Traveling Without Your Infant

My husband and I recently took our first trip without our baby. As nerve-wracking as it was, I didn’t feel quite as anxious as I thought I might, and I attribute that to being (overly) prepared. I might have overdone the lists and instructions for my parents, but I think it ultimately helped to ease my mind more than it assisted them while we were away. I’ve had a few people ask me for some tips for traveling without the babe, so I thought I would share.

My son was 8 months old when we traveled so he’s at the point where he’s eating 3 meals a day but also relies on breastmilk 5-6 times a day. Unfortunately he’s not fully sleeping through the night by my definition (another post for another day) but he is by the “official” definition (i.e. he sleeps for 8-9 hours in a stretch, gets up wanting to nurse, and then goes back to sleep for 2-3 hours). I feel like the sleeping part was what gave me the most anxiety. I am used to getting up with him at 3 or 4 AM but I didn’t want to burden my parents with that (if you’re reading this GramTam – I know you didn’t mind at all, but still).

Another aspect of the trip was trying to pump and keep my milk supply up while we were in the airport, out all day, at baseball games, etc. This part was actually very comical throughout the whole trip. I honestly hadn’t pumped in a few months prior to the trip because my milk supply had leveled off to the point where I was only making what R needed during the day and no more. Thankfully, I had a good supply in the freezer from the early months so he had plenty while I was gone. (Note to self: pump more during months 1-4 next time). Since we only took a carry-on and I wasn’t traveling with the kiddo, I had to dump my milk during the trip – wah wah wah – I hate doing that especially when I have had so many struggles with milk supply throughout the past nine months.

Here’s the breakdown of the lists I made for my parents (sorry, I didn’t think about taking pictures):

  • Medical:
    • Pediatrician – name, phone number, address, emergency number
    • Closest Urgent Care and Emergency Room – address, phone number, hotline number
    • Copy of R’s insurance card
    • Signed statement from Nick and myself giving permission for R to be treated if medically necessary
  • Schedule:
    • Sleeping – including naps and bedtime tentative times to put him down
      • pointers to get him to settle down as well as our bedtime routine (bath, lotion, jammies, nurse, books, bed)
    • Meals – tentative times as well as what he eats and how much (I actually set out and labeled all the food for each meal)
    • Bath – mainly just locating everything
  • Medicine:
    • Tylenol – how much
  • Other:
    • Meal ideas for my parents – I prepared 1-2 meals for them in advance, but I also left them with a list of local food places
    • Garage code

Pump N’ Dump:

Ugh, this was way different that I anticipated when we left. I decided to just take a hand pump (used a Medela one located here) because we only took a carry on bag. I don’t regret this because it was easy and I could stick it in my purse while we were out and about – you should have seen the look on the security guard’s face when he searched my purse as we were going into the game. I would’ve given anything to read his mind right at that moment!

I tried to pump at least every 3-4 hours to keep on R’s schedule, but it was tough. I pumped in bathroom stalls multiple times including once in the hotel lobby bathroom because our hotel room wasn’t ready yet – it really was a moment where I just had to laugh it off. I was in the 2 stall bathroom and another woman came into the other stall right after I started pumping. I was trying to pump quietly because I guess I was a little bit self-conscious but we ultimately ended up playing the “wait it out” game with each other – you all know what I’m talking about. Eventually I just stopped pumping because it had literally been 10 minutes of both of us sitting there, turned around and dumped the milk in the toilet. Only after I did that did I realize that she could for sure see my feet and probably noticed that they were facing the toilet while 6 ounces of liquid splashed in – I can’t even imagine what she was thinking. But hey, this isn’t the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me since having a baby.

I will admit it was nice to have a drink without worrying about having to feed R. Not going to lie though, I had to pump the brakes after 1.5 beers because I’m apparently a light weight these days!

I hope these starter tips help any of you who are getting ready to take your first trip away! It is very scary leaving your babe for the first time, but a little preparation goes a long way. I found myself not once worrying about – “oh I hope I told them about ____ ” because I knew I had covered most of my bases and because they are his grandparents and have obviously raised kids before. Don’t sweat it and don’t feel guilty about taking time for you and your spouse – you need it! Your family is only as strong as the relationship that started it so take time to nurture your marriage.

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