Friday, February 27, 2009

Should I take my baby to Hawaii?

Russell and I have been planning a 2-week trip to Hawaii in April 2009 since before Dorian was born. Russell's grandparents invited us to go along with them, and we have already purchased our plane tickets. I've never been to Hawaii, and Russell and I have never done a trip like this together. Dorian will be 10 months old when we go, and we have been planning all along to take him with us. I am still breastfeeding him, and do not want to wean him. However, the more I think about the long flight (5.5 hours one way, 7 the other...?), and the logistics of having him with us, the more I realize it will be really exhausting to have him along, and we will be quite limited in the activities we are able to participate in. On the other hand, my sweet mother-in-law has offered to keep him for the 2 weeks that we are gone (maybe I should check with her to see if the offer still stands, since I have already turned her down several times). I am starting to think about possibly beginning to consider this, even though it would mean pumping about 350 to 400 ounces of breastmilk, as well as taking the pump along so that I can maintain my milk supply. Does anyone have any advice for me? Have you done a long flight with a 10-month old (who may be walking by then, and will NOT want to sit on my lap for 7 hours)? Have you done a long vacation like this with a 10-month old? Will the 3-hour time difference be very hard for him to adjust to? Can you recommend a good electric pump? Do you think it is even possible to pump that much milk above and beyond what I already pump (I would need 7-8 extra ounces a day if I start NOW--I know I couldn't do it with my hand pump, but maybe with an electric one?)? Conversely, if I leave my baby for that long, will I do damage to our relationship? Will he wean himself if he is exclusively bottle-fed for two weeks? What if I supplement with formula? Will I just be a basket case, unable to enjoy my vacation because I am constantly missing/worrying about the baby? Also, he isn't sleeping through the night yet, and I don't know if he will be by then, which adds one more factor to the argument against both bringing him (I am fantasizing about 12 nights of uninterrupted sleep...) and leaving him with my mother-in-law (who probably doesn't really want to get up with him 2 or 3 times a night....)

Any advice you have would be great. Or if you know of other things I should consider that I haven't thought of. Thanks. :)

21 comments:

Kristen and Josh Wilde said...

How fun that you're going to Hawaii! Sounds like you have quite the multi-faceted dilema about bringing Dorian!
I've taken on Jaydon on long flights across the US twice - when he was 7 months old and when he was 14 months old. Both times were grueling but ok. When we really had to, we let him walk in the aisle and nobody minded. If you do bring him along, bring lots and lots of extra clothes on the airplane!
You're the best person to know whether you could pump that much milk. I'm sure I couldn't.
Those pictures are so cute, by the way!

CJ and Kate said...

I haven't been in that situation but I would say, take that offer and have fun with your hubby. Take a break, I am sure that everything will be okay when you get back. I think it would be too hard to go on a vocation with a little baby. Once again, never have been there, but my in laws go on vocation for a week at a time and grandma watches them the whole time and when they get back everything is fine and still the same. Hope this helps :)

Liz said...

Have you ever been away from him? 2 weeks would be hard for me, I start to really miss Will after about 3 days. If he weans himself would that be really sad for you? I have no experience with breastfeeding obviously so I have no idea! That sounds like an awesome vacation.

Anonymous said...

I would check with your health insurance to see if they will help with the cost of a pump. Mine covered 90% of a great double pump that came with a car adapter and a battery supply...We only paid $27 for it with a prescription from our OB/GYN. The insurance dictated what we got, but I have no complaints with it. http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/breast-pumps/352/pump-in-style-advanced-breastpump-shoulder-bag-2008

Rebecca D.

Janae said...

Crazy. Josh and I are going to Hawaii in April, too. What days will you be there? Which island will you be visiting? We are leaving a couple days after graduation as our graduation present to ourselves (I guess, it is really skymiles graduation present to us).

I took Ainslie to the east coast when she was one. (I think it was about a four-hour flight.) We did a lot of walking around the plane, which kind of annoyed the flight attendants but it kept her happy. On the way back she slept the whole time. 7 hours might be a little rough though.

I used a Medela pump and would recommend it, if you decide to get an electric one.

My suggestion would be try doing a weekend or one night away from Dorian and see how it goes and how you feel about it. It was really hard for me the first time I left Ainslie over night. But I think if you do decided to have him stay with Russell’s mom having that experience will probably help you feel better about leaving him.

Murphy Family said...

