clean up catch up & a dilemma

July 27, 2018

When I take a week of call, I miss my weekly day off that comes with being an 80% employee.  But I always make them up the next week!

(Otherwise, that really would be heinously unfair.)
I ended up with both Tuesday + today (Friday) scheduled off this week, but then realized that I had committed to giving both morning report and noon conference today.  SOOO, I took 1/2 day off yesterday and will take 1/2 day this afternoon.
One one hand, this theoretically sounds nice because I get to spread out my time at home.  However, I would advise against this sort of schedule or anyone considering a part-time situation for two reasons:
1) COMMUTE.  There goes ~2 additional hours!
2) No reprieve from the morning rush (which is a delicious part of being off on a weekday)
3) It’s verrrrry easy to get sucked into doing more work which will quickly turn your half day into a ~90% day.
All that said, I am rather looking forward to today.  I think I am going to stay at work and just CRANK #(*&$@ OUT.  I may even close my door (typically never do this other than while pumping) so that everyone leaves me alone.  We are headed on vacation at the end of next week (yay!) so I want to start clearing everything out in preparation . . . 
– Empty new results list / pt IN BOX
– Clear out / respond to work email 
– Empty physical work IN BOX
– Finalize schedules for Sept conferences, Oct conferences
– Complete resident evals
– Put Sept-Dec schedules into calendar
– Podcast prep!  Look at fall schedule, review topics + guests
– Clear out / respond to regular email
– Finalize vacation plans!  ? Packing list for trip
– Weekend plan (for this weekend)
There’s a Pediatric Program Director meeting in October in Philadelphia that I was thinking of going to.  I think it may be useful for my residency-related role, and I think it would be fun.  G will be 10 months at that time.
As of now, I’m still fully pumping at work/nursing at home, but I do plan on scaling back on the pumping once we return from our trip.  That said, I really don’t want our breastfeeding relationship to end early – I enjoyed nursing A until about 13 months (AM/PM for a few months, no pumping!) and was hoping for a similar experience with G.  Should I:
a) Skip the conference; there will be many many MANY conf opportunities in the future but this is my last baby 
b) Bring G to the conference and have her hang out with my parents during the day while I attend conference activities.  This sounds . . . okay, but also hectic and extremely un-relaxing (which honestly is part of why conferences are typically enjoyable for me!).  Flying by myself with G – completely doable but un-fun.  My parents also live ~40 min from downtown PHL where the conference is held.  Although I could uber each day and have work cover it, esp since I wouldn’t be staying in a hotel.
c) Bring the pump, stay at a hotel (with a dinner out w/ my parents!) and just hope for the best (pump AM/PM/maybe once during day).  
My fear is with c) that she might not want to nurse when I got back.  Maybe it’s irrational but C quit abruptly at 9 months and I wasn’t ready – and it hurt my feelings and made me a little more paranoid this time around.
I recognized that my BoBW persona would say GO! but my heart is leaning towards a).  There will be many many conference opportunities in 2019 (already planning the calendar) when this won’t be an issue weighing on my mind.  

cutest ball & chain ever . . .


  • Reply Brooke March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I traveled all the time for a week at a time when my daughter was breastfeeding. By the end if the week I’d be pumping almost nothing, but a few days at home with the baby brought it right back up (I always had trouble pumping much, but no issues feeding directly). If it’s important professionally, then go. Don’t stress about the feeding.

  • Reply Sarah K March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Bring the pump! I had a similar situation when my son was a baby and it didn’t interrupt the nursing relationship at all. You will so refreshed after a few nights away!

  • Reply Alex March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    If you were obligated to go, that would be one thing- I’m sure it would be fine and even fun. But if you don’t have to go, and you don’t really WANT to go, then don’t! I definitely minimized non-required work travel during my twins’ first year, and I wasn’t even nursing. I know it doesn’t fit with the BoBW narrative, but I think your reasoning for option A is pretty solid.

