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What are the chances of being able to leave a bf 5.5 month old with her dad for 3-4 days?

(18 Posts)
Booboostoo Mon 15-Aug-11 16:04:15

Planning ahead for my sanity...I have an annual get together with some friends based around a horsey event in mid-late November in the UK (we are in France). What are the chances I will be able to leave bfing DD with her dad for 3-4 days so I can go have fun? At the moment (2.5 months) she is still bfing a lot and getting away for 2 hours involves masses of expressing. Are things likely to be better by 5.5 months or am I deluding myself? (I assume she won't start solids till about 6 months so that's no help but correct me if I am wrong!).

Shoutymomma Mon 15-Aug-11 16:12:03

Start freezing it now!! She will feed less often, but more hungrily, so you will still need the volume. What are your thoughts about topping up with fake?

Secondtimelucky Mon 15-Aug-11 16:14:56

Um, honestly, I'd have thought three to four days would be difficult. She will still be eating solely milk, so although she will probably feed less often, it will be at least as much overall. You will also need to pump pretty frequently to keep up your supply for that long and to avoid discomfort.

Also, you will have to get her totally happy with a bottle. I'm not sure what the risks are of developing a bottle preference at that age, but how would you feel if she did?

Is there any chance your DH could come with you and stay nearby maybe?

Booboostoo Mon 15-Aug-11 16:15:10

I'm going to be very busy with the pump then I take it!!! smile

I haven't used formula so far and if I make it to 5.5 months without doing so it might be a shame to change it all then. I suspect I probably would not go if formula was the alternative but perhaps I am being too prescious about it all?

Booboostoo Mon 15-Aug-11 16:16:57

Unfortunately DH has to stay at home and look after our numerous animals otherwise the whole thing would cost too much.

I will be in an indoor horsey arena all day long so pumping won't be the easiest.

Damn sounds like a resounding no then...

lilham Mon 15-Aug-11 16:17:42

Will you consider formula? Then your only worry will be to get your little one to take a bottle. If you read the threads around here you'll see many bf babies refuse bottles sad

lilham Mon 15-Aug-11 16:21:18

Ok see your preference for not using formula. Google kellymom. There's a page on how much ebm your little one will need each day. Assuming she'll take a bottle wink

HappyAsASandboy Mon 15-Aug-11 16:21:42

At 5.5 months, and well into weaning, I was still feeding every 3 hours or so. The feeds were faster, but I think about the same volume regardless of age (Kellymom also indicates that the volume per day remains the same from about 1 month to about 6 months.

So, if you wanted to leave baby, you'd need to express enough for about 25oz per day, plus some for emergencies (you may be delayed, DH may drop a bottle, baby may have many short feeds
And milk get wasted in bottle ...) and be certain that baby will take a bottle reliably, in the day and at night.

In my case, it wouldn't have worked at all. It would have taken me forever to express enough, my DH would have been overwhelmed, my babies wouldn't have settled at night, and they dont reliable take bottles. I leave them for a day or evening occasionally, but they're always hungry and awake when I come back. Now they are nearly
10 months, I feel a bit more relaxed because they can have food if they're hungry, but they still nerd me as bf is their beat comfort. Bedtimes would be a nightmare without boobs!

Would it be the end of the world to miss it? Can you plan to go and see how things are closer to the time? Perhaps you could do a trial run at 4 months or something and see how DH gets on (with you still close)?

lynniep Mon 15-Aug-11 16:23:06

I dont mean to put a downer on it, but it needs thinking through.

Firstly - are you sure you're ok about leaving DD for 3-4 days? Sounds like you are, but I was in theory and when it came to the crunch, theres no way I could have left my babies for that long at that age.

How do you think DD will feel about it? ( I know I know she's a baby but do you think it will cause her distress if you go away for that long?)
If you are going to do this, you need to get her started on a bottle SOON (and I dont mean on formula, I mean major expressing) so she's used to it. I dont mean exclusive bottle, but at least one or two feeds a day.

Solids are pretty irrelevant at 5.5 months. She'll need the same amount of milk. Are you prepared to give up bf when she's that young, because there's a chance she'll get used to the bottle and will be unwilling to accept the breast when you get back?

And also, when I left my DS overnight once at 4.5 months, my boobs were killing me. I couldnt express it enough - I left at 4am to get home so I could get DS on there to drain them!

How is DH/DP about it - are you doing everything at the mo, or is he getting 'down and dirty' so to speak. He will need training up too if he's not massively hands on. My DH would NOT have coped with a 5.5. month old overnight, especially for 3 nights.

I dont begrudge you at all for wanting to plan ahead for some fun, but it might be a little optimistic!

Hellishday Mon 15-Aug-11 16:27:51

I had to leave dd with dh when she was 8 weeks old due to a family
Emergency, and stopped b-f virtually overnight, which was difficult but had to do it.
I remember thinking I would explode.
I wasn't too fussed about doing it for much longer, but obviously you want to. I have no idea how you would manage it unless you froze lots in advance.

AmuseYourBouche Mon 15-Aug-11 16:37:13

Doesn't sound practical to me. You could probably express enough milk in time, but your supply would be so messed up...having to pump all the time while you're away, most probably rebuild your supply when you get back to DD. For me it wouldn't be worth it!

