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To take my baby to a conference

(102 Posts)
LovelyBranches Tue 01-Mar-16 16:19:56

I work for a company that will be holding a conference in a couple of months. It's 4-5 hours away and will be from Monday afternoon to Thursday 5pm.

I have a 16 month old who is a terrible sleeper. Has never slept through, relies on me breastfeeding to sleep and has never let my DH put him to bed, he just stays up screaming. Dh is so gentle and calm with him but DS wont accept anything other than me. I've never left him overnight and am really daunted by the thought of leaving for 4 days and realistically, 4 nights. He currently goes to nursery for a few days a week and I look after him at home for the other days.

The conference is in a nice seaside town and my DM has offered to come to the conference with me and DS and she would look after him in the day and I could look after him in the evening. She would stay in my hotel room with me and DS and would use the opportunity as a chance of a break as she hasn't got any holidays booked this year.

The hotel I would have to stay in would also be hosting lots of my colleagues who often go out for meals and drinks together and use it as a massive social opportunity. Obviously I would miss all of this but I'm really not bothered as I'm big a big drinker.

So the options available are;
1. Ds stays at home, goes to nursery everyday (until late as DH works long hours). I wont see DS and he will have a completely different routine to normal. I am 4-5 hours away. This option makes me feel anxious and will certainly stop me being able to breastfeed (which isn't essential at this age, but I would work with DS to wean him off rather than have this decision made for us).

2. I go to the conference, take DS and DM on a very long journey. I don't participate in staff evening activities and maybe alienate myself from colleagues. Dh misses out on seeing DS for a week.

What would you do?

cestlavielife Tue 01-Mar-16 16:24:51

why would dh miss seeing him for a whole week when its only mon to thursday?
if your dm happy to do this why not? they will have fun pottering aorund the seaside in the day
you dont have t go to every dinner and drinking session
dh could come on the thurs or friday night too.

HarrietVane99 Tue 01-Mar-16 16:27:38

I'd at least get your mother her own hotel room, so that when you're with ds she can have some time to herself and go out or go to bed or stay up as she pleases and won't be disturbed if your ds wakes in the night.

coconutpie Tue 01-Mar-16 16:27:44

Number 2 - your baby being less stressed trumps your DH missing him. Bring DS to conference.

Jesabel Tue 01-Mar-16 16:28:41

Personally I would leave my child with my DP without a second thought and enjoy the conference! But, it sounds like we have a different parenting set up to you.

redskytonight Tue 01-Mar-16 16:33:28

Do you have to go to the conference? (Not going sounds like best option).

DH worked away a few times when DS was little and I came with him and stayed in his hotel room (like you're suggesting your DM does). I know your mum has volunteered but being stuck in a hotel room on your own with a toddler is not a barrel of laughs - you don't have all the stuff you normally have at home to fall back on. It'll be fine if they can sit on the beach or something, but what if it chucks it down?

My experience of work conferences is that the evening socialising/networking is really part of the conference so I think you would create a very bad impression if you skipped it.

My suggestion would be to use the time between now in the conference to get DS used to being settled by DH and without being breastfed. 4 days away shouldn't be so long that it affects long term feeding at this age - and you could always express if needed.

LeaLeander Tue 01-Mar-16 16:37:51

Your husband should be able to parent the child in your absence. And the child will have to do without you sooner or later. If there are months until the conference, you have time to change the dynamic with your child.

Is your employer paying for you to attend the conference? If so, it's generally accepted that the employee participate in networking and team building after hours. You don't have to drink.

SweepTheHalls Tue 01-Mar-16 16:40:23

Go to the conference and leave DS at home. Enjoy time with your colleagues and give DH time to be trusted to parent DS. They will be fine smile

Canyouforgiveher Tue 01-Mar-16 16:40:41

My experience of work conferences is that the evening socialising/networking is really part of the conference so I think you would create a very bad impression if you skipped it.

I have organized conferences as part of my job and more and more younger women are doing this - bringing baby/babysitter/mother with them. I think it is fine as long as you really do participate in the full conference. I know women who discreetly leave to pump/feed the baby/leave the dinner/drinks early and it is fine. If you expect a whole different set up as in missing sessions and not going to dinners everyone else is going to, then I wouldn't like it from a work point of view (might still do it if I were you though).

From your baby's point of view, I'd do what will stress you less. That sounds like having baby with you. It could be tough enough for your mum though - I wouldn't see it as a break if I were her.

LovelyBranches Tue 01-Mar-16 16:42:35

Unfortunately yes I do have to go to the conference. Although it's frustrating because the bits I need to be there for are stretched out. I will spend a lot of time hanging around twiddling my thumbs.

We've been trying to work towards DS settling himself, DH being a source of comfort etc, for months. It's just not happening. Ds is very single minded on this and the last time I tried to go out, I put DS to bed. He woke up about 9:30 and despite my DH doing his best, he was awake at 11:30 when I got home having been hysterical most of the time in-between.

Justmuddlingalong Tue 01-Mar-16 16:43:15

I would use this as an opportunity to sort out your DS's bedtime routine. Is it as fraught as it sounds?

