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expressing and storage without a fridge

(39 Posts)
Elfi35601 Mon 30-Nov-15 10:00:11

Hi everyone, I'm 6 months pregnant with my first and really want some help with my question to stop me worrying! I live in New Zealand but have to travel to the UK for a conference on 17/18 March. I'm due on 15 Feb, so am likely to be travelling with a baby a few weeks old. I'll be on my own, but the company is paying for premium economy so I hope that will help. Also, I have my parents in the UK who will stay at the same hotel as me to look after baby during the conference.

My question is this - how best to feed baby? I plan to breastfeed, but I don't think the room has a fridge. I read that you can store breastmilk for 6-8 hours at room temp. Will I be able to express enough do you think, whilst feeding as well, in the morning before the conference (9am start) to last through to 6-8 hours later? I'm hoping I can feed or express over lunchtime as well (45 minute break, think I could eat a sandwich at the same time as feeding?!), and then again afterwards (maybe by about 5.30pm).

Is the above even possible? I have no idea and am finding the uncertainty quite stressful. I understand of course that there plenty of variables involved, but just after a sense of whether this could work, or if I should give up on this idea and have formula made up for those two days?


AlphaOmicronPi Mon 30-Nov-15 10:02:38

Cold bag and cold blocks to store milk at the conference. And get your parents to buy one of those tiny mini fridges to keep in your hotel room?

LettuceLaughton Mon 30-Nov-15 10:11:01

The milk situation should be fine, as PP says. Feeding whilst eating should be doable with such a young baby.

But, surely, if your baby is late (and a lot are) s/he might well only be two weeks old when you need to travel?

Elfi35601 Mon 30-Nov-15 10:17:59

Thanks for the replies. Yes, LettuceLaughton, it could be I'm travelling with a 2 week old. The midwife has OK'd it. Yes, I find the idea very daunting, but I have a huge amount of pressure to go along to the event, for various reasons. Thanks AlphaOmicronPi, a cool bag is a good idea, and I guess I could always ask the hotel if they have a portable fridge? Not sure the finances will stretch to buying one...

sw15mum Mon 30-Nov-15 10:18:16

I know it's not really what you're asking but do you have to do to the conference? To be honest I think the whole thing sounds like a complete nightmare and a flight from New Zealand with a potentially 2 week old baby sounds dreadful. Will you be in your own? How will you go to the loo on the plane. Can babies fly at 2 week? Sorry to be negative but I really would think about not going.

LettuceLaughton Mon 30-Nov-15 10:24:58

In all honesty it's quite possible that you won't be in a fit state to travel, even if it is fine for baby. it'd be daunting enough after a straight forward birth but should (heaven forbid) the delivery be difficult or a csection required then it might well be impossible.

It sounds like your employers are being very unreasonable indeed!

KaluzaKlein Mon 30-Nov-15 10:50:57

It's a lot of pressure to be under - I had a c section and at two weeks I was still hobbling around. You're also at higher risk of Dvt.
At a few weeks old my little guy is feeding constantly- there is no way I'd have been able to express enough to see me through at that point - it's not a case of being able to just sit and express for time X and produce y volume, you need little and often.
At three weeks he was feeding constantly - cluster feeding for six or seven hours straight. I could barely keep my eyes open!

Without wishing to be a downer, there is no way I'd do the trip for work. I go to meets like this in my job and they're exhausting - I couldn't have done it with such a young baby.

Are you sure that the airline will let you fly? Will you be covered by insurance?

MissBattleaxe Mon 30-Nov-15 10:56:23

Will you get a passport for your baby in time? I think your employer is putting undue pressure on you, or you are putting undue pressure on yourself.

When my first baby was born I was breastfeeding 24/7 round the clock. His feeding patterns were all over the pace and changed according to the temperature outside, my milk flow, growth spurts etc, so at 2 or 3 weeks a baby is unlikely to have a regular feeding pattern.

Factor in in sleeplessness, jet lag, possible post natal complications, the long flight and a a baby that might need feeding every 40 minutes like mine did, and I really think you are biting off more than you can chew.

leaningtoweroflego Mon 30-Nov-15 10:57:09

Is this your first child?

