Vacation, breastmilk and detachment
Hey hey hey,
How are you doing? I am doing FANTASTIC, hubby and I took some time away from the daily routine and it was so refreshing. I was near the point of burnout and hit the refresh button by planning a childfree vacation with my husband. I started with my preparations last year, including child care and ensuring that my 8 month baby girl who has never had a bottle, was independently sleeping and eating solids. Everything was going according to my plan in terms of preparing my kids to be away from me for 6 days, the longest any of them had ever been without my physical presence, and it would be the first time the baby and I were apart. Given that we’ve never been apart, I was convinced my body would respond with constant engorgement, so I took my electric pump on the trip to pump and dump. In a surprise turn of events, my supply progressively decreased, and I knew this because on day 1 I pumped the usual full bottle from each side, and by day 3 I could go 8 hours without any engorgement and only pumped 4-6oz total per session.
What happened to my supply?
My milk supply responds to a nursing baby, not pumping without the nursing. However, I did not pump every 2hrs which is how much Logan would nurse, even after I introduced solids. Sometimes she would just nurse for hours while we snuggled before sunrise (it was exhausting).
My water intake on the trip was terrible, I drank 36-48oz daily when I normally drink 96oz or more.
I did not video chat with my the baby. While I spoke with my babies, spoke about them, and to them pretty regularly (I even watched them play outside), I did not actively converse with Logan through video to make the brain, hormone, body connection. Is this a real thing? Yes, and I can’t be convinced otherwise.
I did not fully empty my breast the first few days.
What happened with Logan?
She was in the care of another, and not nursing so she clung to her goodie for comfort and security, but this meant that when I got back home, she had to reconnect with me as a source of comfort. When her goodie passed her to me she just gave me the biggest pout, and took a while to show her personality. I did attempt to nurse her, but that was an exercise in futility as she was just trying to find comfort in my presence and embrace once again.
This did not worry me because it’s happened to me before, with Liam. I had to go home to Nassau for a weekend, and Liam spent that time with his dad at our house. My supply did not take a hit because I was pumping very frequently with a hand pump (not electric and I believe this makes a difference for me). However, when I returned, not only was he not sure he wanted to deal with me then, he did not want to nurse for a while. Mind you, Liam has never had a bottle, but that didn’t stop my absence from impacting him. Within a few hours he was back nursing and giving mommy all the smiles.
Did Logan come around?
Of course she did! By the time her dad’s flight landed a few hours after mine, she was nursing, and taking comfort in something familiar, albeit fleeting. She was overjoyed to see her father, as all my kids consistently are; I take joy in seeing them respond to their father’s presence that way. Once her dad embraced her, she got even more reattached to me.
Where do we go from here?
I do not plan on helping my supply rebound, I would like for her to stop nursing completely by her birthday, but until then, she will nurse in the morning and at nap time while the milk lasts. I will resume drinking 96oz of water daily and maintain my normal vitamin regimen (I’ve ONLY ever taken prenatals).
I have breastmilk stored in the freezer and will use that in her oatmeal, sippy cup to make sure she is getting milk. I am truly thankful she was so welcoming of solid food and is quite curious as well, it has been a smooth process. Not only that, our new schedule with her meals has her ready for sleep nightly, and getting herself to sleep instead of me helping her. This independence is beautiful and
we are both happier.
Why you shouldn't fear if you want to go on vacation?
Your baby won't forget you. Taking security and comfort in another adult when mommy is absent is normal and healthy, and switching caregivers is not always stress free for babies. Plan to spend the first few hours just holding and talking to baby.
Pump often and maintain your water intake.
You don't have to go for 6 days, try going for a weekend getaway to test it out.
Go when your baby is older than 6 months and your supply is well established.
Video your baby daily to remind your body it has someone to feed (brain-hormone-body connection).
Your supply rebounds with food, water, pumping for 15 mins after each nursing session. Coconut water, (vita malt if you're not on a diet or sugar free), oatmeal, add some brewer's yeasts to your smoothie and you will notice a rebounding.
Using a hand pump is more effective at totally emptying the breast and therefore triggering filling up.
Stress is the worst thing you can do for your milk supply.
Diminished supply has zero reflection on you as a person, a fed baby is a perfect baby.
So, that was ya girl’s experience taking her first solo couple’s vacay since having children, have you ever experienced anything like this? Let me know in the comments below. If you have any questions, ask away, I can guarantee someone else also wants that question answered.
Until next time, remember:
You can purchase my book Broke Down Christians on amazon here, it will add tremendous value to your life.
To see more pics from my vacation check out my IG page Shonda Angelou.
Grace & Peace,