This past weekend I went to my sister’s stagette in Manitoba, which meant that I had to leave my exclusively breastfed 5 month old, Odin.
I was anxious and nervous on the days leading up to my trip away. I was worried he wouldn’t take the bottle well or that when I came home he wouldn’t want to breastfeed or that my milk supply would drop.
Everyone kept telling me things would be fine and that I needed time away, but that didn’t make me feel better.
So I decided to put a plan into place and prepare as much as possible for my weekend away.
In this blog I am going to share everything I did to prepare, everything that helped me while I was away & my experience when I came back home.
TIPS that helped me BEFORE leaving:
- I started pumping 3 months before leaving so that I would have enough milk stored. I use the FIRST YEARS pump, it’s one of the best pumps I’ve ever used and it’s cost-friendly from Walmart. (Side note: I also really like the Medela from Cravings).
- I pumped once a day in the morning for 5-10 minutes on one side (we have the most milk in the mornings).
- I stored my milk in small amounts (1-4 ounces) in special NUK freezer bags so that my husband wouldn’t have to waste milk.
- My husband fed Odin a bottle once every 2-3 weeks.
- We watched a video on YouTube on “Paced bottle feeding.” It’s a type of bottle feeding that mimics breastfeeding so it makes it less likely that your child will prefer the bottle over breast.
TIPS to that helped me DURING my weekend away:
- I brought a pump that was battery powered so that I could pump on the way up in the vehicle.
- I pumped every two hours for 5-10 minutes.
- I pumped before I went to bed (stayed up late at night) and then set my alarm to wake up 8 hours later (usually Odin sleeps 8-11 hours straight, so I tried to mimic his schedule).
- I brought NUK freezer bags to store my breastmilk in. They also have Medela storage bags at Cravings.
- I brought alcohol swab tests to test my breastmilk to see if there was any alcohol in my milk or not, this was really helpful so that I didn’t have to throw out my milk.
- I brought a permanent marker to label my milk.
- I brought a cooler and a bag of ice to transport my milk back home.
- I brought Medela sterilizing bags (from Cravings) to clean my pump in the microwave because it is much quicker than boiling water.
- I brought a small breast pump drying rack (comes with brushes to clean the pump).
What happened when I came home?
After taking the bottle well all weekend, Odin breastfed as soon as I came home! It was such a freeing feeling & I had a small tear!
The craziest thing is that I came home with an oversupply of milk rather than a decrease. I think it truly helped to pump every two hours for 5 minutes!
If you are leaving your EBF child, I really hope these tips help you! And if you need anything at all, feel free to reach out to me!