I saw your comment on Lunch Lady's blog and came over to yours to see your cute baby! I pumped Breastmilk for my baby for 9 months before I gave up and used formula. I used the Medella double pump and was able to get more than enough milk for my daughter. I know you can rent them if you don't want to make the investment of $300.00 for one! Also there is medication that you can take to help you produce more milk. It didn't affect my daughter when I took it!!! Good Luck and Have fun in Hawaii!!!

Kelley said...

Hmm, that does sound like a dilemma. Honestly, I won't even presume to give you advice except to remind you of what you have already done. Do you remember asking whether you should quit your job or not, and you made the decision and it's working great for you? Well, I think this is a long enough time that it warrants similar thought and prayer. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

And Hawaii sounds fantastic! Jon went to a family wedding in Maui last August for a week but I didn't end up going because Rachel was still tiny and it would have cost way too much to do it.

Lauren said...

Jeremy and I just went away for four days and I missed my kids terribly by day 2 and 1/2. Two weeks is a long time.

However, my trip to Hawaii was my favorite adventure I took in college. It is so pretty! At least you are going with someone. You might be able to talk Russell's grandparents into babysitting during nap times. That way you and your hubby could still do a few things together without Dorian. Just an idea. . .

Chaka said...

I have no advice in the pumping department, but I have a solution. Get me a ticket and I will come along and babysit for you.

Amy F said...

Yeah, I was going to say the same....if I had airfare there I would come to watch Dorian. (My parents have a place in Maui at least that I could stay at).

Anyway, we took Ev to California at 10 months and then to Hawaii when he was almost 12 months. He wasn't walking then so we didn't have that particular problem, however, he did get bored sitting on our laps. He squirmed on the way there, but slept the whole way coming back. It wasn't bad, though. (Except that he was sick....) But beaches and sightseeing are doable with a ten month old. We took Ev hiking in the jungle, too. My parents did watch the kids (the whole family went) during a nap or two so we could go out and do the crazy things - like jump off waterfalls. We also took a helicopter ride. The kids couldn't go on that, but since we had a larger group we took turns anyways. There are pros and cons to either decision, but we can talk about it more later if you want. (Because we also took a week cruise in May in which we left him at home...so we have a little of both perspectives).

As for the feeding, I've heard the Medela is good. I think when I researched them four years ago the most popular was one of the traveling ones. I never had much luck with the electric ones though (at least the hospital grade ones) and the medication to help my milk supply never really helped me either. Sorry I can't be more help there).

I guess my recommendation overall would be to take a weekend away from Dorian beforehand and see how all three of you feel. And try out formula if you haven't and see if Dorian will take it. (It would be more convenient to supplement with formula and not worry over whether or not you have enough milk to get through that long amount of time.

Joanna said...

I also love the Medela pump. And I used herbs to increase my milk supply a few weeks ago that helped me a lot. I can give you what I didn't use if you're interested.

If you end up taking Dorian, talk to your pediatrician. Mine actually recommended giving Hyrum an antihistamine to knock him out when we went to Florida. He was 20 months old. We didn't end up using it because he did better than we expected and was happy to sleep on our laps.

Whatever you decide, enjoy the trip!

Randy Macchi said...

Leave him! That's all I'm going to say (because you know how I just said it)...

3in3mom said...

I left my 3 kids last January (4,3, and 15m) when we went to Hawaii. I am glad we did. THough I really really missed them, it was so good for my hubby and me to get some time together and away from the kids.

I used the medela when I was pumping and had great success. Start now and you may get enough. Either way, enjoy your vacation and I hope you have fun!

Lorinda said...

boy, we all have an opinion, don't we? none of your options are bad or wrong. You will all three survive any of the options. None of them will traumatize Dorian or you. They won't ruin your relationship with him. Your relationship might change a little whether you take him or not. That being said, I wouldn't take him... mom of 5 speaking. A trip with your husband and no kids is always a good thing. If you want to pump before and during, do. If not, don't. a little formula or more solids won't hurt him. Would it make you sad to wean him? You could try not to, but he would have some say also. Landon weaned himself at 11 mos. I was a little sad, but i got over it quickly.
Do whatever will have you enjoying your trip the most. You will miss him, but you will all survive if you leave him.

Carolfrog said...

