It's that time of the year again when we women look forward to dates, candlelit dinners, vacations and travels just for two. Valentine’s day is the day when husbands and wives take a break from the usual routine of working and taking care of the kids. For breastfeeding moms, milk pumps have to be in the scene as well, but hey, it is very possible to enjoy that movie, fancy dinner, or even an overnight stay at a hotel or vacation nonetheless! Here are some tips that may come in handy before slipping into that little black dress and stilettos:
1. Leave enough milk for the hours/days you will be away. Three hours? One day? Make sure you leave enough milk for your baby's needs during the hours you are away. Observe how often and how long your baby nurses and try to pump as much milk as you can. Store the milk in 2-4 ounce amounts to reduce waste. Pumped milk should either be refrigerated (can last from three to eight days)* or frozen (up to two weeks in a freezer).
2. Make sure your nanny knows how to handle your stored breastmilk. Teach your househelp/trusted relative to whom you will leave baby how to warm or thaw your stored milk properly. This is a key in ensuring your baby will still get the most out of your breastmilk. Frozen milk should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator, then warmed by immersing the container in warm water. Tell your nanny to NEVER boil your milk, or reheat it directly on the stove. Don't use microwave as it will destroy essential properties of the milk.
3. Feed the baby before you leave. This will maximize your stored milk, as she will not immediately consume your pumped milk right after you leave.
4. If you are away from your baby overnight or for a few days, bring a pump. Keep that milk supply from dwindling away. Make sure you pump every two to three hours to maintain your supply. Also make sure to bring clean, sterilized containers or milk bags. If your room doesn't have a refrigerator or freezer, feel free to ask the front desk if they can store your milk in their kitchen freezer for you. A thermal bag or an ice chest will keep your milk at low temperature while on your travel going back.
5. Remind your partner politely. Though your husband or partner knows you are nursing, it is polite to remind them before getting sexy that your breast might squirt or leak. Also, you might want to wear breast pads to protect your clothes from stains (and you from an embarrassing situation!)
6. No alcohol or cigarettes please! Keep in mind that you are a breastfeeding mother and that your child's health should not be compromised, so avoid alcoholic beverages and cigarettes (even second hand smoke!) at all costs as it will harm you (and your baby).
So you see, you can have a worry-free Valentine even when you’re a new mom! Enjoy this day with your spouse.
*La Leche League (http://www.llli.org/faq/milkstorage.html )