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Away from babe: when was the first time?

The email that came from the baby daddy read: "has no ever taken a ten-month old away from his/her mom for 48 hours?"  He was responding to my resistance to agreeing to let him take our babe away for the weekend when he goes solo to see his family.

Here's a secret: I don't think I can do it.  With the two that came before, it was 2.5 years before I had a night away from them.  And, the first night away coincided with the weaning effort both times.  This definitely will not be a weaning effort, only a time away from mama, one-on-one time with dad.  But, I don't know.  I don't want to.  Maybe I am clinging too much to my babe, not wanting to be apart for two days.  Not to mention: how am I supposed to make enough milk for the 48-hour separation?  They would leave at 10pm on Friday and I have just a few days to pump!

I would love to hear stories about your first nights away from your babes.  When?  How old?  How long?  How did you fare?


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I went away from my baby for two days when she was 10 months to attend a reunion across the country. At the time, she was still breastfeeding and rarely took a bottle. I did pump in advance so my husband could offer her milk. While I was away, she only took an ounce or two at a time from the bottle or sippy cup. She did get milk mixed in with baby cereal along with other solids to eat. I pumped while I was gone to keep up my supply, and we had no issues with resuming bf-ing when I got back. And in spite of not nursing the whole weekend, my husband reported that she did just fine without me. It was a hard, hard thing to do, but I was really glad that I was able to go to my reunion.

I left my older daughter with my mother-in-law when she was 3.5 months old for 48 hours. I was able to pump enough to leave 100oz for her in the time leading up to it (through a LOT of hard work and planning). I pumped 48 oz during the separation, she ate 50 oz and we happily resumed bfing. I wouldn't do it again with an exclusively breastfed child if I could avoid it but obviously you'd need less for a 10 month old since they're on solids. I think it'd be good for you and your child to do this... building the relationship with your husband and his family would be great for everyone involved! 2.5 years is a long time to be "on" the whole time... the break would probably also be nice for you even if it's hard at first.

With my first, it was when he was just shy of 2 years old, but it was only because I had to put him and my husband on a trans-atlantic flight together because we'd arrived at the airport, planning to travel as a family, when we realized that my passport had expired! Argh! It was absolutely gut wrenching, especially because the decision was made totally on the fly, with no time to prepare any party... I followed 2 days later after making an emergency trip to Seattle to visit the passport office, but their trip together was not smooth. My poor husband worried the whole time that my son's crying would prompt people to think that an international abduction was taking place!

With my second, it was also just before he turned 2, but it was so that my husband and I could travel solo for a weekend to attend a dear friend's wedding. Everyone was well prepared and although my parents were tired at the end of the long weekend, everyone had a great time!

I did it around 10 months; left him for about 70 hours with my sister who, while trustworthy with a similar parenting style, was not really familiar to babe. I left pumped milk (about 80 oz) and his favorite juice and solids. We also agreed that if she needed to, she could supplement with goats milk. He drank all 80 oz plus about 8 oz of goats milk once he realized I wasn't just gone for the afternoon. Breastfeeding afterwards was just fine after he literally cried at my breast for about 15 minutes to express how mad he was about the situation.

Hardest part on sister's end was putting him to bed because he was still nursing throughout the night. Otherwise, they kept busy (often cooking in the kitchen so he could fill his tummy up with fruits and veggies) and he was fine.

So, it can be done if needed. To be honest though, I completely understand not wanting too - just so much hassle and stress for what? I haven't left him overnight since (now about 32 months).

Our daughter was almost 2 1/2 months old, and grandma stayed with her at our house while my husband and I went to a hotel for the weekend to celebrate his birthday. We were gone about 36 hours and everyone had a fantastic time. I had plenty of milk stored up ahead of time, so feeding wasn't an issue. Emotionally, it helped tremendously that we stayed in town.... the geographic separation wasn't too great.

She's four now, and is actually at a different set of grandparents' house for the week, about two hours outside of Portland. This is her 3rd year of having a one-week vacation away from us during the summer, and for our family it works out very well. We talk twice a day on the phone and we miss her so very much, but I know she's having so much fun - and it's nice to have the break from parenting.

I left my baby the first time when she was about 10 months old for work. I was gone for about 30 hours for a whirlwind trip to Chicago. I left a bunch of pumped milk. Honestly, it was kind of nice to be "me" again without the baby. I walked around without a diaper bag, had a long dinner with adults, and raced home to see her the minute I could.