FigMango1 Tue 01-Mar-16 16:44:48

I think it would be better to sort the routine out with your Dh. He has to get used to it at some point. Also I don't think it would reflect too well on you to be missing out evening social/ networking events.

Titsalinabumsquash Tue 01-Mar-16 16:46:07

Take him, your baby is more important than you're social stuff at work.

PennyHasNoSurname Tue 01-Mar-16 16:46:44

I honestly dont understand how you get to 16 months and the baby still cant be settled by its own father.

DesertOrDessert Tue 01-Mar-16 16:46:44

We did 1. No BF at that point, but still waking at night, and settled much easier for me than DH.

I think 2 would be seriously frowned on by my old work. The evenings are a pretty fundamental part of conferences. Only you know how your work would respond, or if your mother would be prepared to sit with your son if you worked all day, went to the hotel room for a couple of hours, and then went out again.

Has your DH tried to put your son to bed when you aren't in the house? He may settle much more readily if he knows boob isn't an option.

Difficult decision. Good luck with it (but I don't think 4 days will finish you BF journey at your stage)

Avebury Tue 01-Mar-16 16:50:11

Having also had a breastfed toddler who couldn't settle without me I fully sympathise and if you haven't been in that situation it is so easy to say just leave him with his father and they'll work it out. As you have discovered you often just come home to a hysterical child.
In your shoes I would take my mum but try and do the evening dinners and networking too. Unless of course you want to give up breast feeding in which case you have time between now and then to do it. I didn't manage to stop feeding to sleep until my youngest DS was 2.5. It just wasn't worth the trauma.

HarrietVane99 Tue 01-Mar-16 16:50:43

It could be tough enough for your mum though - I wouldn't see it as a break if I were her.

If op needs to go to the evening events, it definitely won't be much of a break for her mum, as she'll get no time to herself.

NickyEds Tue 01-Mar-16 16:51:46

I'd go and leave your ds with his dad. He'll be fine, 18 months isn't a tiny baby. I'm a big believer in both parents being able to take care of the kids and do bedtime settling etc and you've got a few months to work on it. In the situation you described your dh would have just had to cope if he'd known you weren't coming back, rather than just waiting for your return.

HermioneJeanGranger Tue 01-Mar-16 16:53:21

I think YWBU to take the baby to the conference. Get him used to settling for your DH (it will take more than one go, and it will be tough, but he needs to get used to both parents looking after him).

I think at 16 months, tough as it might be, he should be able to be left with his dad without any real issues.

Jackiebrambles Tue 01-Mar-16 16:58:54

I'm another one who thinks you should go without him and let Daddy take over for a bit. Use the time between now and then to introduce dad into the bedtime routine?

Perhaps do a trial run or two with you out of the house but close by? Your husband sitting with him / cuddling him to sleep might Work instead of breastfeeding to sleep?

Also I went away for 2 nights when my son was 12 months and breastfed. I pumped when I was there and was able to still feed on my return. Could you pump to keep supply?

WeAllHaveWings Tue 01-Mar-16 16:58:58

Excellent opportunity for your dh and ds to get each other. Would be good, but not essential, if your dh could cut his hours a bit those days.

Your ds will settle eventually with your dh if you are not there. First night will be tough but they'll get through it and come out the other side closer.

For a 16 month old toddler you are being a bit precious.

pollyblack Tue 01-Mar-16 17:00:44

I think my gut would say to take baby and mother to babysit. But really i think the best thing would be to leave the baby with dh, i think he needs to be able to look after his own child for a few nights without it being a huge drama even if it will be a bit stressful for all of you. It will be worth it in the long run and think of a few days if freedom.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 01-Mar-16 17:02:27

I would leave the baby with DP, definitely. It'll be too much stress for you trying to juggle work and baby in a new place, and you won't be able to fully engage with work. It's an awful lot for your mum to do.

Your baby will have a similar routine to normal at home - nursery, Daddy, his own bed. I wouldn't even consider bringing him.

Thurlow Tue 01-Mar-16 17:02:52

It's a good compromise to take your DS and your mum.

But - really, that's not much of a break for you mum, is it? Conferences often include a bit more work/networking than you originally imagine they might. Your mum could end up doing pretty much all the childcare for 4 days, which may be either too much for her, at the least not a very nice break.

Secondly, though, I'd say that if your DS refuses to be settled by anyone but you then at some point, surely, it would need to be tackled so that your DH can settle him as well? I would use this as a starting point and work slowly and gently towards your DS feeling comfortable to be settled by someone else.

Obviously you know your work best, but conferences are often seen as something where you are expected to be working/on call for more than your standard 9-5. There's all the networking and that which is part of it. It really depends on your hours at work as well. But how would your work really react if you said that you were coming, but were only available a limited number of hours during the day, and couldn't do anything at all in the evening?

MigGril Tue 01-Mar-16 17:06:01

My friend used to do this all the time with her DD so I don't think your being unreadable at all. She'd take her DH but it worked for them. And I get the not being able to have anyone else settle your child DD was just the same.

I go and take your mum looks like it's getting more acceptable. Make it so in your company to, I'm guessing you may need to do some night time socialising but I'd find that hard even if I was child free as it's not my thing.

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