Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Business trippin'

In two weeks, I'm headed out of town on my first working mom business trip. Cue all the angst.

I'll be out west for three nights, no doubt worrying about baby meltdowns and the milk stash throughout my heavy schedule of meetings and events. If it wasn't important for me to be there, I wouldn't go. And so the quandary of being thrilled to have my presence deemed a professional necessity while also being stressed about the working mom juggle continues.

My mother-in-law is coming to help T while I'm gone, which I'm so grateful for. In the meantime, I'm trying in vain to store away the freezer stash necessary for that amount of time. It's tough going, given that I've been on cold meds, H is going through a feeding frenzy growth spurt, and my hormones seem to be all out of whack (preemptive TMI detail stoppage). Our travel schedule to hang with family hasn't really helped matters, but my next two weekends at home should help. Here's hoping I can bear down - with H, my sinuses, and my hormones in full cooperation - and get this right before I skip town. Gulp.

So there's the frantic prepping of the homefront to ready everyone for my absence. The other side, though, is something I haven't spent much time worrying about - probably for the sake of my sanity. How, exactly, am I going to find the time and space to pump and somehow discreetly carry three days' worth of milk around Arizona? Also: going through airport security with colleagues, while carrying breastmilk? Oy.

But this kid. Oh, she is worth it. Ten days' out from turning eight months, here's a look back at her last two official photos:


Such a chubby, tall, happy bunny, this one. So close to crawling now, eating her solids like a champ (all hail BLW!), and generally charming everyone around her. Except for nighttime, of course, when she wakes to discover she's in her crib and shrieks like she's on fire. This girl is happiest sleeping with her parents. Are her parents happiest sleeping with her? Not exactly. But these days, we're too tired to put up much of a fight. I look forward to the magical night when we have the power to shush her back to sleep in her own room at 3 a.m. instead of just bringing her into ours. One day, one day. Ever the optimist over here.

My fellow working mamas who've pulled off the pumping business trip - tips! tricks! anything you have! I'm all ears.

18 comments:

  1. Maggie, she is just the happiest, cutest girl! I didn't have to travel while breastfeeding so I don't have any tips but I can understand the stress you must be feeling. Hope your body kicks into gear and helps build up that freezer stash for you. And maybe you can run off to Starbucks or the bathroom before security and meet your coworkers at the gate and go through security alone? I wouldn't want to unpack my breast milk in front of a crowd of coworkers either.

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  2. I got nothing on the travel front. But I will tell you that when they do manage to stay in their crib through the night, IT IS GLORIOUS. We are dealing with a bit of regression here (I feel like I say that a lot) but it just makes me appreciate the full nights of sleep that I do get. Also, I want to squeeze her..

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    1. In hindsight her newborn nights were a breeze - girl was sleeping soundly through the night in her crib during months 3 and 4. Booooooo. Good luck on your own kiddo sleep regression!

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  3. So far I have managed to dodge overnight business travel but I have had some day trips that required me to pull out pumped milk (pumped in the airport bathroom, gross) at security for inspection in front of co-workers. I don't know why it feels so personal to display, but it just does. I have a friend who traveled quite a bit while pumping and she would overnight/Fed Ex her frozen milk with an ice pack. She said the hotels would usually allow her to use their kitchen freezer to get the job done. Pricey but probably worth it v. figuring out how to travel with a large volume of milk. Good luck!!

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    1. Yes, SO personal! I really love this FedEx idea (especially because the last full day before my redeye will be hotel-less after an a.m. checkout). Hmmmm.....

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  4. Hi! I'm a longtime reader of your blog and saw your post today about traveling while breastfeeding. I'm no expert but I exclusively breastfed for 13 months with quite a few business trips mixed in. I got most of my tips from my awesome SIL so am happy to pass it on!
    -Call your hotel ahead of time and ask for a refrigerator and microwave in your room - DO NOT let them charge you extra for this. I got into quite a few fights with hotels because they tried to tell me these items would be an extra fee. NO DICE!
    -Bring Medela steam cleaning bags and the Medela or Lansinoh plastic bags for milk storage.
    -Bring a cooler bag with freezer packs. Declare these to TSA as breastfeeding necessities when you fly out.
    -Pack your pump parts in a tupperware.
    -Once you're at the hotel, do your normal pumping but store your parts in the tupperware in the refrigerator in the room. By keeping them cool you won't have to keep washing them. I used to do this anyway during the day in my pumping room at work so I would only wash the parts when I got home at night.
    -At the end of the day sanitize pump parts with the Medela steam bags.
    -Fly back packing your milk in the cooler bag with the freezer packs that you've kept in the freezer section of the fridge. Declare the milk to TSA and you are all set!

