Caving in to the bonds of motherhood

9 months ago I didn’t think it would be a big deal to travel without my baby. I was pretty convinced otherwise – by 7 weeks of life of course I’d need a break, right?  No big deal to miss two days in baby’s life so that I can be in the wedding of one of my best friends. And taking baby with me wasn’t an option, right?  Too much infection risk, said the pediatrician in me, and too many difficulties during the flight.

So, I thought of the challenges. How to feed baby during this time? We had bottles on hand (Breastflow to maximize compatibility with breast feeding). I bought some glass bottles as well because of the newer articles discussing the problems with any plastics (not just BPA) in containing food. I talked to my lactation consultants and began to stock pile the 60 ounces of milk I anticipated being necessary for my baby’s survival and ended up with a large oversupply of milk that I started to whittle down. My parents were prepared with all supplies to take care of the baby that weekend, everything seemed to be a go. We were starting to bottle train him a little each day as well.

Then last Monday, I took one look at my baby in the morning and thought of being away from him for two whole days, and I burst into tears. What would happen to him without me? I know my parents were there, but would he eat properly? When I got back, would he be willing to breastfeed again? What would happen to our bond? Would he be scared that I had left him? And how would I survive without HIM?!!

Then came my posts to diaperswappers, looking for advice on what to do. Each and every woman who responded said that they would take the baby with them and suddenly I felt inclined to agree.  I called my mom and told her I wanted to take the baby with me, and I called T to discuss whether this would be feasible. It wasn’t the best time of the day to talk but as soon as he got home we went through the processed the risks and benefits of such a decision, and we decided ultimately to take him with us.  While there is considerable risk in taking him out into the wide world, he did have my immunity, after all, and provided that we stayed clean and kept him close, we should be prepared well.

So while two weeks before the wedding were spent in preparation to travel withOUT my boy, the week before the wedding became dedicated to traveling WITH him, and boy was it a challenge! I started looking up packing lists of what to take, how to organize, what extras one needs on the plane as compared to in the bag, and how to keep things as sanitary as possible. I continued to pump milk and whittle it down but knew I would need to do some degree of pumping while on the trip in order to attend various events related to the wedding. T left this set of tasks up to me, and it worked out well.

If I had left things up to him. . . well, I give you this conversation:

Me: “T, I’m getting overwhelmed, there is so much to pack for the baby, so many things to do and plan, I need to start early this week.”

T: “Well, what do we need? We’ll be gone about three days, so that’s two changes of clothing for him per day and diapers. If we have that we’re good.”

Me: “Umm . . . . no.”

In retrospect I am sure T would have been fine with his outfits and diapers alone. He is the epitome of calm under storm – which was hugely important during stressful situations like our son’s birth. And if there are any last-minute needs, he’s the one to be able to figure things out quickly and get things done.  Me, I need to be prepared with everything just in case, so I continued to create my lists and slowly, steadily get things ready. Here is what I had ready in terms of our list- for baby and me (for brevity’s sake I’m excluding some of the other stuff like wedding dress, daily outfits for Tanuj and me, and our own toiletries):

Onesies (4)
Side Snap Shirts (4)
Stretchies (4)
Socks (2)
Bassinet Pad (1)
Receiving Blankets (2)
Portable Crib sheet (1) (at the Hotel they had a Pack ‘n’ Play)
Burp cloths (2)
Changing Pads (2) – we used chucks
Bibs (1)
Plastic diaper disposal bags (10)
Plastic Bags (Basically I packed all the baby’s items and some of our items in those zippered plastic bags that so many baby items (crib sheets etc.) come in – they were really handy for holding dirty clothes on the way back)
Diapers (20) – no, we didn’t use cloth! We used disposables for travel.
Waterproof bag (1) – I use the PlanetWise wet/dry bag that is also good for cloth diapers
Small Baby Soap (for all the toiletries the small samples you get at delivery really come in handy)
Small Baby Lotion
Small Baby Shampoo
Diaper rash cream
hand sanitizer
Thin washcloth
Baby nail files
For Mama: Nursing Bra, Manual breast pump (we actually had this as carry-on) and cleaning brush for bottles, Also nursing pads
Camera (had to bring the mini camera, no SLR on this trip!)
Neck Pillow
Cloth baby carrier
Baby Bjorn Carrier
Snap ‘n’ Go Carseat Carrier
Carseat wind/rain protector (1)

Carry-On Items
Baby Wipes – Travel pack
Pacifiers (2)
Pacifier wipes
Plastic diaper bags (5)
Reg. diapers (8)
Chucks (2)
Changing Pad (1)
Burp Cloths (2)
Bib (1)
Bottle (2)
Nipple (2)
Changes of clothes for baby (2)
Change of clothes for mommy (1)
sample diaper cream
sample baby wash
Saline drops
bulb syringe
2 small toys
baby hat
Immunization records
Birth Certificate

OK my time is pretty much up to type – gotta head to bed and if I keep typing next to baby he is liable to wake up prematurely.  This list basically came in pretty handy and I used most of the items here.  Because the trip was so short we pretty much didn’t need toiletries but I would let people know not to underestimate the need for burp cloths, diapers, and extra clothes – we went through 4 diapers during one diaper change on Saturday morning. Fortunately we fared better during other changes but it definitely helped to have a good supply.  I hope to write more about our travels tomorrow and how everything went, but here we go …  time runs short and there are so many things to think about writing again soon!