  • Reply Sophia March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    The BoBW narrative is that you shouldn’t feel guilty about going if you want to and leaving your kids (in good hands) for a few days. If you don’t want to go you should skip it. I have no idea how important this is professionally so only you can decide but it’s only worth the hassle if you deem it important. No guilt allowed

    My second self weaned at 6 months (? Due to my pgy1 schedule) and it made me quite sad at the time

  • Reply Alexis March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Skip it. Last baby. Or bring her. I would avoid c if you don”t wanna risk it. I did b once and it went surprisingly well! (Baby was 7m)

  • Reply Dominique March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    How many days is the conference? Can you find a way to maximize the conference benefits but minimize the time away from the baby? I did a 4-day conference when my first baby was 10 months. She was with me 1 night in the hotel, then went to my in-laws for 2 nights (they were 40 minutes away). As soon as the 4th day was over, I went to my in-laws. I pumped the whole time (including in the McCormick Center in Chicago in their 4th floor bathroom). She nursed just fine after the two nights away.

  • Reply MommyAttorney March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I’ve had several friends whose BF relationship ended early because of trips. Especially at that age – babies can be very resistant to nursing again. I’d skip the conference. There will be more conferences. There won’t be more babies.

  • Reply Julia March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I would totally skip it and be happy about it, esp if you enjoy the bfing. Next year it will be a different story.

  • Reply Fallon March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Give yourself a break from all the angst and just skip it. As you say there are plenty more to go to when G gets a bit older. In my own recent experience I agreed to travel to a work conference then ended up dreading it, making up imaginary excuses. When it came to it I just did not want to leave my 3 and 1 year old. I wished I had of just said NO in the first place, it would have saved me so much mental anxiety.

  • Reply Saramir March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I”ve never commented but have strong opinions on this! I think you answered it yourself. The conference sounds like a good idea professionally because of the possibility of being able to relax. Having to negotiate a baby during travel and switching back and forth from mom to professional is the opposite of relaxing. If you leave her there is a real risk of losing the bf bond you really enjoy and have worked REALLY hard for. This isn”t a question in my mind…the conference is optional and while theoretically possible not ideal.

    I”m a PhD not MD but have faced similar decisions and regret putting myself in the stressful situation. Once I went through w conference and left baby. I was somewhat a wreck sometimes ok…baby was fine but it ended up being not at all worth it professionally relative to the personal cost. With my 3rd and last I was planning to bring her and ended up bailing at the last minute AFTER a major stress breakdown. The decision to back out was worse professionally than saying no up front would have been.
    Good luck whatever you decide!

  • Reply Jessica March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    FWIW, I did option C at least twice with babies number two and three. They didnt have a problem going back to nursing when I got home, and even though it killed me, after a bad transport experience the first time, I just dumped what I pumped on the road the other theee times. I did not do this with baby one and always brought her with me or skipped events. She is the one who abruptly quit around 10.5 months and hurt my feelings. The other two breastfed until 18ish months each!

  • Reply anereson March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Oh, I have done so much thinking about conferencing with a nursing baby – my daughter nursed until 2 and during that time I went to 6-7 conferences. I did not have supply issues but had a LOT of anxiety about her weaning unexpectedly, or too early (for me). I remember being so worked up about leaving for a conference where I wasn’t bringing her – she was only nursing twice a day by that point but I was feeling really apprehensive about the whole thing, only to be leaving for the airport for the flight to the conference and find out my flight was cancelled. The next available flight would have given me twelve total hours at the conference with the time changes, etc., and so I gave my papers virtually and felt so much relief at that cancelled flight. You’ve got lots of conference opportunities forthcoming – I’d lean toward a) and enjoy it. Or b), with your parents at the hotel (they could always hang in your room). Or maybe ask yourself how you would feel if your flight to Philly (sans G) got cancelled? 🙂

  • Reply Rinna March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    As per some of our previous chats, you know I’m a big "lean in" kind of gal, and honestly, I’d totally skip the conference UNLESS you felt it was an irreplaceable (or hard to replace) professional experience. My second choice, if you don’t want to skip, is to have your parents stay in the hotel with you (I think somebody mentioned this as being option d). I had two kids quit BFing after a trip, and I was only okay with it because I knew it could happen and accepted it before I went on the trop. (I mean, my youngest – and last – was over 14 months old when I went, so I was okay with it. But had I not had this important work trip to make, I’d have happily BF him until 18 months or so (just am and pm, no pumping).)

