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159. Can I Breastfeed After Being Away For A Week?

Are you wondering how to leave your baby for a week and still latch when you get back? Listen in on how to ease that transition back. 

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Read the full transcript here:

Welcome to the Breezy Babies podcast. This is episode 159. Can I breastfeed after being away for a week? Could you use more confidence as a parent? Welcome to the happy place for boobs and babies. You're in good hands. Breezy babies is where we ease your transition into parenthood because it's a bumpy road. Am I right? I'm your host Bri the IBCLC. And if you'd like to make life as a parent more breezy, you're in the right place. I'm here to deliver small bite sized tips and tricks so you can crush your parenting and lactation goals. I'm honored to be on this journey with you. Let's go. Hey, friends. So good to be back with you again for another podcast episode. I'm excited to chat with you today. It's just me today talking to you. I had a DM come in from one of my followers and asked her a question about how to leave their baby for a vacation and still latch and breastfeed after they got back. And she said Do you have a podcast episode on this? And I said I don't really not on that specific things. So I thought what a perfect idea to talk about this topic. Because I know that there's other people who have the same question as well. It's still summertime at the time of this recording. So I know a lot of people are vacationing right now. And if you're like us, then maybe you like to vacation year round. Sometimes our favorite time to vacation is actually in the winter, when we want to get away from the cold in Utah. So that is what I'm sharing with you today I have put together my top three tips for you on how to leave your baby for one week and still breastfeed and latch when you are back together. Today I want to share with you two personal experiences I have had on this exact topic. We had a recent vacation this March. And I had basically weaned before going my baby. She was 15 months old, and I was not interested in pumping while I was away, although I could have. In fact, if you want to learn more about how to pump while you are away from your baby on vacation, then go back to Episode 97 is called traveling while pumping getting through the airport with breast milk. It was with my guest, Megan Roberts. She actually was a past client of mine. And she also just happens to work for a travel agency. Her job is to go on amazing trips to amazing destinations all over the world. But unfortunately, most of the time she is not able to take her babies with her. Because of that she's learned a lot about how to pump on the go how to store breast milk in a hotel room and on a cruise ship and how to get breast milk through airport security. I'm not going to be sharing any of that today on this podcast episode. So if that's what you are looking for, be sure to scroll back to episode number 97. On this episode, what I am going to be talking about is traveling without your baby, and still getting your baby to latch after you are back together. Again, I thought I had an episode on this already. And you know, like I mentioned the beginning I had a follower send me a message that made me realize that I didn't actually quite have anything addressing this exact thing. In fact, this is the exact question she asked me. She said, Hi, I'm wondering if you had a podcast or advice on being away from your breastfed baby for a prolonged period 10 days is how long she was planning to be gone for. That's what she put in parentheses? Is it possible to still breastfeed when I'm back or will likely be the end of my breastfeeding journey? I love this question. It's so good. And one that I get often. I know many moms love traveling with their babies. And I also know that sometimes you just need a vacation without anything anyone attached to your hip. I get it. I like to take vacations like that from time to time too. So let me share two of my experiences on this topic with you. And then again, I'm going to give you my top three tips in case you need to navigate this in your own feeding journey. With my first experience, it was with one of my older babies, one of my girls. In fact, they are currently 12 and 10 at the time of this recording, and honestly I can't remember which daughter this experience happened with but I think it was my oldest, which means that this was about 11 years ago. I breastfed her for 12 months. That was always my plan. At the time, in fact, I honestly never even thought about nursing for longer than a year. I just knew at that time that I'd breastfeed until one and then be done. So before a trip, I slowly cut down on the amount of feeds that we did at the breast. I weaned her. We went on the trip, I never pumped I came back. And shortly after getting back home, I got a wild hair to try and latch her. I don't know why. I think we were just sitting in her rocking chair, the place we normally nurse and I just went for it. I remember she went to latch button said she just lightly bit onto my nipple and looked up at me like, What are you doing? What are we doing here? And that was the end of it. No big emotions. Just cut and dry, done and done. Now fast forward to my fourth baby. We had a big friends trip that we had planned with me and my husband plus three other couples that we've been friends with from the beginning of our relationship. And listen to