Bye Bye Baby!

{ disclosure : i am a medela mom maven }

A little over a week ago I had to take a quick business trip to Las Vegas.  It use to be one of my favorite destinations business trip wise.  I mean what’s not to love — the shopping, the amenities, the shows… the FOOD!  This time it was full of mixed emotions.  While I was excited to bring my “A” game as a super marketing executive and wear that hat for the what may be the last time, it also meant 50 hours away from my almost 3-month old exclusively breastfed son.  Yes I counted the hours and if I had to be precise it was from 6:02am Wednesday morning until 8:18am Friday morning.

My son was mostly refusing the bottle and I was a wreck leaving my newborn for the first time.  This really shouldn’t be a new thing to me.  I had been in this situation before with my daughter when I was working full-time as a Marketing/PR executive and traveling quite often.  Irrationally at the time, my husband often bought a ticket for himself and both he and the baby would then join me after painfully watching me cry my eyes out at the thought of being separated from my child.  It became an expensive habit, almost costing as much as my salary to keep up.

Putting all that aside, I had put it in my mind that I had to take this trip and would simply have to make the best of it.  How did I survive as a breastfeeding mom separated from her newborn by two time zones and a little over 50 hours?  My tips:

  1. As hard as it may be, you have to start bottle feeding as soon as possible.  Finding the right bottle can prove to be a lengthy challenge. Don’t stop breastfeeding at all.
  2. Substitute one bottle a day as early as you can.
  3. DO NOT be the one administering the bottle.  Your baby is no idiot and your boob is right there.
  4. I would in fact, LEAVE the premise if possible.  It’s good for the baby not to sense you around and good for your own breaking heart.
  5. DO pump while the baby is attempting to take the bottle.  You after all have to train your boobs to have a letdown without your baby’s sucking.
  6. Increase to two bottles a day if you can in the weeks leading up to the leave.  Training your boobs to letdown with a pump and your baby to adapt to more than one bottle.
  7. In the days leading up to your leave, return back to 1 bottle a day, so your baby can remember you.
  8. BE PREPARED!  Anticipate all situations you may need to pump. Quart size ziplock bags are your friend.  Bring 3 – Clean, Dirty and Carry-All (holds other two bags, steam bag and wipes)
  9. BE AWARE that you may not be able to clean your pump right away and how long until you may be able to. Medela’s Quick Clean wipes were my savior.
  10. Invest in a good double breastpump like Medela’s Pump InStyle or Medela’s Freestyle if you can afford it.
  11. A handpump like Medela’s Harmony is great and small enough to fit in your purse for times you can’t find an outlet or carrying the larger pump is not an option.
  12. Bring the battery pack and extra batteries. Bring the car adapter if you’re driving.
  13. Don’t be ashamed to pump.  It’s a wonderful and natural gift.  I proudly announced the the stewardess that I needed to pump at 10,000+ feet and didn’t blink an eye while doing it in the tiny bathroom.
  14. Disposable Breastpads are your best friends.  They will absorb leaking milk like a pro and doesn’t require washing while you’re traveling.  My favorite are the Johnson’s Nursing Pads which can be found at Target, they are perfectly contoured to the breast and don’t leave any indication of them even through the thinnest of shirts.
  15. TIMING IS EVERYTHING.  Breastfeed right before you leave for your trip.  Literally right before you walk out the door.  Plan to pump midway through your flight and more depending on the flight time.  You must account for times preparing for takeoff and beverage/snack service and give a little more for the bathroom rush afterwards as well as the reverse before landing.
  16. PUMP ON A SCHEDULE.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same as the eating schedule of your baby, but as close to it as can be managed.
  17. If you’re lucky to have access to a microwave, Medela’s Quick Clean Micro-Steam bags are perfect for travel and sterilize in 3 minutes flat.
  18. WHEN YOU GET HOME… RUN! to your baby and nurse right away… just because you want to =0)