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ctry
07-18-2011, 06:02 AM
I need advice...

We will be cruising on the Magic for 7 days in October. My baby will be almost 6 months at the time and still exclusively breastfed (I don't want to start solids until we get home). We are leaving him home with family while we are cruising.

I have an expensive, hospital grade Medela pump to use on the ship. I understand that there are "coolers" in the rooms and that I can request a refrigerator for our stateroom. That will help keeping the milk cold... Do I really need to get a prescription from my doc stating that I need the fridge for breastmilk? (I've seen this on other threads)

Does anyone have experience pumping on DCL for a baby left at home? Any suggestions on how to transport the milk home? I am worried about my milk supply suffering because I will be strictly pumping for a week... Also nervous that DS will not want to nurse after having a bottles of breastmilk/formula while I am gone. Any advice/experience would be greatly appreciated!

Seraphine
07-18-2011, 08:15 AM
Hello, and welcome! Congratulations on your new little one.

I think storing and transporting a week's worth of milk is going to be a major challenge, especially if you are flying to the port (wasn't sure if you were flying or driving). I understand the fridges in the cabins aren't really all that cold, and then there's the part about making sure the milk (you'd probably have a cooler full of it by the end of 7 days) is maintained at the right temperature to make it safe for use for your baby on your return.

Honestly, I'd use the pump but not keep the milk. Your supply should still be good when you get home if you are eating/drinking well and pumping regularly, and your little one will still want you when you get home. You can always make more! Plus, if you aren't saving the milk, you are free to have a drink here and there (you are on holiday, after all!) should you want to.

I know the idea is abhorrent to some people to waste milk, but what can you do? What if you carefully store it all week, only to have a leakage in your luggage or a delay in your transport to find all of it spoiled and unusable when you get home? I bf'ed myself for long periods and that would have broken my heart - easier just to leave it behind.

Is your wee one happy to take a bottle now? (I take it you've got milk stored up to use in your absence?) Maybe mix it up - make one feed a day from the bottle, and bf the rest of the time. If you are worried about your supply afterward, you could try fenugreek, or speak to the ladies at Kellymom.com as they have had lots of good advice in the past.

Maybe some other mums could help. I wish you a very happy vacation!

peachygreen
07-18-2011, 08:24 AM
I did not need a doctor's note to request a fridge for our cabin for milk storage. I just called and told them what I needed and the fridge was in the room when I got there.

One thing I will note is to make sure that the fridge stays plugged in all week. For some reason the cabin steward unplugged ours a couple of times. Fortunately I was pumping milk for my baby who was with me and hadn't pumped a whole lot (only a couple of bags of milk for our snorkel excursion when I left the baby with my parents). I would have been much more concerned if it was a weeks worth of milk.

MomsOf2boys
07-18-2011, 08:52 AM
I wouldn't save the milk you pumped. Your eating habbits will be a richer, fattier food intake most likely and not being able to freeze the milk and keep it at that temperature for the duration (traveling will change the temperature) might make for less healthy milk. You can replenish your home freezer when you return.

As for the baby not wanting milk from you, I think at 6 months it is more than just a feeding to the child, it is nurturing and therefore your child will long to have you back home to have that time during feedings. I would just make sure your child is comfortable having someone else feed them with a bottle in your absense. Maybe try an overnight or two to ease your mind while cruising and to keep baby and babysitter a happy bunch while you are gone.

Angelic Jennifer
07-18-2011, 09:05 AM
I left my youngest for nearly a week around that same age. She was happy going back to nursing once I was back .. I think at that age, there's more of a connection to mom, and nursing is more ingrained. What you need to make sure of now is that he'll actually take a bottle (some BF babies have trouble with this).

My biggest challenge was not a decreasing milk supply, but an overabundance. I was nursing and pumping in the weeks prior to my trip, so I would have enough for her (I left more than was necessary, just in case). This led to me producing way too much during the time I was gone (enough to feed fully and pump). It took longer than the time I was gone to reduce the supply naturally and get back to a single child's amount in one feeding.

I also agree - toss the milk you pump on board. Ideally, considering the length of time, you'd be freezing this supply, and I don't see you finding any freezer space onboard.

MaleficentRN
07-18-2011, 09:39 AM
Yeah, you'd have to freeze and transport a week of milk before it thaws. That's the challenge. It's probably best to pump and dump to keep up your supply. I know it seems wrong to throw out that liquid gold, but the logistics are going to be hard.
Are you pumping extra now to stockpile for when you go away?
And at six months I wouldn't worry about nipple confusion.Relax and enjoy your cruise!

flexsmom
07-18-2011, 09:40 AM
There have also been some stories of inconsistencies with TSA on traveling with pumped breast-milk. They are SUPPOSED to allow (when requested) for a separate "alternative screening" so that the milk doesn't get irradiated, but there are some reports that screeners who don't know that have detained moms for long periods of time over this issue, especially when the mom isn't traveling with the baby to "prove" it's breast milk. (I know - the whole point is to take the milk TO the baby, but I digress and many of the TSA agents don't seem to get that nuance.)