this. This is just a fun little side note, we have six teen kids between the four couples. So just the fact that we could make those happen, I think was pretty amazing. We had never done a big trip together, but had said for years that when all the husbands turned 40 years old, this was it. We were gonna do the big trip. Honestly, it was touching go for a while but the trip was on. We were going and suddenly I had to make a choice with breastfeeding. Mila was 14 months old. I had already nursed longer than my other kids. But this was my baby. I was having the hardest time letting latching and nursing go. I really wanted and needed this trip up man, it was tearing my mama heart out of my chest. Plus, to make matters worse, my Mila loves nursing. She loves it more than anything. She had zero plans to wean none. And she was also really great at throwing major tantrums when she didn't get the boob. In fact, she was getting a bit forceful. I was happy with nursing her one to two times a day. But she still wanted to nurse all throughout the day, even while we were out and about and I was just feeling a bit touched out. It was too much. So I pushed through the tantrums and continued the weaning process. I made myself a plan I knew I had about three weeks before we left on this trip. We were going to be gone a little bit over a week, she was still nursing multiple times per day. So I mapped it out, I would get her down to two feeds a day ASAP. Then get her down to one feeding per day in one week, and then go down to every other day by the next week. And give myself that last week to totally stop so I wasn't cutting it too close to our trip. I did not want to pump while away. I didn't even want to pack a breast pump at all. And I just I didn't want to still be producing milk and feeling full and feeling uncomfortable while we are away. So things went pretty well. I mean, mostly Well, except for the week before we left. I was still nursing I was getting nervous. I did my best to distract and not increase feeds. But I just really wanted to nurse some of those days I really did. My mama heart just loves snuggling her and hearing those milky swallows and I just wanted to latch her. So in the end, I only left myself about two days before leaving have not nursing. In fact, I think I may have nursed her one last time right before we left because she got sick. I think it was roseola maybe hand Foot and Mouth less than 12 hours before our flight left. It was heart wrenching. I honestly cried as our plane took off. I felt awful for leaving my baby. But I knew she was in great hands and just needed a couple of days of rest and being home. Plus she still had her siblings to give her all the loves and all the Snuggles. Anyway, all that aside, we went on the trip. It was so great and rejuvenating and fun and relaxing and just what we needed after a long two years of a hard pregnancy, hard labor a hard recovery. And when I got back home, I found that we did the exact same thing that happened with my first baby just got a wild hair shortly after getting back to latch her and she gently just bit and was a little confused and I thought okay, it's really over. That's it. But then a day or two later I was holding her eye and I went to sit in a chair in my front room that just happened to To turn into our nursing chair, that wasn't an official nursing chair or anything like that, it just happened to be that every time we sat there, she just wanted to nurse. And so that's just what we did. That chair is by big front windows in the front of our house. And there's just a beautiful view. And we just love to sit there together and cuddle and nurse. So I held her and I went to sit down, and I could just tell immediately that she went into nursing position. So I thought, why not? Let's go for it. And guess what she latched. Honestly, it was a little uncomfortable to tell you the truth, because I didn't really have much milk anymore. And we still did it anyway. And she's still nursing. Now. Again, she was 15 months when we left and I had winter. So I thought, but now she's 21 months old now, and she's still nursing. So basically, there's not one answer to this situation. But let me shift now into my top three tips on how to leave your baby for vacation and still latch after you get back. So my first tip for you, number one is make a plan. Will you wean before you go? Will you pump while you're away? Will you save the breast milk will you pump and dump? Will you take your electric breast pump or your portable pump or maybe just your hand pump. Now, of course know that your supply is going to take a serious hit if you do not pump while you're away. Honestly, I don't even know if my baby is still getting any milk when she nurses. I think it's just for comfort at this point. But it might be a few drops that she's getting, I guess I could do a way feed way with my skill. Because I do have a scale that measures that sort of thing. But honestly, it doesn't really matter. She's over one year of age now. So we don't rely on breast milk as her main source of nutrition. Like I would have to worry about if she was under a year of age. Now without planning in mind, be sure that you give yourself a long runway, maybe don't be like me and be nursing the night before you leave. Again, it all worked out and it was just fine. I did have to do a lot of breast gymnastics while we're away and I had to work through a little bit of fullness, but it was fine. But for you, I would recommend giving yourself a little bit more time