The blog has been a little quiet because I’m recovering from a long weekend away in Brisbane… Sans bebe! We got invited to our friends wedding long before baby arrived and jumped at RSVPing. I calculated the baby would be seven and a half months old and like an inexperienced mum figured the baby would be totes fine ya’ll. Heh.
The reaction from people about leaving her had been mixed.. A few people said it was a great idea, others said “hmmm” and just smiled and lots said “you’re brave, I couldn’t do that!!”. My honest feelings were mixed and as I’m so indecisive I went back and forth from feeling ok about it, to doubting if I’d made the right decision.
Our reasons for leaving baby were because the stress and worry of having to travel internationally was remarkably higher than the worry of leaving her with my (very capable) family, plus the cost associated with taking a baby overseas when we’re on one salary was just a bit of a stretch too far. Plus, we really wanted to have a weekend away!!
No offence but I think parents should be able to do things for themselves and not feel shit about it. I mean, kids are a lot more resilient than people give them credit for and parents are people too!
The baby actually was fine, as evidenced by the many snapchats we got of her having fun, but I had to do a lot of work getting her and I ready for those three days of freedom and separation anxiety (mine). I also found there was nothing out there giving advice on how to prep for a stint away from baby so with all that said, here is what made life easier for me if you’re embarking on the same adventure:
– Get baby into a good bedtime routine.
Ours is milk > play > food > bath > pjs > milk > story > calming cuddles > sleeping bag > bed.
Be 100% consistent so baby expects sleep. Mackenzie is such a sucker for the routine that she starts yawning during story time then rubs her eyes when being zipped into her sleeping bag. Once you’ve nailed it get dad to do it all, then grandma, then uncle or aunty… You get the picture. The plan is to get baby recognising the routine regardless of who’s doing it.
If you’re interested, our nap routine is nappy change > story > cuddles > sleeping bag > bed.
– If breastfeeding, make sure baby can feed from a bottle.
I started offering little top ups after each feed and not getting too bothered if she didn’t take it, then I got lazy and stopped offering so she went off it and I had to start all over again!! Now I breastfeed at the start of the bedtime routine and do a half bottle before bed each night to keep her in the habit. This has the added bonus of tanking her up with food before bedtime in the hope that she’d sleep some longer stretches.
– Get baby familiar with whoever will be looking after them.
This was not an issue for us as I can barely keep my family away, but is a good tip if that’s not the case for you!
– Prep whatever you need for baby’s routine to continue as per normal.
Before we left I made sure we were up to date on..
– Baby’s washing
– Baby’s solids (I make our own so got a whole lot prepped and in the freezer)
– Baby’s cloth nappies all washed
– Medication stocked up with instructions
I also checked that:
– Mum knew how to assemble our pram
– I’d written out a rough routine for mum to refer to
– Mum came and stayed with us a night and day before we left to learn the routine
And then we left…!
Being away was the part I had to really plan out!! I wanted to continue breast feeding when I came home so I had to do a lot of work while over there.
The biggest thing in my arsenal was a good quality breast pump, I have the Medela Swing single pump. I also took:
– Spare batteries
– Wet wipes (to clean on the go)
– Dishwash liquid decanted into a travel size bottle for cleaning the pump while in the hotel room
– Spare valves
– A large bottle to pump milk into
– Plastic milk storage bags (optional if you’re happy to pump and dump!)
– Small chilly bag (for storing milk)
– Slicker/freezer pad (to keep milk cool when you’re travelling home)
– Lots of pictures and videos of baby on your phone (if this helps with your let down)
– Set up appointments in my phone calendar to remind me to stop and pump
– Lactation cookies, fenugreek and blessed thistle which I started taking 24 hours before we got home. This was the best thing I did as my supply took a bit of a dive when I was pumping, probably because a pump is not as effective at removing milk from your breast. The most important factor for good milk supply is the effective removal of milk.
After all is said and done, it was definitely a good experience. We got to have time out from baby and missed her intensely while we were gone. But we also got to catch up with old friends and family, shop, eat food in a restaurant without juggling the baby, DRINK and not have to deal with a baby and a hangover and enjoy each others time again! Plus we learned that our daughter is a little rock star who is super resilient and can thrive in the care of others.
Any other parents out there who want to fess up about going away without baby?
Do you have any tips to add?