I think it's important to understand that your concerns are about you, not about the baby. The baby will be fine. Your husband will be fine. It's okay to let go of control. I dare say, it'll be good for all of you! If you don't, that's a pretty bad sign, I think! I know it's hard, but really, it's for the best.

I left my second child with my husband for 24 hours when he was just 6 weeks old. My wonderful husband was willing and I needed a little break from the stressors of transitioning to 2 children. Everyone has to do what's right for them, but I think it's wonderful to see a dad willing to take on the challenges of going solo with a kid. Not all dads do that, especially at that age. So, I would never discourage the opportunity for relationship building that a weekend like that creates, despite the logistic problems. I also believe it's important that kids build quality relationships with other relatives, which is why my 5 year old and 2 year old went to stay with my mom for a whole week while my husband and I just stayed home. It was glorious for us, and glorious for my kids and their Grammie as well.

I honestly wouldn't do the separation if I was breastfeeding. I breastfed for more than a year with each and was often away for up to 24 hours for work (3 miles from home and after 6 months old). However, my partner could always run to my work to pick up my pumped milk in a pinch. I *could* have done the separation, esp. with the second kid. Yet, I would not want to and I don't think the baby would prefer it. I say stick to your guns, keep your baby home and let daddy take the baby next time. He's only this young once. My babies were pretty into me and consoled by nursing primarily. Their dad would have been willing and capable and all would have been fine but I wouldn't have allowed it just because. I would stress about travel delays. I'm pessimistic and would worry about a 9/11 type disaster affecting travel and keeping me from my nursling! Please let us know what happens! Best Wishes!

My baby is 13 months now, and I still can't find the courage or strength to be apart from him for more than 8 hours. It's been such a tormenting time being away as it is, I can't do it. I've hired a live-in nanny for this reason, at least until he is 2.
I know, deep inside, he'll be fine, and someday I have to learn to be away. until then, I am stubborn. Sorry...
I did breastfeed until he was 6 months then i stopped due to lack of supply sadly. That 'breakup' was bad enough, so I can't bear the pain...of leaving him for anything more than 12 hrs if we can help it.

Your husband is brave! I left my now 2.5 year old for about 30 hours just before his first birthday (for work reasons) & I think my husband faired the worst of the three of us. The baby was used to nursing during the night, so woke often. Maybe my husband would have been less traumatized by the experience if it had been his idea. I haven't spent the night away since, but will be traveling for about a week (for work again) this fall. My MIL will come to help & I think the kid is old enough to handle it, but it is still daunting to think about. I think 10 months is too young for a baby to travel without mama unless their is a very pressing reason.

Huh, it sure must be nice to even have the option of not leaving the babe. I have to travel for work and being grounded for the first half-year of my son's life was hard on my colleagues. I took my first overnight trip when he was 7 months old and have had one or two overnights every month since then. It's not that big of a deal. Of course I missed my baby but it's healthy to miss people - reminds you to be grateful. And it's been great for papa to develop confidence around bedtimes and feedings. When we were still exclusively breastfeeding the pumping logistics could be pretty challenging but now that we're just 2 feedings a day, I only have to pump once a day and we're good to go.

We practice attachment parenting, and I haven't left my little one yet. She's 2 yrs 2 months. I honestly feel no reason to "get away" and I'm lucky to not have to travel for work.
She's my buddy, my best friend, and I love spend every minute I can with her!
I still can't understand why my mom friends that leave for weeks, sometimes 2 at a time because they need a break.
Really, a 2 week break? Maybe they shouldn't have had kids in the first place......kids need their parents, especially momma's!

@Ava, I'm one of those who needs a periodic break. We also practice attachment parenting - surprise! - and love spending every possible minute with our daughter. And in order to be the very best parents we can be, to catch a breath from the hard work of parenting and full-time employment and volunteering AND self-care, we need occasional respites from caregiving to recharge our batteries.

For us, it's perfectly healthy and normal to spend time apart from our daughter, whether it's during the day while we're at work or for a week when she's visiting grandma. For you, it's healthy and normal to be together all the time. Different strokes, same amount of love for the child.

