Posted by: birdsandsquirrels | May 13, 2010

the state of things

I have another motherfucking blocked duct. This must be number 11 or 12. By now I shouldn’t let it bother me. I should start my system of dealing with them and get on with it and it will probably go away in a few days. But it HURTS. And I’m MAD. And I’m going to whine for a moment. Why can’t this start going smoothly? We have had so many breastfeeding issues – bad latch, cracked and bloody nipples, nipple shields, thrush, infections, Birdie having reflux, me having low supply, and blocked ducts from hell. UGH.

Ok now that THAT is out of my system I can move on. On the positive side, we have made some progress with weaning Birdie off the nipple shields. She will often feed on the left side without one unless she is really tired and fussy. She has been taking the right side once in a while without the shield. The right side is the one with the recurrent blocked duct problems. I was hoping that the blocked ducts would improve without using the shield since milk transfer is supposedly better without the shield. I would like to get her weaned off the shields completely over the next two weeks if possible, because her first plane trip is at the end of the month.

I am taking her to visit my family on the west coast! I am excited and nervous at the same time. I will have help flying out there, thank god. My aunt (the baby whisperer) is coming to visit next week and then we fly back together. I am hoping that I can figure out a good system for packing and going through the airport and that by the time we fly back alone, I will be more comfortable.

I need help and suggestions for flying with a baby, so please, leave your best tips in the comments for me. I am such a freak and will obsess over every detail. I like to know the procedure for things in advance. I used to fly all the time before the baby came, and I had my whole system down to a science – what to check, what to carry on, exactly what I would need, blah blah blah. But it all changes now. These are some of the questions I have:

-Do I buy her a ticket or carry her in arms?  (I agonized about this and ended up buying a ticket for her. Since I am flying back alone, and she can be really squirmy, I decided my peace of mind was worth the extra $350 so she can be safe and comfy in her car seat. I would love to know others’ opinions and experiences with this though)

-what exactly to bring in the diaper bag? How many diapers? Will I have enough wipes if she has diarrhea like she has lately? How many changes of clothes? How many toys/pacifiers/teethers/books/etc do I bring for entertainment? I have to balance being prepared with what I can reasonably carry.

-the stroller. Do I bring our full size Chicco cortina travel system stroller and gate check it? Or do I buy a snap n go stroller base in case the full size stroller gets thrashed?  That’s at least another $60 and I’ll realistically never use it again. I plan to buy a smaller maclaren umbrella stroller for travel when she’s a bit older, but for now since she’s still in the infant car seat from the travel system, I thought I would just use the cortina. It is awesome and folds easily with one hand. It is HUGE though, but it is comfortable for her and easy for me to push around and we will likely be using it a lot on our trip. Has anyone gate checked a stroller and not gotten it back at your connection? That would be disastrous. I’m expecting to be able to throw some stuff underneath and hang the diaper bag on it.

-feeding on the plane. We haven’t really nursed in public. In the doctor’s office yes, in the car once, in the nursing room at BRU twice, but never really in front of PEOPLE. I have a lot of anxiety about that. She thrashes around a lot. The shields (if we are still needing them) are a pain to put on and keep on while she’s flailing around trying to latch. She likes to stop nursing and look around lately and DOES NOT like a blanket or nursing cover over her head.

We are addicted to My Breast Friend or a Boppy pillow. I don’t know if my breasts are just ridiculously large and unwieldy, but getting her positioned and holding my breast just right is complicated. Without a nursing pillow of some sort, it is a disaster. She is too heavy to hold in cross cradle with just my arm anymore. In regular cradle, it is damn near impossible to get her head lined up just right with my nipple. Our doctor recommended we practice in public so we both get more comfortable with it. So far I have now nursed in my in laws living room, with them in it. That is as far as we have made it. I tried again in the car the other day while we were out doing errands and she got fussy. It did not go well. If I can’t nurse her in the close confines of the back seat of our car, how will I nurse her on the plane!?