So, if you do travel home with milk and don't want it to go through the scanners, I'd recommend printing up the TSA guidelines and know them inside and out, so you can show them to the checkpoint just in case you run into any issue.

DisneyCowgirl
07-18-2011, 10:03 AM
I need advice...

We will be cruising on the Magic for 7 days in October. My baby will be almost 6 months at the time and still exclusively breastfed (I don't want to start solids until we get home). We are leaving him home with family while we are cruising.

I have an expensive, hospital grade Medela pump to use on the ship. I understand that there are "coolers" in the rooms and that I can request a refrigerator for our stateroom. That will help keeping the milk cold... Do I really need to get a prescription from my doc stating that I need the fridge for breastmilk? (I've seen this on other threads)

Does anyone have experience pumping on DCL for a baby left at home? Any suggestions on how to transport the milk home? I am worried about my milk supply suffering because I will be strictly pumping for a week... Also nervous that DS will not want to nurse after having a bottles of breastmilk/formula while I am gone. Any advice/experience would be greatly appreciated!

I agree with others about not trying to save it in this instance. You've got some time between now and your trip. Are you pumping now? If not, start! If so, work on pumping more. Start now saving up extra in the freezer and by the time you leave, you should have plenty stored up for baby to have while you are gone, plus some extra while you catch up when you get home.

You also want to make sure that baby is happy with a bottle before you leave.

Circumstances at my house required me to start exclusively pumping when our baby was only a month old. I pumped every 3-4 hours for a month or so, and by then I was making more milk than he could possibly drink. Be diligent and your supply should not be harmed.

peachygreen
07-18-2011, 10:07 AM
I also recommend if you are going to fly (even though it is not required) to freeze and or bag them in 3oz bottles/bags. It just makes it easier and there are less questions than if you have larger bags/bottles with you.

You may want to only bring back the last half of the week if time/freezing is an issue. Refridgerated milk is good for 8 days in the refridgerator.

I posted this in a different thread, but I have found that the easiest way to get through TSA security with breast milk is to have the milk in 3oz bags in a zip lock storage bag (so they don't have to be handled). I use gallon size bags filled with ice that I empty when I get to the airport. Then after going through security I take those gallon sized bags to a counter serve food area and ask for ice. I refill my bags at every stop and again at my final destination. This helps me to make it home with still cold milk and I don't have to deal with the TSA agent who is not being nice about ice packs etc to keep milk cold.

ctry
07-19-2011, 04:32 AM
Wow! Thank you for all of the replies! I am feeling much better about this whole situation already :) I was ready to pay to bring him along (which wouldn't be awful, but would put restrictions on us as far as nursing and nap times)

The baby is great at taking a bottle (even from me) because I have had to go back to work. We are flying to Florida, and I think that taking a whole weeks worth of breastmilk home past suspicious TSA workers sounds like a huge hassle. I think that I will probably pump and dump for the first few days and then try to save the last bit of milk.

I left my youngest for nearly a week around that same age. She was happy going back to nursing once I was back .. I think at that age, there's more of a connection to mom, and nursing is more ingrained. What you need to make sure of now is that he'll actually take a bottle (some BF babies have trouble with this).

My biggest challenge was not a decreasing milk supply, but an overabundance. I was nursing and pumping in the weeks prior to my trip, so I would have enough for her (I left more than was necessary, just in case). This led to me producing way too much during the time I was gone (enough to feed fully and pump). It took longer than the time I was gone to reduce the supply naturally and get back to a single child's amount in one feeding.

I also agree - toss the milk you pump on board. Ideally, considering the length of time, you'd be freezing this supply, and I don't see you finding any freezer space onboard.

I am so relieved to hear that your daughter took back to nursing right away. Fingers crossed this will be the case for us. DS has never had formula, and I would like him to continue to have only breastmilk for the full 12 months. How did you pump and breastfeed to increase your supply? I pump at work, but only have enough milk for the next shift at work plus a few extra bottles. I have read that if you nurse often and then pump for 10-15 minutes afterwards that your supply will increase. Is this what you did? I would rather have an overabundance while cruising than not have enough!

NHdisneylover
07-19-2011, 05:10 AM
DD was nursed exclusively (no bottles at all even) until 6 months when I had to have emergency oral surgery. I had to pump and dump for a week until all the medicines she could not have were out of my system. She was stressed from not nursing (broke out in hives) but went right back on with no problems whatsoever after a week.

I agree with the masses that the best thing to do will be to pump and dump and then just go back to your normal routine once you get home.