My daughter is 22 months old and I have not been apart from her for more than 8 hours, or overnight. I have no problem with this. I think that if you want to be with your baby and you are able to, then you should, especially at such a young age. Why is there cultural pressure to be apart from young children for extended periods of time?

I know it seems like I'm throwing stones, but this is recently a conversation I had with a really good friend, and it's an honest question:

The parents that work full time, volunteer, etc, would you consider giving on one of those things and focusing more on your family? Especially while they're little kiddo's.
Do you REALLY need 2 cars? A big house? Fancy phones and shopping for furniture, or clothes, or any of that all the time.
Could we get by on a bit less and spend more time at home? Could you find volunteer activities that involve the kids, too?
What exactly are you working for here? Your family, or stuff? Why did you choose to have kids in the first place?

Some of us work to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. I call that focusing on the family too.

don't feed the troll.

Oh Ava, I read your post and I totally agree however this is not reality for some families. We do not have a fancy house, do not have cell phones, cable TV or any other misc expenses (except for internet) We hapily live very meagerly. I would love love love to spend time with my family 24/7. I fact I would give up anything to make this happen but it is just not possible. For us to eat and have shelter I need to work full time. Just know that many mommas really want what you are talking about but it is not always possible. As to the original question, I have not yet gone away from my daughter (16 mos) and I can't imagine leaving her. That's just where I am at right now.

You know, I think different children have different levels of need to be with their parents and/or a certain parent. Certainly this is affected by the parents' own attitudes, but some of it is the child's innate temperament. My son had a hard time separating from me for a long time, but I've known lots of babies who aren't like that, too. I think you know best how your child would fare without you.

If the child isn't overly stressed by the separation, I think it's really a good thing for everyone and an opportunity for growth. I was terrified the first time I was away from my son for an extended period of time (six days when he was just shy of 2) but as soon as I knew he was doing great without me, I relaxed and had an amazing time. When I am gone, he misses me but he grows up a lot and gains a lot of self-trust and confidence, as well as bonding more with his dad and grandmother.

My husband took my little one to see his parents 5 hrs away from me when he was 5 months old. I was breastfeeding and pumping like a mad woman to make sure that he had enough milk for the 2 days that he was gone. It worked out fine, I was working that weekend (to support our extravagant lifestyle) and though I missed them both terribly, it was good for us. My husband got a confidence boost in caring for the little guy, and I got to step back for a weekend and let him take the reins. Everyone was very happy once we were reunited and nursing continued without a hitch. We figured out that we could do it, and I did it twice more for 24 hrs each time when I was breastfeeding, once for a conference for work and once for a get away weekend for my husband and I. I got really good at building my milk stash, in fact I noticed the other day that I still have some stash in the deep freezer and he has been weaned for over a year.

i just left my 3 1/2 yr old overnight for the first time this week. im glad i waited as long as i did.

I often find it valuable and fun to hear about other people's experience. But when it comes down to it, your baby daddy's question "has no ever taken a ten-month old away from his/her mom for 48 hours?" is really kind of academic. It's *you* and *your* nursing baby in question and nobody else. I encourage you to trust your own sense of the situation. You know your child's needs better than anyone (except your LO). Your relationship to your baby is primary right now. Trust yourself, whichever way your inner directive goes.

I left my children with my mom while my husband and I went to a hotel downtown for my birthday when my second was 8 months old. I left milk and brought my breast pump with me (I know...so romantic). I remember sitting in the hotel room while my husband ran an errand and let the first deep sense of relaxation set in for the first time in well over a year (pregnancy, parenting two small children, etc.) and I can say that I know this made me a better parent when I went home.

I have not yet left my 14 month old overnight. I'm feeling ready too now that he is no longer breastfeeding. Also, I would love to stay home but my husband does not make enough money for me to do that. He works for himself and we would not have health insurance if I didn't work. We barely make it as it is. In this day and age no one can assume that the man is going to be or should be the bread winner.

Th first time we left our oldest was when she was 2 + years old. We had a "babymoon" in anticipation of the next one's arrival. Our oldest had a very complex bedtime routine and woke frequently at night, so we were reluctant to leave her. All went well. We tried to go away for my birthday this year- my youngest was three months shy of two and still breast feeding. I can't pump (a big source of frustration), so I knew it'd be uncomfortable, but I didn't expect it to be excruciating! In the middle of the night, I was awake, and in pain. I snuck out at 5am and drove home to feed my baby! I returned later with both girls and we all had breakfast together. We'll try again after weaning.