When we went to Atlanta for a week, I was worried about leaving Ebenezer with Gary. And he's an adult dog, although he is tiny like a baby, and sometimes I think he needs almost as much attention as one. (But there had also been recent aggravating circumstances, and I was also worried Gary wouldn't execute his raw diet properly.) So I can imagine the sick-to-your stomach feeling. But I can also see the point of having a break with some freedom. I dunno. Dorian is pretty cute, though.

Buzz Carter said...

You guys stay home, and Vicky and I will take your place.

How's that?

ale said...

Hey. . .I thought I'd chime in since I've had some experience! I've took my oldest son to Venezuela twice before he was 2--once when he was seven months and again when he was 1 1/2. The flight was about 11 hours with layovers. He did really well both times (And I was traveling by myself). The first time he was young enough that he slept through most of the time-I just layed him on the tray table in front of me! BUT, if you guys want to enjoy yourselves, I would leave him at home! Both times I took my son, he got sick and was sick most of the time. Not fun!

Have fun on your trip! We are actually going to Hawaii as well. . . We leave Thursday and we are NOT taking the kids!

Ann-Michelle said...

Hi Bonnie. You don't know me, but I know Russell. My bit of advice is that being away from your baby is a killer on your milk supply, even if you pump every 4 hours or so. It is surprising, and it is really difficult to get back up to normal, while your baby is starving and you are both frustrated. I think taking him with you will be easier than you think, and 10 months is a great age. Nursing is far more convenient while traveling than trying to find a private place to pump in the middle of your fun day. If you do decide to pump, I've used both a hand pump and electric, and there is no competition. The Medela is a glorious gift from above. I bet you could find one to borrow for the short time that you need it. If mine wasn't in storage I'd definitely offer it to you.

Amber said...

I have a Medela electric, and I don't know how we survived without it with Gray. A lactation nurse told me that they are hands-down the best. Also, you can easily rent one from a hospital or other medical supply place - check with your OB. Another old-wives-tale that I found to be true is that beer keeps your milk supply up. I don't know how you feel about drnking, but I found that if I drank one beer about once a week, it really helped. It's better to go with something other than light beer, but the hops or the yeast or something is supposed to naturally stimulate milk production. Just a thought. :) I think you'll be fine either way, whatever makes you most comfortable. Although, a week in hawaii alone with your husband sounds pretty fantastic. You and he need time to build up your marriage too. When will you have another chance like this? It might take you and Dorian a little time to readjust to each other when you get back, but he won't even remember the separation.

Katie said...

Want some more opinions? ha ha.

Although I do have something to offer...you are welcome to borrow my Medela electric pump if you want it. I'd happily ship it to you and you could leave it at my parents' when you're finished. Although, I am thinking that by the time both my boys were 10 months old, I was only nursing once a day--at bedtime. You might not need so much milk. I quit with both of them at 11 months (when they got teeth and started biting.) So 10 months isn't too early to be weaning down to fewer nursings. I also think formula would be ok. If you're like me, I was worried about giving formula, because I wanted the best for my little guy, and that is breast milk. However, pumping all the time gets old (I went back to work when I had Caleb), and once he was eating solid food anyway, I figured his digestive system wouldn't be too shocked by a little formula now and then. That said, I also think Amy's idea of a weekend trial is good. Let your mother-in-law see what she's in for, and see how Dorian handles being away from you for a night or two. That way you won't feel guilty that your mother-in-law really doesn't know what she's in for, and you can see how Dorian does, (and you could get a full night's sleep for at least one night...and one whole night really feels good!)

However, I think you could still have a good time if you take Dorian with you. That wouldn't fix the sleeping all night thing, but babies are still kind of easy to travel with, I think. When we traveled with Caleb around that age, we tried to keep him entertained on the plane (I felt kind of bad when he shredded an in-flight magazine, but at least he was happy) and we would do things like plan longer drives to see stuff during naptime, so he could at least sleep in the car. Just get a good baby backpack (another place our kids have been known to doze off) and enjoy seeing him do new things like play with sand at the beach. It will probably be fine, either way, whether you take him or not.

Lorinda said...

speaking of beer (which i'm not necessarily recommending :), I have a recipe that Mar gave me called... i can't remember what it's called, but it is a shake that you make to build up your milk supply. Oh, yeah, "Tiger Milk." It is actually quite tasty until you add the active ingredient, which is brewer's yeast (NA-STY!). I recommend drinking the shake and then taking the brewers yeast in capsules separately. But it isn't horrible. You could stomach it.