Before we left on the trip to St. Louis last weekend, I was incredibly nervous about how the pumping aspect would go, especially when such a big portion of the (very quick) trip would be spent in very public places. I’m all about nursing in public and feel like I can do it pretty dang discreetly, but pumping in public? Ugh.
At this point I can easily push it to 5-6 hours without pumping during the day without engorgement, BUT, I’ve been struggling with my supply tanking lately (boy do I need to write a post on that), so I had zero desire to go more than 3 hrs without pumping. This schedule was both to help maintain my supply and also to minimize the hit to my freezer stash that my MIL was pulling from back home in order to feed Harvey. I used to get 3-4 oz each pumping session, and lately I get 1.5-2, even though he still drinks 3oz bottles when I’m gone. Also, I must have a “small reservoir” in my breasts, but it doesn’t matter if I pump after 2 hrs or 6 hrs, I get the same amount, so pushing the times between pumping sessions really is bad for me!
At any rate, I think it was eye opening for Charlie to realize how often I nurse/pump! I adore the nursing relationship, but it really is a huge time commitment to have my boobs available all the time, and I think that fact really hit home to Charlie this weekend when we had to keep doubling back to the hotel every couple of hours so I could pump again.
Overall I brought home 33-35 ounces, and my MIL isn’t sure, but she thinks he ate around 45 ounces. That number seems low to me with him only being 8.5 months old, but he actually CRUSHES solid food 3x/day, so I’m choosing to believe that he’s already on the slightly older baby schedule of milk intake (average 14-19 oz/day between 12-24 months). That would make sense if he is eating 2.5-3 ounces, 5-6 times a day (which is about right).
In regards to pumping while in airports / planes:
- The bad news – it sucks to pump in airports. Bathrooms are gross and tiny and I refused to do it. The other option is pumping in the open (there are no designated lactation rooms at any of the airports I was at), which is awkward at best, but doable. I just had a hoodie with that I held over my front as a nursing cover of sorts, found the quietest area I could, and kept my back to the crowd.
- The good news – pumping on an airplane (with my husband next to me as a buffer between me and the rest of the passengers) was easy peasy! It was a pain to set up, but honestly, I was most worried about the noise, but the background noise of the plane is so loud you couldn’t even hear my pump! I’d use my hoodie to cover up the pump and my exposed nipples in the flanges, plus I made sure I was wearing a nursing tank top + tshirt over the top both travel days, so my chest & torso were both covered and it really wasn’t a big deal at all. I’d wager a guess that nobody even realized I was pumping on any of the 3 flights I pumped on!
My Pumping Schedule:
- 4:30 am – Woke Harvey for a dream feed before we left.
- 7:30 – In Denver airport on our layover (awkward, but not bad – I literally sat on the floor in the corner by our gate and pumped)
- 9:30/10:30 *time zone change* – On the plane from Denver to STL (this allowed me to avoid pumping in the car with Charlie’s grandpa next to me later!)
- 2:00 pm – In our hotel after lunch with Charlie’s family
- 5:30 pm – In our hotel after walking around Union Station and grabbing a drink
- midnight – After the wedding. This pump was purely to pump & dump. I should have pumped 1 more time around 8pm, but I just didn’t want to deal with bringing my pump to the reception & pumping in the bathroom, so I didn’t.
Overall I didn’t pump as much as I’d have liked to / should have that day, but it’s so hard to pump on the go, so I’m glad I at least got 4 sessions in. The 5th session at midnight I only did a few minutes and then said screw it and went to sleep because I was drunk. Oops. 😉
- 8:00 am – In our hotel room after sleeping for 8 hrs straight. Bliss! (Harvey often sleeps through the night now (or does one wake-up to nurse around 4/5) but it’s just different to sleep without one ear open, you know?
- 11:00 am – In our hotel after walking back from breakfast
- 2:30 pm – In our hotel after walking back from lunch with Charlie’s friends.
- 5:00 pm – In our hotel after taking a quick nap & chilling for the afternoon.
- 7:30 pm – In our hotel after walking back from dinner.
- midnight – I skipped this since Harvey often goes from 7:30-7:30 without nursing anyway and I was tired. I figured my boobs could handle it just fine.
Overall I’m okay with this schedule. Harv nurses / takes a bottle 5-6x/day at this point and I pumped 5x, so that was good.
- 8:00 am – In our hotel room
- 11:00 am – In STL airport while sitting on the ground between 2 chairs. I had a clogged duct on the left that SUCKED
- 1:30 / 12:30 *time zone change* – On the plane from STL to Denver
- 3:30 – On the plane from Denver to home
- 6:00 pm – At home because my MIL had given Harvey a bottle at 5pm. He wouldn’t nurse and the clogged duct was killing me!
- 7:30 pm – Harvey nursed before bed.
This day went really smoothly, especially with me more comfortable with pumping on the go.
- Keep your pump charged / have a spare battery pack with you. There were not outlets on ANY of the planes I was on, and finding outlets in the airports that weren’t surrounded by people charging their phones was impossible.
- Quick clean wipes are great when you don’t have an alternative for sanitizing everything. There was not a microwave in our hotel room, so I couldn’t even use the quick clean micro-steam bags that I’m used to!
- Carry a small, hard-sided cooler for milk storage. Mine happened to be the same dimension as my freezer storage bags, so that worked perfectly. I just put a ziplock bag of ice on top of them and it kept everything nice and cool for transport home (about 9 hrs).
All in all, I’m impressed with how smoothly it went, and I’m stoked I’ll never have to do it again. 🙂 Our next trip isn’t until Christmas, and by that point Harvey will be almost a year old – PLUS I left 24 oz of milk there from August, so no more pumping for me. YAY!