There is no way I would do this.

The flight is one thing, that could well be an ordeal in itself. I was still very sore at 2 weeks.

It is very unreasonable for your work to experience you to do this. Just say no.

AnotherEmma Mon 30-Nov-15 10:59:32

I have no idea about maternity rights in New Zealand but this sounds insane. Employers should not be allowed to force to you attend a conference on the other side of the world within a month of your due date. Is there the equivalent of ACAS or CAB in New Zealand? Could you ask them?

leaningtoweroflego Mon 30-Nov-15 11:04:45

So are you planning on being away from your baby for the whole day except maybe lunch?

Your baby may well be totally distraught. S/he will have no concept if you coming back, s/he will just know you are not there and may well be inconsolable. You may find it very hard indeed to leave your baby under these circumstances.

You might feel loyalty and commitment to your company right now, but when your baby comes along your perspective may well shift.

No way would I leave my baby with a stranger (to them) for a whole day at a few weeks old unless totally unavoidable. It is absolutely inhumane for your company to ask you to do this, on top of a flight that's what - 24 hours plus?

Heck,.at 2 weeks I wouldn't even leave my babies with their dad all day as he didn't have the boobs!

MissBattleaxe Mon 30-Nov-15 11:07:39

If you end up having to have a C section, you're not supposed to lift anything for ix weeks. Even with wheely suitcases you will possibly have a pram or travel cot to carry.

I'd be speaking to your employer if I were you. You have rights and being expected at a conference the other side of the world 2 or 3 weeks post birth is completely unreasonable. Storing milk might not even come into it.

leaningtoweroflego Mon 30-Nov-15 11:08:09

That last sentence might sound flippant. But this isn't something to be flippant about, sorry.

What I meant to say was my breastfed babies would have been distraught at being left even with their dad for a day at only a couple of weeks, leaving them with a stranger is unthinkable to me.

MissBattleaxe Mon 30-Nov-15 11:18:47

If you are stressed about the uncertainty now, make it easy for yourself and explain that it is not possible to attend the conference. It is illegal in the UK to discriminate against mothers on maternity leave. I should imagine the law is similar in NZ as well.

You are assuming everything will go well but here's what could happen:

1. Your baby could be prem and require extended hospital care
2. You could have a difficult birth and require stitches or a C section. (I never intended to have a c section but ended up having two)
3. Your baby's passport may not come through in time- remember that you have to register the birth and get a birth certificate before you can apply for a passport.
4. Your baby may not take the breast or may take only breast and not take a bottle.
5. You might not express enough milk to feed a hungry newborn all day.
6. Your breasts may well leak very obviously and visibly though your clothes. They may also hurt a lot when you are away from your baby.
7. You may not have slept for days by the time you get to the conference
8. Your baby will be distressed at being left.
9. Your baby could be up to 10 days late.
10. The journey will be very difficult.
11. When you make formula, you need to use cooled boiled water and you will need a steriliser or sterilising tablets for each bottle you use between feeds. You can use carton formula but you may or may not need a bottle warmer.
12. You will have to pack more than you ever imagined for a tiny baby.

Just decline. Take some leave. You won't regret it.

leaningtoweroflego Mon 30-Nov-15 11:25:57

Is this your first child?

I wonder if you have experienced labour?

I don't mean to freak you out, but you need to know!

Women giving birth and then being back on their feet instantly is unusual.

Many many women have complications in birth. In my first labour I tore, and sitting down on a chair was difficult in the first few weeks. That's not even considered a complication! A day long flight would have been impossible. Plus I was bleeding constantly (as you will be).

What if you have a C section? What you're suggesting will be pretty much impossible!

MissBattleaxe Mon 30-Nov-15 11:29:49

Oh yes the bleeding (lochia). You will need maxi pads round the clock for a good few weeks. Tampons are not recommended because of infection risk.

AnotherEmma Mon 30-Nov-15 11:31:15

leaning the OP said in her first post that it's her first child

MissBattleaxe Mon 30-Nov-15 12:07:01

Yes, it's a first baby.

