Monday, 14 November 2016

My First Day Away From My Breastfed Baby

The Morning


There is a time in every parent’s life when they leave their baby for the first time. I'm not talking about a quick trip to the loo or popping out to the shops. I'm talking about when you leave them for hours, long enough for them to know you aren't there.

For the Dad this time comes soon after they are born. G had to head home from hospital a few hours after birth. After some paternity leave he returned to work. He goes to work every day. For him, being away from Little is part of his norm. It only really hits him when she is still asleep in the morning and he misses out on his normal early cuddles.

For me, this time round, my baby hasn't wanted me to leave her and I haven’t needed to for 9 months. The longest I've been away was to go out for dinner with some friends, but she was asleep the whole time.

Today, for the first time I'm spending a day away from her. It's for a very exciting reason and I'm looking forward to a great day, but as I sit on the train travelling to Blogfest I feel like part of me is missing. I want my baby snuggles.

People tell me she'll be ok, and I'm sure she will be, but whenever people have looked after her before she has reached a point where they won't do and she only wants her mummy. I know the main reason for that is her obsession with my chest: what was once her sole provision of nourishment is now primarily her comforter. Unfortunately I can't leave my boobs behind so I'm not only taking her mummy away for the day, but stealing her favourite comfort too.

She loves her Daddy and is happier with him than anyone else (except me), but his cleavage is lacking. I know that today she will cry. She will be crying lots and wondering why her normal comfort isn't available. She will be held, rocked, cuddled and loved while she cries. If she is screaming as loud as she can, distraught and confused, does being held really make a difference?

During The Day


I asked for regular updates about Little throughout the day. Her Dad managed to get her to have two (shortish) naps. One in the car and one in the pushchair and she has remained pretty happy. She hasn’t taken any milk from the sippy cup, but she  has had a reasonable amount of food including fruit which will keep her hydrated.

My boobs are getting progressively fuller and more painful. I tried to go to the toilet to hand express but as I forgot a muslin or a cup to express into it wasn’t very successful. I expressed a small amount into loo roll, but decided to go back to join everyone else. A toilet isn’t the best environment to get milk flowing quickly anyway. As the day goes on I get a little obsessed with my boobs, mentioning them to more and more people and fondle them a fair bit due to the discomfort. It’s just as well the event is mostly mums.


The Evening


I decided to leave slightly early as my boobs were very tender. Someone accidentally knocking into me resulted in a yelp of pain and I couldn’t cross my arms due to the increased mass. I sent G a message on the way home so he and Little were at the station ready to meet me. As soon as she saw me Little gave me a big smile. I enjoyed some cuddles while holding her on my hips as my chest was too sensitive. All too soon I had to put her back in the car, she didn’t appreciate being strapped back in, but the journey wasn’t very long and I reached into the back to hold her hand the whole way.

As soon as we got in I gave her some milk. I was worried that she would be sick due to the force of the milk so I covered the sofa up with a towel. She quickly wolfed down one side making me feel much more comfortable, I put her to the other side, but she only took a tiny bit. Over the next couple of hours I fed her a few times and felt almost normal.

Due to a late second nap we put Little to bed late, but she didn’t sleep long before waking up. After a few more attempts to get her to sleep I decided to go to bed with her and we had a good night with lots of cuddling and co-sleeping.

How I felt the next day


It was a lot tougher on me than my baby and I'm so glad that we have managed to get through our first day apart. My maternity leave ends in a couple of months so I now feel slightly more confident about going back to work. Next time I leave her I will make sure I have a way of expressing so I feel more comfortable. Having regularly messages about how my baby was doing helped me miss her less. She was fine without any milk for the day and she caught up when I was home so I don't need to worry about her taking a bottle. The water she had from a sippy cup plus juicy fruit was enough to keep her hydrated.
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6 comments

  1. I'm glad your first day away went well, I haven't left Baby for more than a couple of hours yet either and not sure I'm ready to tbh. He'd probably be fine, he doesn't always have a lot of milk in the day and doesn't use my boobs for comfort very much but I would miss him too much!! I should probably try it though, just to see how we manage.

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    1. Thank you. I would have been more comfortable trying a half day first, but time ran away with us. I'm so used to being around Little it was weird being on my own.

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  2. Yes! Oh I'm so glad I read this. When I got home, I let the baby drain one side but then she didn't want anything from the other side so it wasn't until bedtime that I was 'even'. I had a lovely time but definitely not in a hurry to leave her for that long again anytime soon. Go us though! Xx

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    1. I'm out for the day in a couple of weeks, but I plan to express. I'll miss her though and I don't plan to make a habit of it.

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  3. Oh my, the pain of super full boobies ... I feel you. So glad it's boosted your confidence about returning to work. And the fab thing is that, like children they settle and adjust to what is needed. :-)

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