A day away from your baby after several months of being joined at the hip, or rather joined at the nip, is definitely something new mums deserve to enjoy.
My first full day away from my youngest was a few weeks ago when she was about to turn six months. I attended a friend’s wedding where kids weren’t invited, except for those of close family.
Now I’m all for this. I think it’s totally the bride and groom’s decision who they have at their special day. Plus they are footing the bill after all! I know it can spark controversy among some. I agree with an exclusively breastfed newborn it could be tricky. But now I’m in my 30s if I had a party where everyone’s kids were invited they would outnumber the grown ups. They would probably attempt some sort of mini coup!
Bubba Two was used to the bottle so I left her with some Aptamil which she’s had here and there when I’ve needed a break ever since she was born. Having stressed myself out with exclusive pumping with Bubba One (see more on this here) I think supplementing with formula is great. It means mum doesn’t have to worry about giving herself extra work by finding time to pump.
My only worry, rather selfishly, was me. More specifically my boobs. The agony of overflowing boobs is a constant nagging pain and you feel like you’re carrying bags of heavy flour in your bra. Then there’s that awkward moment when someone goes to hug you and don’t feel it appropriate to warn them your chest is about to explode so you let them squeeze you. You then have to quickly look down at both of you to check you haven’t lactated on both outfits. There’s also the worry about getting a clogged duct or even mastitis.
I took my Medela Swing pump and made sure it had fresh batteries and the plug just in case I had to pump somewhere without a plug point handy. I was away from my baby for about 12 hours. I pumped twice at the wedding and once when I got home. The wedding party were super accommodating and the bride let me pump in her room and then the maid of honour let me use her room with a friend in the same boat, so we had a pumping party!
Although it did offer some relief, to be honest the pump didn’t really do the job fully. I pumped about 350ml in total but still felt a bit uncomfortable. I probably didn’t pump for long enough each time as I was desperate to get back to the fun.
So it was a relief when after arriving home at 9pm my baby woke at 10pm wanting a drink. First time I’ve ever used those words in that scenario!
Here are my tips for leaving your breastfed baby for a day:
- Remember your kit. That includes batteries or a manual pump if you can’t guarantee a plug, bottles and lids.
- Bring a cooler and freezer bricks. If you want to keep the milk you’ll need to keep it cold to transport it home.
- Put maternity pads in your bra and bring spares.
- Set a reminder on your phone. If you’re at a party it can easily slip your mind that you need to pump. Set an alarm on your phone so you don’t end up with two wet patches on your pretty party dress.
- Ask ahead if there’s a private room you can use.
- Remember you’ll need to access your boobs at least once when picking your outfit. I wore a dress that needed unzipping and pulling half off to pump but I could do the zip down and up myself. When you’re in private it doesn’t matter if you have to get half naked.
- Try to pump for at least 10 minutes each side.
- Most importantly, have an amazing time.