My 19 month old son still has not spent a night away from me. So far I have taken him with me if I need to travel away for a night or more. As a full-time working mom, I have taken on the bedtime routine to spend more time with my babe. I know he would probably be just fine staying the night at Grandma & Grandpa's house or even the babysitter's, but when my son wakes he definitely is anxious to see me. I am afraid I have complicated matters too by allowing him to sleep in our bed every night. I know he wouldn't sleep in a portable crib, but would want to sleep in the bed with G & G which I don't think they would really want. I am at the point where I'm ready to have a night off so it looks like I'll be figuring this one out sometime soon!

I think part of the deal with breastfeeding is that you might have to pass on nights away for awhile if you feel like that's the right thing for you. Dad just has to understand that as part of his supporting you doing it. He has so many other ways to bond and gain his footing as a dad. If it doesn't feel right to you, then he needs to be able to hear that. I know the lure of wanting the night alone, but for me I never really felt like I would be able to enjoy it so it wasn't worth the try. I know people say babes will be fine without mom for a night, but I guess I wonder what that really means. Does it mean they're confused and sad and missing mom but muddle through in order for the adults to get what they want? That never felt right to me. If it's an unavoidable separation, then you do what you have to do, but for pleasure? I was never good at it. I had to leave mine for the first time overnight when my second was born (he was 2 and I had a c-section). That was hard enough!

Our adopted, formula-fed child never spent a night without me until she was almost 4, when papa took her on an overnight trip. That probably would have been different if had we had grandparents or aunts or uncles that lived nearby and had cared for her since birth. If we had been that lucky, I think we would have enjoyed an occasional getaway.

I totally agree with Tsubaki who said that it can depend on the temperment of the child. My son, now 3, is an incredibly active, demanding personality. My husband and I absolutely need time away from him to be good parents to him. It gives us perspective and makes us realize what a great, though challenging, kid he really is. So, don't equate time spent with amount of love for your kids. It just ain't so.

It takes a village...I was away from my first child overnight at age 10 months so I could go on a girl's weekend trip and the same trip 3 years later when my second was 8 months. They were with Dad both times. I supplemented with formula so the milk/breastfeeding was less of an issue for me. I just needed some time for myself. Selfish? Maybe. The value of mom coming back recharged and having had a wonderful time with girlfriends? Priceless.

Before my child was born, my husband spent every weekend camping, rock climbing, skiing, bike racing. It was pretty rare for us to spend a weekend at home. Now that we have a 2-year-old, we still do much the same things (just with her, obviously), but we find that we miss the dedicated time together. We left her overnight for the first time at about a year when we took a camping/climbing trip together. It was magical and re-ignited our romance and relationship together. We made a vow not to talk about parenting for the weekend- and we didn't. When we came back, we were oh so happy to see our little girl and to plan the next weekend of family camping- all three of us. I think it's healthy to take time away from your kids. We are multi-faceted people- I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, an athlete. While my roles as wife and mom are paramount, I also enjoy exploring the other sides of myself. In addition, I truly believe that one of the best things we can do for our kids is maintain a strong, healthy relationship with our spouse. That can be challenging at the dinner table when you're trying to get your toddler not to play with her food. For us, it's very important.

Also? I work because I want to. This does not make me less of a mom. In fact, it makes me a pretty darn good mom. When I am home, my focus is 100% on family. I am proud of what I do in my professional life and my personal life. I don't think that stay-at-home moms are any less or more important than me. We all make choices based on what works for us and our families.

Oops. Typo. First line should say "my husband and I". Duh.

My son in eight weeks old -- I am presently taking a solo-weekend away in Vegas with my friends. My husband was excited to have bonding time with the baby Andy mom was close at hand to pitch in if he wanted/needed help.

I don't feel any guilt for leaving him in excellent and loving hands. Motherhood shouldn't be all consuming nor identity sucking. The kid is likely too young to even notice any difference.

I was pregnant and delivered -- I deserve some "me time" to recharge my batteries.

Some contributing factors are: We had kids late (I am 37) and by this stage I had a robust independent life. My career is of paramount importance to me. When I return to work next month, I will travel regularly and extensively abroad for two weeks at a stretch.

Kids will be fine through a myriad of different settings/circumstances.

Happy mom = happy kids.

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