Hi, I'm still nursing my nearly-two-and-a-half year old son. We nurse maybe 3ish to 4ish times a day on average (more on the weekends usually). I don't think my milk supply is that great anymore but I haven't tried pumping in awhile so I don't really know. I just notice that I generally only have one let-down per session anymore. Also I can go a solid 16 hours without nursing or pumping with only minor discomfort. So I'm guessing my supply is pretty low. Also my son has remarked a couple times, after nursing for a few minutes, that there's "no more milk" left on that side (like, it is there initially, but after a couple minutes nursing on that side there isn't any more). Other times there seems to be as much milk as he wants though.
Anyway, my dad is having hip replacement surgery in late May and is very anxious about it and understandably would like me to be there (I'm a doctor and I think the idea of having me there makes him feel more secure). I don't feel comfortable leaving DS for more than about 24-36 hours, so I'm planning a VERY SHORT trip, arriving the day of surgery and flying back late on the day after surgery. I don't think for such a short trip that it makes sense to bring DS--the disruption in his routine isn't worth it, and having a toddler underfoot with my dad in the hospital would not be great either.
DS has managed before with me being gone for nearly 24 hours, although he was very clingy for a week or so after and wanted to nurse ALL THE TIME. (He told me he wanted "more and more and more nu-nu (our word for nursing) because he missed me". Sweet). So I think DS will be fine, although not too happy about me being gone.
I'm just wondering, at this point in our nursing life, is it necessary for me to bring a pump with me while I'm gone? When we were apart for almost 24 hours, I didn't pump, although I did get a bit uncomfortable, and I think my supply took a hit when I did that twice in one week. (My son seems to be working diligently to get my supply back up ever since). I can hand express some, although I don't think I get as much as I do with the pump, so that would probably be alright for my comfort but I don't know about the effect on supply. I am willing to bring a manual pump if necessary; the electric seems like too much trouble at this point. I have never used a manual pump though and don't know how well it would work.
I have mixed feelings about my son still nursing so much at his age but I don't think I want this trip to precipitate weaning. I want him to do that on his own accord and his own schedule. He seemed sad the couple of times he remarked that there was "no more milk" left. I'm concerned that if I don't pump or hand express or anything, my supply will take a big hit and it will encourage weaning. Which wouldn't be the end of the world at this point, but this isn't really how I would prefer for it to happen.
I realize this is mostly a matter of personal preference, but any advice re: whether to bring a pump or if hand expression for comfort is enough? Do you think my supply will take a major hit if I DON'T pump for 30-36 hours and just hand express for comfort?
Thanks in advance for any advice!