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Thread: Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old.

  1. #1

    Default Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old.

    I am leaving later this week to visit my elderly grandparents 6 hours away. I won't be the driver for this journey but my travel mates know we will have to stop frequently.

    At this time, my son is nursing every 20-45 minutes and alternates heavy sucking, comfort nursing and throwing a fit b/c the milk has slowed down (breast compressions help for a couple of minutes but his frustration escalates quickly). He never seems to be satisfied. I'm thinking he must be going through another growth spurt or is this the new normal (seems to have been going on for the past 2 weeks.)

    How will I be able to get through such a long car ride? I think we still have latch issues judging by the frequency of his nursing sessions. He throws a fit with the flow of milk decreases and the pulling has damaged my right nipple (which is happening often since he needs to nurse *all* the time.)

    I'm wondering if I should just pump and bottle feed him on the car ride? Or just wait to visit family?

    2 pounds gained in first month. We have 4-6 poopies and 6-8 wets a day. Yellow and seedy. He seems to be colicy with gas and general fussiness.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old

    Long car trips are possible with newborn babies. But IMO, not advisable because they are so stressful. What happens if your newborn hates the carseat and screams for 6 hours straight? Or won't nurse well on the road, or at grandma/grandpa's house? Unless grandma and grandpa are so fragile that they cannot travel, then to me it makes sense to get nursing sorted on your home territory, rather than trying to make it work on the road, or potentially screwing up breastfeeding due to overuse of bottles and pump.

    If baby is gaining well on breastmilk alone, then don't mistake him "never seeming satisfied" for anything other than normal newborn behavior. Though the fact that you have nipple damage concerns me- frequent feedings do not cause nipple damage when a baby is properly latched. A baby can be latched literally all day long and not cause mom any pain or damage, provided he is latched correctly. Can you see a LC, preferably an IBCLC, for some hands-on help?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old

    Few moms can manage getting to a mommy and me or LLL meeting 10 minutes away from home at 4 weeks, much less a long, overnight(?) trip.

    I would suggest wait, unless there is some urgency to this trip. Your baby will be just as (or more) enjoyable to your grandparents in a few months, and you will feel much more confident by then.

    If you do decide to go, make sure your travel mates are very understanding and willing to happily stop and wait as often as you need. Nurse as needed. Bottles and pumping are best avoided at this age especially if there are breastfeeding issues like the pulling off and nipple injury you are describing. Stop and nurse when you need to, and if your baby will take a pacifier, let baby, but only for parts (not all!) of the car ride. Also, mom's pinky finger makes an excellent pacifier.

    I very much agree with mommal about the latch. Frequent nursing and comfort nursing are entirely appropriate and important! So many moms get the false idea there is something undesirable about comfort nursing. Nothing could be further from the truth. To a baby, all nursing is comfort nursing! Also, your baby is growing awfully fast (a good thing!) for there to be a 'slow flow' issue. Have you considered the opposite-a fast flow?
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; August 27th, 2013 at 03:44 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Default Re: Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old

    I would definitely, without a doubt, postpone the car trip, seek an alternate mode of transportation, or invite the grandparents to visit.

    We made the mistake of driving back from my parents' home after Christmas when my son was 2 months old. BIG mistake. I would never do that again. What would usually be a 4 hour trip became 9. Whenever he wasn't nursing, he was totally inconsolable in the carseat. I had to lean over the carseat and nurse him in the back to offer comfort. As a non-CIO mother, I found the experience completely heart wrenching.

    Now, that being said, travel isn't impossible. We had a perfectly lovely 5 hour train trip to my parents' house on the arrival end of the visit. The ability to cuddle and nurse my son ensured his needs were met fully, and it was a really lovely time to bond as a new family. We've also had a lot of success with air travel for the same reasons, and nearly constant nursing during take-off and landing ensured air pressure changes didn't hurt my son.

    So, I'm basically advocating against *car* trips. They're horrendous, but air or rail travel are both doable and potentially quite enjoyable!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old

    I think, unless there was an urgent reason to go now, I'd try to wait a little bit longer to travel. It's not just the nursing (though that's a big factor), it's everything about having a newborn- a safe place to sleep, time to nap, both of you being comfortable enough to relax, heck, you're body is still recovering from pregnancy! Give yourself and your baby some time to adjust to each other and your new circumstances if you can.

    And if you can't, I highly recommend learning to lean over the car seat to nurse.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    middle of IA

    Default Re: Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*still.here View Post
    And if you can't, I highly recommend learning to lean over the car seat to nurse.
    i totally did this too, and it really saved our sanity, but it *is* a tradeoff on safety. even if you can do it with your seatbelt on, your body could crush your newborn in an accident.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Help! Visiting family 6 hours away.... with a 4 week old

    Personally, I too would put off the trip. It's such a tender time. Wait until things are settled and you both are on solid footing with your breastfeeding relationship. I'd also go on my own / in my own car if I did go. Other people may say they'll be understanding but after the 4th stop and you're not even 1/2 way through your trip, I can easily see you feeling pressured to "let him go longer" or "cry it out". Not fair to you. Not fair to your little one.

    Personally I would never bottle feed a baby little in a car seat. If they choke, you can't sit them up quickly. If they spit up, you can't sit them up quickly.

    There's also been stories (although I wouldn't think anyone here would do this) of Mom's taking baby out of the carseat and nursing while the car is in motion. In addition to this being against the law - this can be DEADLY. A baby out of a carseat becomes a projectile in a crash. I've even seen pictures of some Mom's who think that putting the shoulder strap over the baby while they were nursing is "enough". :frustrated Um, no. If there's a crash that strap will crush the baby against Mom's body.

    The longest trips I took at that young age was about an hour. Even those required stops sometimes! Unless there are other pressing matters which make you really need to go NOW, I'd delay if I were you.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!

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