  • Reply Caitlin March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    I”d say think about what you were secretly hoping everyone would say, and then do that 😉 sometimes hard to know what you want but can become clear when others tell you to do something different (see shorts post) 😉

    I did the pump thing x 2 (leaving 2mo and then 5mo behind) and it wasn”t as relaxing as I thought it would be. My breasts woke me up in the middle of the night bc they were so used to nursing and I felt leaving to pump at times during conference somehow always wound up feeling more intrusive and unprofessional than I expected. (Also pediatrics conference so pump-friendly crowd)

  • Reply Marthe March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Very late to the party but I would totally skip the conference! Plan another one that will be fun for just you 🙂 and enjoy your last baby/bf period to its maximum!

  • Reply Lee March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I’d choose a), if you’re looking for validation for that choice. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley Shallcross March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I have been away from all 3 of my kids and all of them have gone back to nursing just fine. I would go, I think C stopping was out of the norm and G will nurse again when you get home. And hotel room by yourself, YES!

  • Reply Gillian March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    B or C. Don’t miss the conference! Besides traveling with one kiddo from Miami to Philly will feel like a pleasure cruise after traveling with 3 across the country.

  • Reply gwinne March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Yeah, trade offs. For what ever it’s worth, in a similar situation, I pumped and dumped (Tiny Boy was about 15 mo so taking formula [milk allergy] plus nursing when I was available but we also weren’t ready to quit); that worked pretty well, though I was gone a day longer than anticipated due to weather delay and that made me a bit crazy.

    Bringing G and childcare would be a good option if you’re able to split focus. I’d rather have solo conference time and catch up on sleep, but to each her own 🙂

  • Reply Anjanette March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    If your parents have the flexibility and the cost and availability of the hotel room is not prohibitive, I would add option d) Bring G and book a hotel room for your parents. It could actually be a nice opportunity to savor time alone with your last baby and still a useful work trip (a double win for your future self!). Granted you would have a less relaxing flight and more luggage, but you would have plenty of time for attending events and socializing at the conference and you could arrange time with G during the day to suit your schedule and hers (and leave the pump at home if you want). It would also be a savoring opportunity for the grandparents- they would surely delight in having G all to themselves during the day or for evening events, and when you are with G they might enjoy the time in the city. And while you are away, Annabel and Cameron might enjoy having the time with Josh or your nanny when it”s just the “big kids” and there is freedom to do activities or events that are harder to do with a baby along. All the options sound good though. Also, G is adorable!

    • Reply Jessica March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      This was what I was thinking of also. 2 of my 5 weaned at 9 months, and when my 4th did, I was also upset. I thought he was my last baby! 4 years later, I have a newborn again, and am realizing that he loves me just as much as the ones who nursed for longer:) Go, bring G, and bring your parents into the hotel. I brought my dad with me to a cross-country wedding with a 10 month old, and he loved having the 1:1 time with her.

    • Reply nicoleandmaggie March 10, 2019 at 7:07 pm

      I have done all four of these options (including flying my MIL out to San Diego!). They’ve all worked!

  • Reply Erica March 10, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    I think it depends on how much you will gain from the conference professionally. Remember I was wrestling with this exact scenario when I went to a conference in March and B was 9 months old! I went with option C and it worked out. I stayed at the conference hotel so was easily able to get up to my room to pump between sessions. The biggest issue was my long flight – I was seated next to two college his heading on spring break and I couldn”t bring myself to pump on the plane!

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