Focusfocus Mon 30-Nov-15 12:51:29

OP please read the list from BattleAxe.

The room not having a fridge is the very least of your potential problems to consider. In fact I wouldn't even feature it on the list because all these other factors would come into play. UK to NZ and back with a newborn? What if the newborn is kept in the hospital of your waters break 24 hours before birth as mine did, simply for precautionary reasons?

Assuming you give birth on date,
assuming you have an absolutely simple delivery,
assuming your baby has absolutely no complications,
assuming you don't attend the post birth checks of baby and mum from midwife and health visitor,
assuming your baby doesn't suddenly need medical attention at that tender age on that gigantic journey from one part of the world to another,
Assuming you can establish breastfeeding in a zap and your baby is absolutely fine switching between mum and teat at potentially 14 days old
Assuming your baby doesn't have a tongue tie that needs correction to feed
Assuming your baby doesn't lose weight enough for them to be concerned and out him or her on a feeding plan
Assuming your baby doesn't require to go in to hospital for checks or stays
Assuming you register the birth ASAP and apply for passport ASAP - and assuming the passport comes back within days of that ( very very unlikely given the glut of applications)

Assuming all of this and more - the absence of a fridge is not your problem.

Please take this from me. I am an academic who travels to conferences thrice a year to locations ranging from Puerto Rico to Fukushawa to Hyderabad. I gave birth to my first baby 6 weeks ago. I had a straightforward birth and textbook delivery - no soreness, injuries etc. healthy baby. Excellently establish BF. even then I would not be able to do what you are planning - my stomach muscles still tremble from the birth, I still think before going for a sprint up the stairs at home. I don't do it.

Please listen to what people are saying.

thenewbroom Mon 30-Nov-15 13:02:25

This has miserable, upsetting time written all over it for you, the baby, and your parents. I think this is totally unreasonable of the employer and it's the sort of thing that you think is perfectly doable when you don't have a newborn, but it isn't.
In many Asian countries women go back to their parents for the first 40 days and are cared for while they recuperate from birth, because it's a big deal. We could learn a lot from them but instead we all try to keep going at a million miles an hour as if nothing much has happened.
Please take some maternity leave and rest for your and your baby's sake and listen to the good sense on here.
The company is paying for premium economy hmm they won't even shell out for business class sending a woman a few weeks postpartum halfway round the world?!

MissBattleaxe Mon 30-Nov-15 13:41:18

Indeed thenewbroom. Premium economy is just economy with a few more centimetres.

The advice on here is meant kindly, but what you are envisaging is very unrealistic. In your shoes I would not only be telling my employer I can't go, but I would be muttering "Tribunal" to them for expecting me to go and putting pressure on me for not taking maternity leave.

The conference is not something you will be able to do, so you have to say no and get used to saying no to certain things that will be impossible when you have a baby.

leaningtoweroflego Mon 30-Nov-15 14:23:51

Elfi35601 I hope this thread hasn't put you under more pressure! We have your best interests at heart I promise!

What kind of pressure are you under to do this, and from whom? Can you tell us a bit more about that?

MissBattleaxe Mon 30-Nov-15 19:24:25

Do you actually want to go or do you feel you must?

Caterina99 Mon 30-Nov-15 21:36:26

I would have struggled to attend an event like this down the road from me when DS was a few weeks old, let alone fly to the other side of the world. I think you seriously need to consider this! You could be really really lucky and feel fine and have a healthy hearty baby that feeds well, and even then I think that trip would be a nightmare!

However to answer your question about the food. Store in a cool bag, or ask the hotel to store it in their fridge for you. I agree though, that really is the least of your worries!

maygirl Tue 01-Dec-15 23:46:25

Hi Elfi, if you do manage the trip I'd suggest taking the baby with you in a wrap sling for feeds rather than trying to express. I have taken a baby to a conference before and just kept her latched on most of the time hidden in a sling. i've seen other colleagues do this too. If your parents are there they can take the baby for an hour or so when he or she is asleep. Trying to organise the logistics must be very stressful, is there no way you could connect by Skype to important parts of the conference instead from NZ?

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