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Prepping for an Event...or a Vacation......while Breastfeeding.

"Maid of Honor while breastfeeding! It can be done."

Prepping for an occasion such as a wedding, holiday party, or a vacation when you are breastfeeding, can be daunting, when normally you would be full of anticipation and excitement.

One of the features of a big event is the planning, and.... the long roll out... with details emerging as the party comes nearer. You may have been invited to this event before you were even pregnant.

“We are getting engaged!”

“We are engaged!” At the time, you weren’t pregnant. You and your husband went to the party and stayed up all night with your friends. You had a great time!

“We set a wedding date!”

“We booked a venue!” You are pregnant when you get the news. You assume you will get a babysitter, and have a blast, just like you did at their engagement party.

“We picked the dresses!” You look at the pictures. It’s six months after you give birth. Surely, you will have lost the baby weight by then…

“We booked the photo shoot!”

“We booked the hotel.” Now you are thinking, maybe the baby should come with you. Your life has changed so much.

And so on!

Whether you are including the baby or not. About two months before the event. is when the big day comes onto your timeline. It’s time to do your part. And, your breastfeeding baby is front and center when you are planning for the occasion. You are probably anxious and imagining all kinds of scenarios. That’s a normal way to prepare, and be prepared.

The Countdown:

The very first thing to do is find a babysitter- If the event specifies that no babies can attend, then you will definitely need a babysitter. If you are traveling, think about a suite accommodation near the event, with two bedrooms, living room and kitchenette, or a short stay home rental, where everyone can stay. Even if your baby is invited, a baby handler will help you and your baby enjoy the party more. Baby’s have their own needs which don’t often include loud, long parties, or sitting through religious services.

Two months before the event, plan for yourself.

Where can you pump? All events are longer than your breastfeeding intervals, so you will need a place to pump during the event. Do not try to power through without removing milk. It can lead to plugged ducts and mastitis. Many party venues have a ladies lounge adjacent to the bathroom, which might work for you. If not, ask about access to a dressing or changing room. Your hotel room may also be close enough.

Will your pump work for the event? If there is a dressing or hotel room, you can use your regular plug-in pump. If not, now is the time to buy a wearable pump or a hand pump, and spend some time getting used to it.

How many outfits will you need, and what kind? What kind of clothing will you be wearing? Are the outfits breastfeeding friendly? If you can’t breastfeed, you will need to express milk. Can you pump in every outfit? You may need to buy, rent, or borrow some specific kinds of clothing for the occasion. You may need to have clothing tailored. Do it now.

Evaluate your baby gear. You may love your SUV stroller, but trying to gate-check it might be more trouble than it’s worth. Consider your car seat and think about a travel bag for it. Can you rent (or borrow) a crib or pack and play where you are staying? If you are in a city, research baby equipment rental. These are popular in many tourist destinations.

While you are shopping, pick up some extra supplies like a cooler, ice packs. microwave sanitizing bags, cleaning wipes, storage bags and bottles. If your baby will be far away, you have to decide if you are shipping your milk, or discarding it. Research your milk shipping options now, if you want to do that.

Where are you staying? Hotels are in the business of providing things for guests. Call in advance for things you need, like a crib or min-fridge. If you are staying with a friend or relative, or short stay rental house, check with them about a crib, refrigerator and freezer space, a chair in your room, or any other thing that you use in your day-to-day breastfeeding/pumping routine.

Purchase a card and gift for the hosts. If you are giving money, then go to the bank and ask for new bills. If you are writing a check, take a deep breath, and write it with your best penmanship. Wrap the gift and put it in a bag or box so it doesn’t get (as) crushed. Remember where you put it!

Transportation and lodging plans, gifts, gear purchases and clothing fitting should be completed well in advance of (at least two months) the event.

About a month before the event:

How long your stay? That will determine how much you need to pack. Is your suitcase or duffle bag appropriate, or do you need to borrow, or buy, more suitable luggage?

What other clothing do you need, that you might not think of? Is there a pre-event dinner? Do you like wearing a robe and slippers? Will you want a bathing suit for a pool, lake, or hot tubs? Sneakers and casual shoes for walking and sightseeing? Are you wearing flats or heels to the event? Are they comfortable? Remember that your feet may have changed sizes since you were pregnant.

Two weeks before the event:

Now is the time to go through your toiletries, makeup and meds. Check your inventory and purchase travel sizes, or plastic travel containers. Check your makeup for color and skin sensitivity. You are different than before! Pack enough medicine and your insurance card, if you are dependent on a medication.

Plan for transportation. Obviously airline tickets are purchased in advance for the best deal, but how are you getting to the airport, and then to the hotel? What are the current TSA rules on traveling with breastmilk? Do you need a pillow or snack? Do you have KN95 or N95 masks in your bag? Nobody picks to sit in front of someone who’s coughing, but it happens, and you can protect yourself.

Plan for your hosts:

If you are staying at someone’s house, bringing a hostess gift is a nice touch. It can be something small like a fancy dish towel, a box of chocolates, a candle, or something larger. Don’t overthink it. It’s a social grace, not a final exam.

One week before the event:

What snacks and meals are you responsible for? When you are a guest, you know your host will feed you, but it might not be exactly when you are starving. Purchase some substantial packaged foods for hunger pangs and midnight snacks.

Driving your car: If you are driving, then your car can become your default ’staging area’ Stash your event gear in its own bags and keep them on the top. If you are driving to the airport and flying, then remove everything from of your care that might get stolen.

Plan for your apartment or house

If you re away overnight, run through things that your house or apartment might need. Lock your windows, check your thermostat, arrange for your mail to be picked up, or held. Water your plants, make a pet care plan, take out the garbage, do the dishes, or at least rinse them. Clear your bed, so you can just fall into it when you return.

Plan for baby

Write down their routine- it can be loose if your baby is unpredictable. Observe your baby and write down all their details and preferences with feeding, soothing, and diapers. You may know that your baby always fusses when they are wet, but their caregiver might not immediately think of this.

Drinking or not? You may be wondering about alcohol and breastfeeding. Yes, you can drink and breastfeed or pump. If you are sober enough to drive, then your baby can have your milk. If you aren’t sober enough, then wait until you are to feed or pump. Alcohol metabolizes out of your milk just like it does out of your blood. If you pump while drunk, either dilute that milk or dump it.

Pick out and pack baby’s clothing. If they are expected to wear a special outfits, do you have an alternative in case of a blowout, spit up or other incident? Diapers can be shipped to your destination if you are going for any length of time.

Pack a baby carrier and a few teethers and toys. If your baby is eating food, pack a few items for travel, and plan on a grocery run when you are there.

Consider your partner.—you know them best. If they always forget something, then covering for them makes your event less stressful, rather than criticizing them for forgetting it, “Again!” But seriously, they are an adult and can pack their own bag. Is your hosts more their friends, or yours? They may want some time off to spend with their friend, rest or sightsee. Obviously, if bringing baby, they should spend time with their baby. It’s 2023, you don’t have to do everything as a couple.

The week of:

Pull out your bag and start to fill it. Keep a running list of items that you can pick up locally like snacks and phone chargers

Baby’s bag may be their everyday diaper bag, with another bag for toys, diapers and outfits. Remember, they also sell diapers at most destinations!

Make your deadline two nights before you are leaving. This way, you have the possibility of relaxing the day before instead of frantically running around shoving things into bags.

The night before:

Eat a good dinner and go to bed early—when your baby does. That way, you will have enough time to get enough sleep. Set your alarm, drink some water and settle in. You did a good job and you are going to have a great adventure! Happy Traveling! Read More.


Donna Donna Bruschi, IBCLC

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