I did not want to be left behind. When my husband said he was off to Newcastle for work in mid November, I said ‘we’re coming along!’ and thought, gee, this will be fun, a little mini getaway, just the three of us. Haha. HA. HA. Ahhh…. little did I know. So many things I did not think about, and wished I had. But an experience (positive or negative) none the least!
Initially I was so desperate to get out, to ‘travel’ that I didn’t really think things through. Still breastfeeding (but with an insanely hungry baby who as it turns out, was kind of starving… latching issues, don’t get me started…) which meant spending 4 hours in a car wasn’t the best idea, as it was also taking two hours a time to breastfeed. We knew heading from the Gong to Newcastle was going to be a stretch, but we were determined (or at least, I was) so I pumped like mad to get a big bottle ready intending on ensuring that our 4 hour car trip didn’t turn into a 10 hour one. It turned out this worked brilliantly. My little man slept well for the first hour and a half… then hubby bottle fed him while I scoffed my lunch in the passenger seat at the pit stop, and then, after a big full belly, our little boy promptly slept easy until we arrived at our hotel. This, might I add, was the first full bottle of EBM he’d ever had, and it worked a treat. I thought, awesome, we’re onto something here!
Our hotel room was close to the Novotel, above a pub, with a great amount of space but poorly used space, (e.g. there was no lounge for me to feed on.) With the drive up being nowhere near as problematic as we anticipated, and the bottle feed going far better than we expected, I thought that perhaps this would be a good time to experiment with pumping more and bottle feeding more. BIG MISTAKE. It was, in hindsight, the worst time to start. I was having many complications with breastfeeding at this point, as much as I actually was loving it, and it turns out I couldn’t pump and then breastfeed AND have enough milk to last through all of that. This new ‘experiment’ actually turned out to be an epic fail.
We got through the night ok, went for a walk, fed him for a few hours during the night while my husband slept peacefully next to me, but the next day was somewhat of a nightmare. Husband went to work early and I spent the next few hours fighting to feed, pump and settle bubs. He was not a happy chappy. Call it a rookie error but I had HOPED to pump enough in-between feeds to help me on the trip back, or at least, see me through the 5 hour shopping centre visit I had to endure waiting for hubby to finish work so we could drive home. I was totally and utterly kidding myself! I did not thoroughly think through what checking out at 10am and not leaving until 3pm to go home, meant! With my little man still on the boob at 10am, a knock at the door informed me that perhaps I didn’t have the late checkout I assumed I did, although the poor cleaner took pity on my tear stained face and latched baby, and said she’d come back in an hour. Thank God.
Husband turned up at 11 and we rushed all our things back into the car before we drove him back to work. I was thankful that I was going to have a car- so if need be, we could hibernate in there if things got bad. Saying goodbye we then ventured off to the carefully selected shopping centre where I was to entertain both myself and a baby in a param for approx 4-5 hours. Wowsers. Again. Stupid Idea. One positive was, it was a growing shopping centre and therefore had a brand new and A-MAZ-ING parents room. We spent a few hours in there. Mainly with me trying to fruitlessly pump to feed a screaming baby (oh God, why did I not just buy some formula? I had no idea what I was doing…)
Needless to say the trip home was a shocker as well. Poor Noah couldn’t get enough milk to help him sleep and we had to stop sooooooo many times for me to feed. I felt incredibly guilty that I hadn’t been better prepared, exhausted from the longest shopping expedition i’d ever undertaken with a new baby AND I didn’t find Newcastle all the exciting (is it always that windy?) but to be honest, I saw mostly the walls of the parents room and inside of our car, than I did of Newcastle itself, so not a fair assessment by all accounts. Yet it was an experience and a half, and it was helpful for me to really sort out what on earth to do with feeding/supply/car trips, you name it. Let’s just say I won’t be tacking a long to too many of my husbands work trips in the near future.