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To make a looooong story short, my husband has a work trip coming up and every year for 7 years (our son is almost 7) he has turned these trips down - they are to entertain clients, etc... and it is pretty important that he and I go (wives all attend) but he made a statement with his company that his family comes first, and I really appreciate that. This year we have talked about it and the trip is 4 nights, but we have decided that maybe we could go for 2 nights (cut it in half and make an appearance). I have never been away from my kids for more than a few hours and then it was in town. This would be 2 nights away in another country (we live in Georgia - the trip is to Cancun, Mexico in a few months). I still sleep with my kids every night. They are almost 7 (will have a birthday 3 days after we get back) and just turned 3. My 3 year old still nurses. We would have my parents (who live in Michigan) fly in and stay with the kids. They are awesome and would spoil the kids rotten to keep them distracted. My mom would sleep in the bed with them like I do. They are a lot like me in their parenting style and I feel comfortable with them.

So, what would all of you do? In being honest with myself I cannot help but feel like it would be nice to get a break for 2 days. I have not slept through the night in almost 8 years (since I got pregnant). I am ALWAYS with my kids. I also think it might be nice for them to experience missing me a little bit - maybe they would appreciate me more??? I also know it would be good for me and hubby to have 2 nights together without kids. Our relationship is great, but it would only serve to strenghten it more I think.

BUT...the pit of my stomach has been hurting about this and when I talk about it I am close to tears. I am very close to my children. I don't want them to feel abandoned in any way,and have worked very hard for them to know that I am always here for them. I also am very upset about the idea of my daughter weaning during this time. I am not sure why I am so upset about it as she will be 3 years 4 months at the time and eats plenty of solid food, but I hate to think that she was not allowed to child led wean. Do you think she will still nurse when I get back?? Do you think I will need to pump while I am gone??? Should I leave some expressed milk for her in a cup? I think my mom will be able to get her to sleep both nights simply by distracting her and wearing her out, but she still wakes 2-5 times a night and wants to nurse and gets very angry if I suggest she waits until morning. I don't want to have to night wean her before we leave, but should I?

Am I doing the right thing? I have prayed and prayed to God to show me the way and when I ask the kids they are excited about the idea because they know granmommy and grandaddy will spoil them and I said I would leave a treasure hunt with toys for them for each day I am gone and that I would leave a tape with me reading a new book for story time each night and that I would let them watch TV if they were sad (which always get them excited because we rarely watch TV).
They seemed fine with it. I do believe my 7 year old will do great - he goes to public school and although he always complains about missing me he does really well. My daughter does fine when we leave her for a few hours with our sitter. She doesn't even fuss. BUT, I am worried about night time the most and about weaning.

Sorry this is so long, but as you can tell I am agonizing over this. I know a lot of people go away for a night or 2 without their kids, but I just never thought I would need to. I think maybe it's going to be harder on me than them. ANY ADVICE HERE AT ALLL?????

Thanks everyone.
Marnie
 

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I was in the hospital for 3 days last year (DH stayed with me too). I was really worried my DS then 2.5 would wean or be upset from being away from mom and dad for so long. We have very rarely even left him for an hour or two and never over night. But it turned out I was amazed, he did so well, was really happy with grandpa the whole time, slept well on his own, never asked for mommy milk etc (out of sight out of mind). And he happily returned to nursing full time once I got home. It went very well. You're a good mommy and you're kids are no doubt very well adjusted and will do just fine. Have a great trip!
 

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I have never been away from my 35 month old either. I've been daydreaming about spending an evening with my dh and having g'ma or granny come up and babysit and I'm feeling a bit conflicted about that. I know it would be wonderful for dh and I. So when I read your post I recognized some of the feelings you expressed!

The fact that your kids are excited and positive about the idea is the main thing, you know they are going to be having a good time and they are comfortable with the situation.

Knowing that, I think you should follow their lead in this as you seem to have done in other areas of their life. They are telling you they are ready.


Cancun is great - we went there on our honeymoon. If you have a chance take the sailboat out to La Isla Mujeres. (I think that's the name, it's an island where you can spend some romantic time w/ dh on an amazing beach of turquoise water and white sand... *sigh*)
Have fun!
 

