MUNDE: Anxiety and FOMO: Realities of travelling without your baby for the first time

MUNDE: Anxiety and FOMO: Realities of travelling without your baby for the first time

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  • Carry both a manual breast pump and electric pump

A while back, I was invited for an all expenses paid, weekend girls trip by one of my friends and for the first time for as long as I remember, I didn’t jump at the offer.

The caveat of the trip was that it was a ladies trip only – no husbands and no children.

Everyone needs sometime to unwind and engage in girl talk and fun, but I found myself thinking so hard about whether I should go for the trip and the options I had, one would think I was making a major life decision.

Why was I overthinking and stressing about the free trip to a nice hotel, with a chance to go for a spa session, have good food and relax at the beach?

Well, because I was thinking about how I would cope being away from my baby for two nights.

Yes.

Some of you might think I’m being too much, but the thought of being away from my baby for the first time, for two straight days, actually gave me anxiety.

Mark you, my husband is very capable of taking care of our baby, but I just had anxiety and moreso because she was under six months old.

Apart from the anxiety of being physically away from my baby, I was also apprehensive about how I would handle expressing milk and transporting it back home.

If you are a mother who has exclusively breastfed her baby for the first six months of his/her life, you will know how important it is to continuously express milk, to not only build up your stash of stored milk, but also to prevent a dip in milk supply that comes with not breastfeeding frequently.

Having had a period when I had low supply, I was not willing to deal with another instance of low milk supply, because rebuilding it is not easy.

I had to try every tip available – from eating lactation cookies (which were not cheap. I spent Ksh2,000 on a pack of just 20 biscuits!), to power pumping (which is no fun), all in pursuit of the liquid gold that is breastmilk.

While I was contemplating not going for the trip, another feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) hit me.

The long and short of the story is that I ended up going for the trip and enjoyed it for the most part (when I was not obsessively looking at my CCTV and calling home to find out how baby was doing).

If you’re planning on going for a trip without your baby, here are a few tips to make things easier:

1.    If you exclusively breastfeed or do complementary breastfeeding, try to find out about the accommodation you’ll be using and whether they have a freezer to store your milk after expressing. If you’re covering short distances, you can have a cool pack to transport the milk back home before it thaws. If there’s no freezer and no cool pack, you might still want to express and pour away the milk for the sake of maintaining your milk supply even when you get back home – it sounds like a lot to do, just to pour the milk away, but trust me, it’s more work trying to rebuild low milk supply

2.    Carry both a manual breast pump and electric pump. This applies, especially for those who like using electric pumps. You never know whether power will be out, or your electric pump fails you when you need it the most. Although you can hand express, it is very tedious (I know some say it can work, but not for me).

3.    On the same note, make sure you carry the right charger for your pump. I sometimes use the charger head for my phone and switch it with the one for my electric pump. One uses a type C cable, while the other uses a micro USB cable. I one time ended up mixing up the cables and carried the wrong one and tried hand expressing. Let’s just say it was a frustrating time

4.    Once you express and determine you’ll be able to store your milk, you need to remember to carry breastmilk storage bags

5.    Leave a list of to-do items for your nanny and spouse. As much as they are aware of baby’s routine, sometimes there are things you are used to doing for your baby by yourself that may take some getting used to for caregivers and they might forget. So telling them verbally is not enough. For example, if your baby has a cold and you’ve been administering saline drops, your baby’s caregivers could forget how often this is to be done, even when the baby sneezes, so leave the to-do list

Finally, if you are facing too much anxiety about leaving your baby, just don’t go on that trip. There will be other trips in future when your baby grows.

As always: Keep doing the Johnnie Walker - keep walking the motherhood journey to the best of your ability.

Listen to the First Time Mum Confessions Podcast here.

Send your feedback to: Firsttimemumke@gmail.com or @Clairedudieu 

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Motherhood travel breastfeeding FOMO

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