I wanted to hug supermodel Brooklyn Decker. I know it sounds sappy but when she
documented via Twitter her first trip away from 7-month-old baby, Hank, I
wanted to give her a hug and say, “Been there!”
There are many firsts for new moms, but there are few firsts quite
as internally painful as leaving a baby overnight for the first time. I personally shared Decker’s angst over missing
her flight while breastfeeding. In fact, I still have a keen memory of me
having to use a hand pump in the bathroom of the Oakland Airport so I didn’t
get engorged. And when that flight was delayed by three hours, I had to pump again
on the flight. My hormones were in high gear, my anxiety at a 10, and my
breast milk right on schedule. Sadly, my flight was not.
When I returned home I found my 6-month-old son just as I’d
left him two days before: happy, cheery and hungry. It was as though he hadn’t
noticed I was gone. In fact, he probably hadn’t. From then on, I promised myself that as long
as I left my children in capable and kind hands, I wasn’t going to spend every
moment away from them worrying about them.
Decker’s angst-ridden texts are totally normal. It’s hard to
leave your baby for the first time, but it’s often necessary. So why not tell the truth about what will and
won’t go down when you leave your baby for the first time?
1. Your baby won’t notice you’re gone.
The good news is, babies need a kind and
capable set of hands to care for them when they’re newborns. The bad news is,
those hands don’t have to be yours. Bonding is totally crucial for parents and
babies, but a few days off from bonding won’t ruin the bond. Mom may notice
every moment she’s away from her little angel, but that little one probably
won’t bat an eyelid. That’s a good thing!
2. A nursing mom’s flight will always be
Despite scheduling your entire flight
schedule around your nursing breasts, your flight will be delayed. Bring a hand
pump and expect to use it in just about every private space you can find along
your journey. It’s humbling, but there’s no reason a breastfeeding mom should
feel embarrassed about taking care of business.
Expect to cry the minute you get in the car
or cab to head to the airport because you will cry.
car ride from your house to the airport will be the longest ride of your life.
Expect to cry the minute you get in the car
or cab to head to the airport because you will cry. It’s OK. Your baby is
precious. It’s not easy to leave precious things, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t
OK if you don’t call home much.
The relative or childcare provider taking
care of your baby will call you the minute something goes down, so if you don’t
check in every hour on the hour it’s totally fine. Your baby is probably too young to talk and
won’t understand how you got inside the phone.
You don’t have to feel guilty for not checking in all that much.
childcare provider won’t follow all your directions, but your baby will be
Despite leaving a schedule, Power Point
presentation, Post-Its, laminated copies of your baby’s favorite foods and a
map to every park within 50 miles, the person taking care of your baby might do
things a little differently. As long as your kiddo is safe and clean, turn a
blind eye. All that matters is that you
and your baby are happy.
still a good mom even if you enjoy your time away from your baby.
It’s OK to enjoy your time away from your
baby. It says nothing about how good of a mom you are.
security will make you question everything you know
You may have to take apart that pump or
explain that hand pump in your carry on. And you’ll definitely have some
explaining to do about all that breast milk you’re lugging home. It’s not easy to travel when you’re a
breastfeeding mom and airport security doesn’t help. It's important to know your rights, but also to understand that (most of the time) they’re just doing
their job and not trying to ruin your day.
8. You won’t sleep anymore on the road than
you do at home, but at least you’ll be horizontal when you’re awake.
The night of dreamy sleep you have planned
will probably look a little bit more like night sweats and leaky boobs, but at
least you won’t be on duty.
9. Facetiming with your little one will
usually lead to disaster.
Your baby may think it’s cool that Mommy climbed
in the phone, but once you see your baby’s face, you may break down. Step away from Facetime. It’ll make you miss your little one.
your babies don’t get easier the second, third or fourth time around. But by
then, you’ll be a seasoned pro.
It’s always hard to leave our kids even if it’s
just for a night. But time away can do a mom good, and sometimes we have work commitments
that take us away. Our kids learn that mom always comes back. And we learn it’s
OK to take a break or take care of our job responsibilities. There’s nothing wrong with that.