    Hope this helps! I know a lot of it is common sense but it helped me to think through it better.

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    1. Love these tips! In my room reservations (two separate hotels - grrr), I did indicate that I wanted a refrigerator but after reading this I'm going to call them and double-check on that. I've never used Medela steam cleaning bags but if I'm going to have a microwave anyway that definitely sounds easy - thanks! Also, need to get a bigger cooler bag!

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  5. Oh man, good luck with the stash and the pumping and the logistics! You are such a great mama, and such a great example to your daughter with your passion for your work :)

    Also... we too, had a rather champion sleeper until about 4 months old... and finally at 20 months (!!!) we are getting back to full nights' sleep around here (most nights). At nearly 8 months? We were squarely in the middle of snuggling our very-happy-to-sleep-with-mama-and-daddy baby girl around 2-3am until morning ourselves... I almost miss it now... :)

    xoxo

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    1. You are sweet, Amelia! Last night we tried moving her asleep in our bed into her crib - it lasted an hour. Hmmm.

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  6. The tips above are great. I've done it a couple of different ways, so here is some additional food for thought:
    - pack the milk so each bottle or bag is under 100 ml. This will (or at least should) reduce the amount of testing TSA will need to do. I recently took 4 flights over a 2 week period and did not do this for the first flight, learned the hard way when TSA had all of my milk sitting out warming while they tested every bottle. They told me that they have to test anything 100ml and above. The following 3 flights, when I purposefully portioned smaller, it worked. Much quicker, less thorough testing.

    - take a nursing cover to cover yourself while pumping. This made me feel much more comfortable when I had to pump in a public or semi-public place.

    - ditto on having a fridge. I did not have a microwave so I took a compact drying rack, brush, and soap and washed my parts in the room.

    The tips above are great. I've done it a couple of different ways, so here is some additional food for thought:
    - pack the milk so each bottle or bag is under 100 ml. This will (or at least should) reduce the amount of testing TSA will need to do. I recently took 4 flights over a 2 week period and did not do this for the first flight, learned the hard way when TSA had all of my milk sitting out warming while they tested every bottle. They told me that they have to test anything 100ml and above. The following 3 flights, when I purposefully portioned smaller, it worked. Much quicker, less thorough testing.

    - take a nursing cover to cover yourself while pumping. This made me feel much more comfortable when I had to pump in a public or semi-public place.

    - not all of my rooms had a microwave, so I took an easily broken down drying rack, brush, and soap and washed my parts in the room.

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    1. The 3 ounces per bag rule is genius! I am absolutely doing this. Thank you thank you thank you!

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  7. Whoops! Typing one handed on iPad not my forte. Hopefully you get the gist :)

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  8. Obviously not a working and business traveling mama, but I've taken a lot of breastmilk through TSA checkpoints and can definitely recommend the 3 oz packing rule mentioned above! That will save you so much time and testing! Since packing the milk that way, TSA has only checked one bottle or bag and then swiped my hands instead of testing every container of milk (same goes for sippies if you're traveling with H). As far as unpacking in front of your coworkers, just quietly mention you have baby necessities that you'd like privately screened to the attendant working the X-ray BEFORE you put your milk through. Put your cooler in its own bin but don't unzip it and usually they'll just take it for screening at the little semi-private booth at the end of the conveyer belt. That way it's not a big production of unpacking it as you go through xray w/ coworkers!

    I've found actual ice in your ice chest keeps milk colder (or totally frozen, depending on the length of the flight) than just an ice pack, and TSA usually has not issues with that either (I had one bitchy lady make me dump the ice out on one occasion but Auntie Annie's loaded me back up for free after I bought a pretzel from them!). And be sure to keep the milk in the very back of the mini fridge at the hotel or in the "freezer zone" as those things have really shoddy temperature regulators!

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    1. Thanks for the tips, ladyfriend! xo

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  9. It's so tough dealing with pumping even in the "comfort" of your own office, a business trip is just pretty miserable. I'd just say pump every chance you get (fun times!). Don't skip any sessions if you can avoid it because your supply is already going to drop being away from H. Good luck!

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  10. To get more of a stash, try feeding with one side, pumping (with a hand pump) on the other.

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  11. I hope it went well! (Can you tell I'm catching up on my blog-reading)?

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