I have a 18 mo still nursing, I have a almost 4yo. That's great, really, but I'm also a professor at a Universtiy in Mexico and my research involves working on the field.
Specifically I work with deer, mule and white tailed. That means that I have to go out in the field and look for them for long hours at remote locations.
I've really had great support from my family. I usually leave around 5am, and my mom comes to watch the girls while we are gone. DH usually goes with me everywhere, he is a SAHD, so he is pretty flexible. The girls love my parents and they live very close, so is all great.
However, I'm planning a short visit at a different state to work and learn new techniques. I went through all the loops and paperwork to get the financial assitance, and when I finally have it the guy from the other university says he thinks is not a good idea to bring my 18mo old with me. He says work is going to be intensive, I'm might be gone for 2-3 days a few times. I get it, actually I knew it was going to be hard to make it work. My little one is still nursing, specially at night. Leaving for 2-3 days is going to be hard for her, for my mom (who will be watching her) and for me, but I was really excited about this opportunity. I feel sad about it, YKWIM, I love my girls and I love my job but... should I try anyways? should I let this go and look for other options? what if I try to night-wean her in this month (the trip will be early next year)?
I guess I'm just venting, but if you have any suggestiong or BTDT I would love to hear.
I started traveling for academic work with a nursing toddler when he was 18 months. Weirdly, I just wrote a long post about it a few days ago -- here it is: http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1281856/2yo-nursling-and-my-9-day-vacation#post_16079012
Long story short, I would (and have) made the decision to go in similar circumstances. DS was fine (not happy about it all the time, but definitely fine overall) and picked right back up with nursing when I got home.
professor & maman de DS1 (6) & DS2 (1)
I'll second what Pi said. I have traveled for field work when my kids were similar ages. My 2nd nursed until he was 2 1/2. I left for up to a week in there and he would still happily return to nursing when I came home. Better yet, he was ok (maybe not thrilled, but ok) with me being gone. Dad is different and has different coping mechanisms, and it worked out just fine. I pumped and while my supply would dip some, ds2 would bring it back up to speed when I got home. No need to night-wean.
I would just travel without them this time. Sometimes, it's harder when you are doing two things at once (intense field work and night-time parenting).
I'll add my two-cents and say that travelling for work with a toddler NEVER caused her to wean. I mommy-led weaned her at 4.5 years old. That last year I kept hoping she would wean when I went away, but never did. She was always fine with my DH. Just different coping mechanisms.