¡Viva la Madre!
First, a word of warning: This Post is about Breast Milk. So if you wanna skip it, now’s the time.
When I was pregnant with Ella, the amazing company we work for planned a getaway for our Top Performers in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in October 2014. Clearly, I couldn’t attend that one, but as luck would have it, a hurricane interrupted those plans, and the trip was moved to February 20 of this year. Lucky ME!
Yes, I know that on Feb 20 I had a 5-month-old, and yes, I’m aware that she was (until VERY recently) a breast milk only child (read: I am her only source of sustenance). But I like a good challenge, so in December when I returned to work and committed to attending our top performers trip, I started pumping – EXTRA.
Based on our calculations, for us to be gone for 4 (almost) full days, we’d need 80 ounces of milk in storage. Mind you, that’s ON TOP OF the 20+ ounces she has daily. Literally 2 weeks before the trip, I DID IT (I’m incredibly goal oriented). And then, my husband got sick…and Zoe got sick…and life got a little in the way, so my milk production slowed. Suddenly not only was I not pumping AHEAD, but we ended up needed a little of the “stored” milk!
Remember me? Goal-oriented? Up for a challenge? I panicked. Afraid our child was going to die of starvation while we were away, we took the following steps:
- We introduced food early. In our defense, she was ready (and we had the doc’s blessing). And eat she did! First oatmeal then, just as her sister did, we introduced the first REAL food: The Sweet Potato (CLICK FOR VIDEO)
- I ALMOST purchased formula before we left, just in case. This will make sense in a minute.
- I started pumping every 2 hours, all day long. You can (or can’t?) imagine how disruptive – and painful – that was, but it was literally the only way I could keep up with milk production.
I was determined. And the day we left, there were 84 ounces of milk in the house. PHEW.
So on Feb 20, we left our beautiful girls in the highly capable hands of Holly & Panda and left the country. Guess what happens to a body when it pumps every 2 hours for 2 weeks? It needs to keep pumping. So to keep up production while we were away and not return to NO MILK, I pumped every 3 hours for 4 days in Mexico where, remember, the water isn’t potable, and (GULP) I dumped it down the drain.
Yes, my friends, that is love.
So when I received the text from Holly on our last night in Mexico, you can imagine what my face looked like. Here’s the actual text: “So…Ella has been eating like a mad woman. We have about 17 oz left. She will likely have another 4 oz tonight, leaving only 13 oz for tomorrow. That’s if the night goes well.”
NO FREAKING WAY! Best laid plans. So at that moment, we began frantically trying to figure out the best next steps (via text, no less – thank goodness I bought the international text plan):
- Can we get home any earlier? No. Bad weather all around and no other direct flights that land sooner.
- My fantastic friend Karin offered her very own breast milk (she has an older kid but still, she’s quite healthy). No. Coordinating that would have been cost and time prohibitive for everyone involved.
- Can we introduce a new food? YES. Welcome, apples, to Ella’s food diary. Of course, a few more calories will not replace milk… (and FYI, though we had applesauce with cinnamon at home, turns out cinnamon is no bueno for small children due to possible allergic reaction)
And then the obvious: Formula. To be clear, no one liked this option BUT turns out we were only ONE OUNCE SHORT (can you believe that?!), and even Ella didn’t like that one ounce of formula ;)
Notice what’s missing above? BART & I WERE IN MEXICO. On a beach, at an all-inclusive resort with unlimited access to alcohol – in fact, we had liquor ON TAP in our room. On one hand, you’re probably thinking “Guess that pump & dump idea was a good one” but on the other hand, if you have a child and remember having a 5-month-old you know the following:
- We passed out early every single night, and it wasn’t from drinking.
- We were FINALLY able to relax the day before we left (insert breast milk panic at end of that day).
- Oh, and I was pumping every 3 hours ;)
I hope that one day our girls read this post and realize how very much they are loved! And believe me, we’ve very aware of how lucky we were to a) get to go to Mexico with our company and hang out with people we really like and b) come home to the cutest kids in the whole world.