Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Mona Hickey

Posted By: Mona Hickey

I went back to work at eight weeks. The biggest fear I have is that my milk is going to dry up. I can't stress out because it zaps milk supply! How do I keep zen about something I have become obsessed with?

There's an opportunity I was offered a few weeks ago to travel out of town for business. Normally, I would jump at the opportunity because business travel marries my love for my work with my love for getting out of mom duty! My previous trips were taken before I had my second child and when my first son was already weaned. So now I have to consider if the time away from nursing my son at night and pumping on the road is worth it.

There are definite benefits to saying yes. Outside of my job, I don't get much time for myself. Our baby sleeps in the bed with us so I can co-sleep and nurse which shrinks our bed considerably. I spend most of my mornings rushing to brush my older son's teeth and prepare my baby's bottles for daycare. I'm lucky if I get the time to unhinge my jaw long enough to shove a graham cracker inside. At night, we're making dinner, talking about our days and drawing baths and often I'm so exhausted, I can only read a book in one-page chunks before I pass out.

During business travel, I get a space that I can call mine. I love the little soaps and shampoos in the hotel bathroom. I love having a bed all to myself, one with fluffy comforters and extra pillows that I don't have to make the next day. I love ordering a room service burger and welcoming it into my warren. The TV flickers with the shows I want to watch, no cartoons allowed. I get to network with other adults and learn about the exciting things other people are doing. No one is asking me for permission slips or to make treats for the class party. I am asked about what I do in my career, not if my baby is sleeping through the night.

But during my last trip, I didn't have to worry about nursing or pumping. My son was three and my husband could handle the few nights without me. I know my husband is capable of managing the house on his own, but it's different now. There are two kids instead of one. It'll be different for my baby to get a bottle exclusively since my husband can't physically breastfeed and refuses to wear any supplementary nursing device. The nerve!

And then there's the question of pumping itself. If I did go, I know I could pump and store the bottles in the hotel fridge. I have enough milk stashed in the freezer that if I didn't schlep the milk home, my son would be okay. But I would hate to lose the milk I worked on since my low supply is such a dilemma as it is. Like if I were starving and emptying sandwich platters into a dumpster.

I would love to go not just for the room service and the hotel slippers, but because the opportunity would be instrumental for my career. The topic is important to me and would strengthen interests I already have. But what is the cost of furthering my career when my number one priority — my baby — factors in so greatly? I'm still mulling the idea if I should just wait until another opportunity comes my way and if my career can afford staying grounded in the meantime.

Have you traveled for work while breastfeeding?

12:00pm on Monday January 24
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4 comments

Comments



Kristen Flynn
9:14pm on Thursday February 24

I traveled for work a few times while I was breastfeeding my daughter. Thankfully each of my trips was only for a night or two. I traveled with my pump, ice packs and soft-sided cooler. I requested a refrigerator in my hotel rooms (it's a good idea to request on before you arrive!). On the way home I packed my bags of breast milk in my soft-sided cooler and declared that I had a cooler and liquids when I went through security. I had a couple of bottles of milk that I hadn't transferred to bags and the security personnel asked if they could open them to check for explosives. They offered to let me open them so that no one else would be touching my milk. I thought that was nice. It was a little awkward on the trip where I was traveling with a male associate, but thankfully he was a father and had a wife who had breastfed, so he could sympathize.
Overall, it was worth the trip to feel like I was still able to do my job while I was breastfeeding. I didn't want to feel that breastfeeding was holding my job performance back.

Jennifer
2:01pm on Thursday February 24

I traveled to San Diego for five days for a work conference but I brought my 5 month old son and husband along. Guess it would defeat the purpose of why you want to go if you bring them along though :.) I'd go anyway stash your milk in the mini fridge and enjoy.

Karina Lee
1:29pm on Thursday February 24

I think you should take the trip. It's only a few days. But it's up to you to decide what's better for your family in the long run

Kate Walker
12:36pm on Thursday February 24

This is such a challenge. I have put off traveling without my son in order to continue breastfeeding and avoud pumping. Anything to avoid pumping!

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