My cousin’s birthday was coming up and she wanted to do a girl’s getaway somewhere. Knowing that I would be hesitant to leave my 11 month-old baby for too long, especially since I was still breastfeeding at night, she pitched me a weekend in Rome. I wouldn’t have to leave Italy and it would only be for three days. I was sold.
I wasn’t too worried about giving him formula because he’s had it before.I knew that with my husband and my mother-in-law, he would be in good hands so, all I was anticipating was just a little heartache. The only thing I had to remember was to bring my electrical breast pump for the weekend.
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WEEKEND TRIP IN ROME
The girl’s weekend finally arrived. My cousin organized pretty much everything, so all I had to do was book my train tickets and show up. I didn’t know the other two ladies joining in on the celebration but it was the least of my problems. The day I was supposed to leave, I somehow ended up with an enormous list of things to do. In a rush to get everything done, while minding my mischievous baby, I got a call from my husband saying that I had to give the ‘OK’ on the room dimensions of the new house. This meant I had to drive up to the hills to check out the construction site, confirm the wall placements before they were going to proceed that same afternoon, then drive back. Adding this to my already packed schedule was almost impossible. But, I managed to do everything and make my train. Miracle.
I arrived in Rome three hours later, relaxed and in classy-birthday-party mode. I enjoyed my walk along the Tevere as I made my way to the apartment in the beautiful neighbourhood of Trastevere. When I arrived, my cousin greeted me right away and showed me to our room. The other girls were busy on the phone and working so I decided to get settled, freshen up and then introduce myself. After I unpacked, I remembered that I had to pump. We were about to leave for aperitivo, dinner and then drinks so if I didn’t pump at the apartment, I would spend dinner and drinks with painful boobs.
I noticed that the girls were off their phones and started to gather in the living room to chat. As not to be anti-social, I joined them as well but brought my bag with the breast pump and nursing cover. I introduced myself and warned them that I would have to pump. They quickly assured me that there was no problem.
S****, OMG, NO! I NEED A BABY
I took the parts out of the bag and started to put them together when I realized that pieces were missing. I left the missing pieces in the sterilizer. That is the result of being rushed: I had no working pump. I felt my face heat up and something heavy in my stomach. I couldn’t believe I forgot my breast pump parts.
Forgetting about making first impressions, I put my head in my hands and cursed. My immediate thoughts were:
“How am I going to rid of this milk?”
“I’m going to get mastitis.”
“I’m going to lose my milk.”
“I need a baby, NOW!”
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FORGET YOUR BREAST PUMP
- Ideally, go back home to breastfeed your baby. If you are away for a weekend or longer, like I was, this is not an option.
- Find a baby to breastfeed. Are you laughing? I did. It was the first thing I thought of, jokingly, but I honestly read this suggestion in a mad search to find out how to get rid of my milk. While it’s a valid solution, it’s weird. Would you let your baby nurse from another woman? Didn’t think so.
- Learn how to manually express milk from your breasts. This is what I did. There are some techniques on how to express, but it is tiring. My shoulder muscles were giving out after 15 minutes of expressing. Another problem is that you can’t really control how the milk comes out. It will start out dripping and then when you express more efficiently it starts to spray out in all different directions. The easiest place to manually express is in a hot shower. The heat will help with a faster let down.
- Go to the pharmacy to buy a manual breast pump. This is what I should have done. Buying another electric pump came to mind but I quickly dismissed it as I didn’t want to fork out 200 Euros. I don’t know why I didn’t think of a manual pump. They only cost about 20 Euros.
- For pain relief, take an ibuprofen or apply an ice pack or cold cabbage to relieve engorgement.
JUST BUY ANOTHER BREAST PUMP
My personal suggestion is to go to the pharmacy or your nearest Walmart to pick up a manual breast pump. It’s worth the 25 dollars. I say this because your shoulders will give out before you manage to empty your breasts by expression. My breasts were never completely empty and as a result, they filled up quickly and were tender again in no time. I had to express in public washrooms, over sinks, over toilets and it was horrible. Not to mention the clean up that is required afterward because the milk doesn’t always come out in one, straight stream.
Despite my boob problems, I enjoyed my cousin’s birthday weekend. We had a fun night out in Rome, did a road trip to the thermal springs in Saturnia, had a wine tasting, stayed at a wonderful agriturismo, visited Pitigliano and Tarquinia!
When I was on the train back home, I warned my husband: “Make sure my baby is famished when I come home because I have A LOT of milk to get rid of!”
Just so you know, I did notice a slight drop in my milk production and my baby needed to nurse a little more than usual the first couple days I was back home. I could have increased it by pumping between feedings but my baby was already 11 months-old and I wanted to reduce feeding sessions anyway. In the end, it all worked out.