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DS was not quite four when he went to "Grand(parents) Camp" with his sister and Nana and Poppa.

Honestly, I didn't worry at all. (He did cry a bit both nights). He was nursing during the night before he left and continued to do so when he came back (he wanted to sleep with FIL. FIL said, "I knew there was going to be a problem when we were laying in bed and he scooted over and started nudging my shirt out of the way." :LOL). BUT, I really really knew he could do it. And he really really wanted to.

I *don't* believe that kids this age always know, though, what they are ready for. If they did, you wouldn't see so many parents going and getting their kids in the middle of the night on their 1st, 2nd... sleep over. KWIM?

BUT, DS and DD both spent the night away from me before they were night weaned. For DS before he had even cut back. But, I knew he could do it, he wanted to (and I was 5 minutes away!).

My concern with your situation is NOT that your child while wean while you are gone. NOT that it is horrible to do so, etc... But rather that *you* feel so upset about it. I would really try to determine if you feel some serious misgivings or are just a bit overwhelmed by the idea right now. If it just doesn't seem "right", I wouldn't go. Is there anyway DH can just go?
 

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I agree with Tired, I think the biggest issue here is *your* comfort level.

I sleep with my kids for part of the night, and my 3.5yo and 22mo both still nurse (5.5yo doesn't). And yet, I went away last weekend. I was away for 3 nights. The kids stayed with dad, and had a great time. I pumped while I was gone, and honestly wasn't able to express much milk... maybe 3-4 oz/day. But when I returned, my girls were enthusiastic about nursing again, and we're back to normal. And I haven't noticed that their personality has changed as a result of my absence, either.

I'll be leaving my nurslings again next month, this time for a week when DH and I travel to bring our new son home from Ethiopia. I *am* a little concerned about leaving for such a long period of time. I'm not tremendously worried about nursing. I'm planning to pump to relieve engorgement while I'm away. When I return, I'm sure that my nurslings will be able to nurse frequently enough to bring my milk back. My concern is that I've never left the younger two with their grandparents before. They love grandma and grandpa, and say that they're looking forward to spending a special week at G&Gs. I have confidence that my parents will take excellent care of the kids. And yet, it's still hard to leave them. 2-3 days isn't a big deal, because I've done it before. But a whole week seems different to me, it's outside of my comfort zone.

But when I look at it, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Not only will I be able to travel and bond with my new son, but I really believe that my other 3 kids will benefit from spending a week with their grandparents. It's a great opportunity for them to get to know g&g a little bit more intimately, and to experience new things.

In the end, I think it depends on your comfort with the situation.

eta- re: nightweaning- I don't think it's neccesary for you to nightwean before leaving. My 22mo still nurses in the middle of the night sometimes, but it hasn't been an issue when I'm gone. Although she will ask for me, when DH tells her that I'm not there, she snuggles in next to daddy and goes back to sleep. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess...
 

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I agree with the PPs, and just to add my experience:

My younger ds is 3.5 and I've taken two trips in the past three months for work, each about 48 hours. My dh has been with him in the evenings and at night, and my mom came during the day. He did fine and didn't wean. I'd say the hardest thing for them was night-waking; dh is used to having to put him to sleep when I'm not around, but I'm usually always home by the time he might want to wake up and nurse.

I'll be gone over New Year's again, this time for three or four nights. It might be a little harder for him, but I'm confident that time with loved ones and some fun outings (I love your suggestions of what "treats" you'll leave for them!) will make the time pass quickly and he'll be OK.

I'd definitely plan to pump, both for your comfort and to maintain your supply. I can't pump much milk any more, but I'll probably bring mine in Dec. just in case.

As far as night weaning, I've never been able to institute that successfully - my kids only sleep through the night when they're good and ready. I'm pretty much resigned to nursing at night if ds seems to actually need it. So personally, I think trying to night wean beforehand might be more stressful than it's worth. Having your mom there in bed when your dd awakens is good, and it might take a little while to get back to sleep (I know ds and dh were up eating snacks several times) but kids are resilient. I know we all have to make up for lost sleep when I return from a trip!

Good luck,

Becca
 
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