Three months ago, when Annabelle was a mere two months old and I was suffering from social isolation on maternity leave, I decided to book a flight to attend my friend’s bachelorette party in Park City, Utah, in January. I know what you’re thinking; a bachelorette party in UTAH! How are we going to get drunk and watch strippers in Utah? Isn’t fun kind of a sin there? Well actually, we’re thinking more along the lines of partying with celebs at the SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL!!! How cool, right? I should be so excited to party with Ryan Gosling, right?

Well…actually, I’ve been anxiety ridden about this trip for weeks (maybe even since I booked it, oops!). When Annabelle was two months old, the thought of her at six months in January sounded like light years away — like she’d be halfway grown already! But now that I’m here, she’s still very much my wittle baby. And of course now I feel guilty about leaving her. I feel sad thinking she’s going to miss me, but she’ll have her daddy and my in-laws will be here helping out as well, so she’ll be well taken care of. The other day my friend asked me if I’ve called my doctor to ask about when babies experience separation anxiety. I’m all; THANKS A LOT! Now you’ve gone and put that thought in my head. Bring on MORE guilt, please! I Googled this and separation anxiety doesn’t start until they’re much older, so I think we’re in the clear. Hell, I’ll be the one with separation anxiety, not Annabelle. I mean, I even have it now two weeks before I leave!

Pump, pump, PUMP, repeat

This will be me in Utah, except I'll be drinking wine, not water

Another BIG source of anxiety for me: pumping around the clock on my trip. Back when I booked this trip, I didn’t think I’d still be breastfeeding anymore, so that was supposed to be a non-issue. Fast forward a few months and ta-dah, I’m still going strong with the breastfeeding! So now we’ve got a situation where I’m going to be on a girl’s trip, running around all weekend, and I somehow have to find time to pump five times a day! Now this is really freaking me out. How am I going to do this? It’s not like we’re going to be in our hotel room the whole time – or much at all. So am I supposed to just duck into the bathroom for 20 minutes to pump every few hours? Ugh! I so don’t want to lug my bigass electric pump into bars and restaurants all weekend.

Soooooo, I actually purchased a manual Medela breast pump this weekend, which is much more portable and can easily fit into a purse for discreetness. And so far, it works great! I’ve already used it a couple times and it works rather quickly, actually. I was thinking it would take forever, but it was about the same time as the electric pump, only my hand was a little tired afterward! But there are less parts than the electric pump, with less set up/take down. I just sat down comfortably on my couch and pumped away without tubes and cords plugged into the wall trapping me in my seat. It was only $35, so I definitely think it’s worth the money for quick, convenience pumping (definitely not for every day, multiple pumping sessions, though). This way, I won’t be stuck in a club with my boobs cramping up and me practically clawing at the door to get out so I can pump. I can go to the restroom and take care of business without searching for a plug!

Of course there’s one more foreseeable thing to deal with — bringing pumped breastmilk back home. If I pump while I’m out and about, I need to be able to get that milk in a freezer ASAP. Then, I need to transport frozen b-milk on the plane. Sounds like a hassle. Obviously, being on a girl’s trip means I’ll be drinking a bit more than normal because I don’t have to worry about getting my baby tipsy with my alcohol laced breastmilk. So that means I may have to pump and dump for the first time. This is heartbreaking. Throwing out breastmilk is like throwing away liquid gold!! I’ll probably cry for a minute.

So when I’m not anxious over leaving my baby home without her mama, and I’m not psyching myself up about how annoying pumping is going to be while on my trip, I could actually get excited about this! I know once I’m there I’ll figure it out and enjoy myself. And when I’m back home a mere three days later, I’ll laugh at how much worrying I did over this trip. But like any new mom would be, I’m nervous to leave my baby.

If any of you moms have tips or stories about traveling without your baby, pumping on vacation, etc., please add them in the comments section. I need all the advice I can get!

5 Comments on Traveling without baby — fears over separation anxiety and pumping around the clock!

  1. Don’t feel guilty! After 6 months of new mommyhood, you deserve a little break and you’re allowed to have some fun! You’ll come back refreshed and rejuvenated. And having you come back as a relaxed, happy, stress-free mama will be good for your baby!

  2. I know it’s only natural, but try not to feel guilty about the girls weekend away. After 6 months of new mommyhood (which I know can be really draining), you deserve a little break and time for yourself! Come back refreshed and rejuvenated. When you come home as a happy, relaxed, stress-free mama, it’ll be better for both you and Annabelle!

  3. Thanks ‘Talking Thirty’! It’s nice to hear reassurance, because it’s funny how people are quick to give you the stink eye and tell you that it’s too soon to leave your baby! Once women become moms, EVERYBODY has an opinion on how you should do things. It’s only 3 days, Annabelle will be fine. (Of course I feel a pang of guilt as soon as I type that!)

  4. Do you have an updated post about how the trip went? I am about to embark on a similar trip and having the same fears and anxieties as you had about trying to pump while we’re on the go for a girls weekend. Would love some reassurance that it all worked out and any tips/advice you have from your experience. Thanks!

  5. Hi Dana,

    Here is a link to my follow up post to my bachelorette weekend/pumping away from baby dilemma: http://lifeatthirtysomething.com/2012/01/what-my-girl%E2%80%99s-weekend-taught-me-about-motherhood%E2%80%A6/. I can tell you that as a first time mother it was a little rough. I did it — it all ended up fine, brought home frozen milk on the short flight and all. But I missed my girl like crazy. BUT, for my second kid, I traveled twice while he was in his first year and I just made it work and enjoyed myself! The difference on the second time around was that I became a SAHM so I was DYING for baby-free time, so I embraced all the pumping to make it happen! Good luck girl, let me know if you have any follow up questions!

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