to either wean or save up breast milk to leave behind in your freezer stash or come up with a better plan about how to pump while you're gone. You also are going to want to think about your baby's feeding routine while you're away. If you're planning to latch when you get back, it might be a good idea to to mirror your feeding routine before you left and have your caregiver feed your baby with that same routine so that when you're back together, there's no big changes. Okay, tip number two is that this is probably going to be emotional. So be prepared for that. Being away is hard not being near your baby is a tough transition and needing to pump and your breasts filling full can be a sad reminder that you don't have your baby near. It's hard. This little baby was still a part of you even after being born. Your body was your baby's habitat. They needed to smell you and fill you and hear your heartbeat at all hours. So yes, being away can be a bit emotional. But having a bit of alone time while leaving your baby in good hands can just be amazingly recharging, even if you're away on a work trip and you're not even on vacation somewhere.
So tip number three now is the ending may be unexpected. In the end, your baby is a human with his or her own opinions and tendencies. And we really do not know what your baby will accept when you're back together. Some may pounce on the opportunity, other babies may just be done. Also, you may decide that you don't even want to offer the breast when you're back together. Or maybe you will in the end your baby has to accept but feeding your baby breast milk with a nice slow paced bottle feeding method may be a great plan so that your baby is more in that mindset while you're away. Now this might look different if your baby is a little bit older. Maybe you have a toddler that doesn't even take a bottle anymore or never did but loves the sippy cup or an open cup or a straw cup. Great put the breast milk in there. But again, it's not a one size fits all my baby didn't have one drop of breast milk While I was away for over a week, and she's still happily latched when we were reunited. So there you have it. Hopefully this got your wheels turning on what you want to do. Do you want to take the vacation when your baby's still breastfeeding? Do you want to wait until after you've leaned and not feel rushed to do the weaning? I don't know this situation is going to look different for you. Do you want to pump while you're away? Do you want to latch when you're back together? The possibilities are endless. But all I want you to really understand as I'm leaving you is that this is not a one size fits all. You can make your journey how you want it. And it could even look so different from baby to baby like mine, as well. So again, the top three tips on how to leave your baby for a week on vacation and still latch when you're back together. Number one is make a plan. Number two is prepare because it will be emotional. And tip number three was the ending may be unexpected. I hope you have a great rest of your summer. If it's summertime. While you're listening to this, I actually do hope you have a great and amazing vacation coming up whether it's a short little getaway, or a longer week vacation, and it's gonna be great whether you take your baby or leave your baby home. And I hope there's lots of sunshine involved as well. If you like that sort of thing. Sometimes I feel like I'm more of a beach person, sometimes a little bit more of a mountain person. So whatever you do, I hope that you are feeling more confident moving forward. Next week, I'm going to be back with a great podcast episode for you. I actually have an amazing guest lined up. So make sure you hit subscribe. And I would love to hear back from you next Tuesday. And of course I'm gonna leave you with you're strong, you're smart, you're beautiful. You're a good friend to all five. If you would like more help, check us out at breezy It's the happy place for boobs and babies, where you can take an online workshop on topics from breastfeeding to baby gas. Learn baby massage, get a pumping plan before returning to work and even get one on one lactation help from our IBCLC we meet with families both in home and also all over the world via secure video and guess what? These lactation consultations might even be covered by your insurance. Click the link in the show notes or visit breezy to see if you qualify. Also connect with us at breezy babies on Instagram and YouTube. And last if you love what we do, please leave us a review on Google or Apple podcasts, bye!


  • How to leave your baby for a week. 0:00
  • How to travel while pumping. 2:05
    • Pumping while on vacation with a baby.
    • Traveling without a baby on vacation.
  • My first experience with breastfeeding. 4:36
    • My first experience with breastfeeding.
    • Fast forward to my fourth baby, mila.
  • Nursing and tantrums. 6:57
    • She loves it more than anything.
    • Three weeks before we left on the trip.
  • It was heart wrenching leaving my baby. 9:01
    • Heart-wrenching, but rejuvenating, fun and relaxing.
    • Nursing in the nursing chair.
  • Tips on how to leave your baby while on vacation. 10:57
    • Top three tips on how to leave baby for vacation.
    • Make a plan.
  • Be prepared for the emotional transition. 13:04
    • Be prepared for being away from your baby.
    • The ending may be unexpected.
  • Check out for more help with breastfeeding.


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