Do I bring a hand pump in case direct nursing doesn’t work? It would be so much easier to just nurse her if we can manage it. Should I bring some formula too?

She is starting to squeal. Loud. It is kind of cute at home, but I imagine it could be awful on a plane. Should I buy an industrial sized box of ear plugs and have them ready to distribute to surrounding passengers, or will I seem like an ass for bringing a knowingly loud baby (if I thought ahead to bring ear plugs) on a plane?

We have a 2 hour flight, a 4 hour layover, and another 4 hour flight, then a 90 minute drive to my mom’s house. We will get in after 3 am Eastern time. I am hoping that she will sleep a lot. It has the potential to be miserable, which is why I haven’t flown with her yet. Thankfully she seems to be liking her car seat lately, so buying her a ticket so she can for sure be in her car seat is probably the best thing we could have done.

Oh, and regarding car seats, how does using a rear facing infant seat on a plane work? The person in front would not be able to recline their seat, right? What if they complain? Do they make you put it in forward facing? We can’t be in a bulkhead seat because those have non movable arm rests and the car seat will not fit in them, according to what I have read.

This is totally stressing me out. Please tell me that it will all be fine.



  1. 😦 i wish there was even a single piece of advice i could give….but alas i’m such a freak that i chose to drive 10 hours over 2 days to go to my conference instead of flying!!

    i hope lots of people have great ideas that you can compile and sell for all of us other type a people!!

    also…i have complete faith in you, you’ll do totally great! 🙂

  2. I have no advice, but check with Erin at if you haven’t already. She’s flown with Trevor a few times and probably has a bit of advice. 🙂 Good luck!

  3. I am no help. I can’t imagine doing that kind of thing at this point.

    On the NIP thing, sometimes it just ain’t as neat and perfect as we would like it to be. It really probably won’t be that bad and on the way there your aunt can block you from curious eyes. They won’t necessarily be that much more modest, but you might check out Baby Bond nursing covers. If you don’t want to buy one of those, I think wearing a nursing tank under a regular shirt is probably just as good (plus you don’t have to wear a special nursing shirt to make it work).

    Probably take some formula premeasured formula just in case.

    I would take the cortina, but those and that things are HUGE. Will it fit in whatever vehicles you are riding in with your luggage too? Birdie might want to stretch out a little with that long of a day and it would be good for that.

    It sounds intimidating but I’m sure it will be a lot better than you plan for.

    By the way, BIL and SIL loaned us their cortina travel system… I don’t really like it, the stroller is just way too huge. I got a Chicco Liteway the other week and I really like it! It’s a pretty nice compromise between a full size and a umbrella. Since we moved to the convertible seat I wanted less bulk but still need something that fully reclined.

  4. Oh, and sorry on the plugged duct. I think you probably will do better when you get off of the shield.

    Are you staying away from underwire bras?

    I hadn’t had a plugged duct in forever until I went a night without a nursing tank on… I don’t know if it was the lack of support, or if it got cold or what. I knew I was in trouble in the morning when it felt like I had a baseball in there.

    When I get one I find that I just have to keep the kid on that side, again and again, until he gets it for me. Good luck, those things suck.

  5. Okay, calm down. This is a good age to fly because once she gets more mobile, she will not be as fun to travel with until she’s probably more like 18 months.

    rear facing car seats go in forward facing in planes (we traveled with britax roundabout)
    definitely gate check a stroller. Snap and Go is nice for traveling but I wouldn’t buy new. Check out consignment stores, craigslist, or freecycle (do you have these in your areas?) I got two : one for free and one for $10. I wish you were closer, I’d just give you one