There's always next year.

lurkingmurking Mon 15-Aug-11 17:24:08

I left DS for 2 nights when he was 5 months for a hen night - I went on to bf him for 9 months but that weekend really really buggered up my supply tbh and it was a slippery slope down sad but I know why (I think)

I expressed tons and that was absolutely fine (he would switch happily between breast and bottle) but DH did have to give him formula for a couple of bottles as he took him out for the day and was worried about how to handle the bm out and about (unfreezing/heating etc etc)

I stupidly left my electric double pump at home and had a crap manual one which I didn't use nearly enough - I was having loads of fun and tbh I just didn't want to be away from the group (selfish!). I remember the second morning being in tears in the shower because my boobs hurt so much and I couldn't pump effectively.

So if you go, take a FAB pump and make yourself do it and hopefully it'll be ok.

cory Mon 15-Aug-11 17:32:10

I did this to go to a conference abroad when dd was about that age: she was fine and I was ok, though I did have to sneak off occasionally and express in the loo. But then I had no problems with supply (was already filling the freezer and sending milk to the bottle bank) and dd was used to taking the occasional bottle.

prettybird Mon 15-Aug-11 17:40:50

I left ds when he was 6 months old for 9 days to go skiing with dh (long story as to the background of why).

I had been back at work since ds was 4.5 months old so was used to expressing. I expressed loads extra and managed to build up a stockpile sufficient to last him while we were away. When he dropped his 10pm feed (I was lucky enough to have a ds who slept through from a very early age), I kept it going as an "express" for the freezer. I was also able to express more during the day than he actually needed, so was able to build up stocks from that too.

It really depends on how good you/your body is at expressing. I had started at 2 weeks (ironically enough, 'cos ds wasn't gaining weight) so was well used to it.

How good is your expressing technique? Are you alternating regularly? It's not like feeding - you are supposed to switch over frequently (eg, 5 minites on each boob, then 3, then 2, then 1).

Remember too to factor in expressing while you are away.

My trip was during the foot and mouth crisis - I filled the chalet freezer while I was away (expressing on the slopes and once even in a crowded restaurant in a blizzard with no-one realising what I was doing!) - I was almost disappointed not to be stopped on the way home and challenged on the "milk products" I was bringing in to the country grin

tasmaniandevilchaser Mon 15-Aug-11 17:42:01

I left dd with Grandparents for 2-3 days when she was 6 mths old. She was ebf at the time. It did work, but I did leave loads of frozen bm and I absolutely had to pump at least twice a day. I didn't normally have a great supply, never leaked or needed breast pads or felt particularly 'full', so I imagine if your supply feels a bit more plentiful, then you will need to pop off and pump during the day. It didn't affect my supply too much, I did a lot of bf when I got back and it returned to normal quite quickly, but I did put some effort in.

Booboostoo Tue 16-Aug-11 08:37:28

Thank you very much everyone that is very useful information.

DD takes the bottle now about once every other day to give me a bit of time to do other things (DH is recovering from an op so can't drive at the moment). She seems to be a very greedy baby and will eat out of anything but it's hard work to express enough for those small breaks so I think I will struggle to stock pile!

DH is very hands on but of course 3-4 days on his own would be a challenge! I did 6 days on my own when he was in hospital and it was tough juggling a 5 week old, 4 dogs, 4 horses and a cat!!!

prettybird I didn't know that about expressing. I usually express from one breast only as the moment DD smells the milk she wants to feed, even if she has just fed anyway, so I usually have the baby at one breast and the pump on the other! Last night I made the mistake of teasing her, she had just eaten and I wanted to show the DH that she recognises the nipple...so I showed her my breast from a distance and that was it, I was in for another 1/2 hour of feeding!
Feeding seems to be her favourite occupation!

So overall sounds like I probably won't be able to make it this year, oh well there is always next year and very soon DD can start coming with, she's already attended her first local show!

VeronicaCake Tue 16-Aug-11 09:00:35

Have to agree with all the above. DD would probably be fine with a big stash of expressed milk (and depending on how you felt about it formula in an emergency) but you would struggle to stay comfortable for that length of time. I left DD for 2 nights to go to a conference when she was 11m and that was pretty excruciating even though by then she was only feeding morning and evening and I was pumping morning and evening.

I realise you are still at the limpet stage where any kind of break sounds like manna from heaven. By 5.5m you'll be less physically tied to her anyway and you might actually find being away from her for 4 days quite emotionally draining. I had my first day away from DD just before I went back to work when she was 7m (shopping for work clothes I could easily pump in - ooh the glamour) and found myself getting teary by lunchtime. But I might be unusually soppy.

Yesmynameis Tue 16-Aug-11 16:44:50

A friend of mine left her 12wk DD to go to a festival. The DC was bottle fed ebm and ff whilst the mum was away, who took a hand pump to the festival and intended to pump every 3 hours during the day to keep her up her supply.

However, in the event I don't think she managed to pump every 3 hours and in reality the pumping was really just to take the edge off her discomfort.

It did bugger up her supply and she never really went back to bf after she came back, not that she was that bothered as she felt it was a good time for her to stop anyway. So actually, having read that back, it was probably more to do with the fact that she was ready to stop anyway and maybe therefore didn't make the greatest of efforts to get it back again on her return. Probably just depends on each individual woman and how sensitive your supply is I suppose.

I personally wouldn't take the risk as it would upset me to have to stop bf before I was ready. Although, like VeronicaCake I am probably another unusually soppy one as my personal best for leaving DD at 10mo is 4 hours smile

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