and started supplementing formula. He started gaining weight and we were all happier. Besides, it was very painful for me. I envied women with smaller boobies who could nurse at any time or place.
So, think positive thoughts and imagine yourself sipping a Mai Tai on the beach laughing it up with your husband and friends. Your baby will be just fine! Promise!

I would try to relax as much as possible. You also don't know for sure that Romeo will drink as much when you are gone as he does when you are here. I left my LO when she was 9 months old with my parents for 5 days and she was on breastmilk and yogurt. I was worried she wouldn't have enough and ended up with extra at the end of the trip (I also pumped the entire time I was there in Hawaii... so keep in mind if you plan to bring back and I did you CANNOT bring a styrafoam container on the plane. Get dry ice and a hard or soft ice cooler and they will check it for you). Fenugreek is great but you might also try Blessed Thistle too with it. That's what I did and it helped a lot. Going to work and being away from baby can cause a lot of stress. You miss them terribly the entire time you are gone. Do you best to relax and try to pump one more time in the day time while you are at work and one more time at night before you go to bed and that should give you the amount you need.

Good Luck!

Hi S., I breastfeed my twins for 11 months. I had a severe case of mastitis at 2 weeks. The Lactation Nurse was amazed that I could stand to nurse! My Dr had me pump after every feeding to increase my supply. It worked well for me. When I went back to work at 10 weeks I would pump 24-32 ounces every 4 hours. (I only worked 6 hour shifts)
Good luck and have fun in Hawaii!

who's taking care of your son while you're gone?! my daughter is 11 months and i've never left her. she was exclusively breastfed until 6 months and is mostly breastfed now. i admire you for having faith in your son's care giver and to that person for taking it on!

This is actually advice for when you are in Hawaii, make sure you bring along a pump, even a hand held one. You are going to be REALLY engorged and in pain if you have no way of releaving yourself of some of the milk. I wished someone would have told me! Good luck.

You have been given lots of great advice on how to produce more milk. I didn't see much response to your fear of mastitis. I had mastitis when my baby was 2 weeks old and it was AWFUL, so I understand your fears. The lactation consultant recommend a probiotic to me, acidophilus in helping the body fight off or avoid an infection. I will be taking the acidophilus with my next baby just to avoid mastitis. I got a bottle at Trader Joes, I hear Whole Foods has it as well. I had to get on antibiotics to get rid of my severe mastitis.
Sounds like you are on track to doing great and having a great vacation. Rest, eat, drink, and pump ;)
Just a thought, can you bring the baby and a sitter along with you?

Won't they let you bring a four month old with you? It seems s like it won't be much of a vacation having to pump for 4 days, and there's the chance without the baby you might start drying up?? You know, I'm sure, to nurse heavily on that sore side. That always cleared me up when I started getting mastitis, along with a little gentle massage.

You sound like you are stressing yourself with worry. Your baby will be fine, even if you have to supplement with formula if you run out of milk. As long as you pump while you are gone, your milk supply should be intact when you return to your children. Enjoy your trip, I wish I could go too.

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?

S., I had some of the same issues with my little girl. Though i was not going on vacation. When I wanted to up my milk supply I started drinking malt. I just bought Carnation malk and put it in my milk. I was also told to eat white rice, I don't know if that helped. I also had mastisis. What I tried to do for that was pump more and nurse more from that side. TO get more milk for storage try pumping ones side while nursing on the other side.

Hi S.,

I had similar problems with my daughter, I too used the Mother Milk Plus and had great results but after a nasty cold I had a large drop in my supply. I went and spoke with a lactation consultant and she recommended pumping early morning, like 3am. It was hard but boy did it make a HUGE difference. Your body makes the most milk in the morning hours which I'm sure you notice and so if you have a higher demand in the morning you will produce more milk. Just make sure the time you chose to pump is atleast two hours before your normal feeding time with your son. Adding this one pump time allowed me to continue breast feeding her until she was a year old. Good Luck!

If you don't pump while you are on vacation, your milk supply will probably dwindle even more. Can you take your baby with you? You could try altering your diet to increase your milk supply; try eating foods that are on the fatty side, that worked for me. (yogurt, cheese, lots of protein.)

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.