    Sorry for the BFing woes!! Did you use a vibrator to help unclog the duct?
    As far as feeding in public, wear a regular t-shirt so that way you can just lift up a little with easy access bra. You can be descreet and won’t need cover. If you want to get a cover, the hooter hiders (or baby au lait ) ones are the best (I’ve tried about a dozen of different brands and baby hates all of them, but will tolerate this one when he’s hungry enough (but lifting up tshirt slightly should do you). do you have a nursing necklace to wear so she doesn’t thrash about so much with something in her hands to finger and look at. You can use an air plane pillow under arm for support OR if there is room, what I often do when I’m out in public is cross my leg to help support and just hold his head with the opposite hand. (example, he’s eating on the right boob, I cross my right leg over left and use left hand to position his head. And if she’s hungry enough, she will eat and not complain, at least thats been my experience
    Make sure she is sucking on something during takeoff and landing to help equalize the ear pressure
    If all else fails, it sounds like you have some breaks when you are not in the plane, so if you know she is getting hungry, I’d try and feed her in the airport before you board. Usually the airports have ‘family’ bathrooms that have special places to change diapers and nurse babies. I know I’ve hung out in a few around this country
    Diapers : 10 (basically a day’s supply)
    4 onies
    3 bottoms
    2 burp cloths
    1 receiving blanket
    2-3 fav. toys to cuddle/chew on (she’ll probably be very interested in everything going on around her) Plus, I bet she’ll sleep a lot. At least that’s what my son did when he was young
    I package of wipes.
    bags for dirties

    If you decided not to have her own seat, you can get a CARES harness. We have always bought seat so he can sleep on plane in something he is used to sleeping in. But it can be a pain getting everything onboard.

    Where on the west coast? if you end up in the SF Bay area in CA, we should meet up.

    have fun! and breathe!

  6. Missing one had great advice.
    I’m sure it will be ok.
    We didn’t book her a seat since I didn’t want her sitting in her car seat for 6 hours+ and didn’t want o lug her car seat through the airport. She rode in a sling.
    Packed both our things in one medium suitcase. Only toy I packed at 2 mo was a duckie puppet washcloth.
    Diaper bag: 3 diapers with lots more in my carry-on backpack. Baggie with 10 or so wipes in it. 3 changes of clothing just in case. I had a thicker sleeper in there too in case it got cold in the plane (it did) and put it on as a second layer. Soother (never use it except in confined public places). Blankie. Little pump cooler case with ome EBM in it. UdderCover to throw over me when pumping. Ziplocs for dirty clothes/diapers. Cloth for spitups.
    Toys: didn’t need much at this age, plus we flew at night. She had fun starting at the lights and watching life pass by. I could see packing a couple of small portable toys to keep her entertained.
    BF: Apparently I don’t have any hangups about doing this in public. Never thought I’d feed her in the same room as my brother or Dad, but I have. Pumping I prefer to do only in front of DH or my mom. I had the window seat, which protected her head from the trolley and people’s bags and gave me more privacy when latching her on. If you’re flying home alone with her, can you book a window and aisle two-seater row and put her car seat in the aisle seat to block the view?
    Stroller: We checked our car seat and UppaB.apy stroller base. Our airline only allows you to gate check an umbrella stroller that collapses to under 10″ diameter. Anything bigger is a piece of luggage. We’ll travel like this while she’s in the infant car seat, but will get an umbrella stroller when she outgrows it. Check with your airline about the travel system and if you can gate check it.

  7. I WOULD bring formula, because you do not want to be trapped on a plan with a screaming Birdie and no help to be found. It’s worth it for you peace of mind. Because Peter eats ALL THE TIME- I have breast fed in the parking lots of… Giant, Trader Joes Shop Rite, and the mall. I have also fed him at my parents, my sister in laws, the doctors office and in the front window and sitting room of the Honda dealership. I have found that people are either comfortable with it ( like my step mom and sister in law) or they make zero eye contact. It has never been a problem- promise.

    That sucks about your blocked duct. You really saved me with all your blocked duct advice, every night when I take a shower I put the shower head on pulse and spray my breasts really hard just to keep everything moving.


    if you haven’t already seen it….

    good luck!

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