This weekend was the first time I've been away overnight from my little boy. He's 8 months old today and it doesn't seem 8 months since he came into my life.
Ages ago however, in my naivety, I thought at 8 months I wouldn't worry about leaving him, at 8 months he'd be sleeping through, and at 8 months he'd be happily taking a bottle of expressed milk.
Guess how many of those things actually happened? None! To be fair perhaps I wasn't worried as such but I sure as hell felt lost without him and would have preferred to have him and my boyfriend with me for the weekend.
In the week leading up to the trip I have expressed milk like it was going out of fashion. On the plus side I now have a freezer of milk, which as a friend said, is probably enough to feed the street! On the downside, increased expressing means my body thinks there's increased demand when there isn't. I planned for this and brought my breast pump with me and made sensible plans to express as soon as I got to my hotel and other key points during the weekend, but the best laid plans and all that!
We arrived at the hotel to find our rooms were not ready yet. Not having gone this long before without feeding I felt my boobs were ok for a couple more hours. After a couple of hours I desperately needed some relief. We didn't make it back to the hotel until about 4pm and as soon as we were in our room I expressed while mum made that all important cup of tea!
A night out for Chinese food and a couple of drinks were merrily enjoyed but before I could go to bed I needed to relieve the boulders resting on my chest. I had thought they were pretty bad, mmm, until I woke at 2am, again at 3, 4 and half 5. Each time the boulders getting harder and heavier. At 6.45 I gave up and headed for a hot shower to express a little in there under the heavenly hot water.
Disaster! At 7am in the Hilton, we had no hot water.. :-(
On went the pump and within 20 minutes I managed to get two full bottles. Unheard of and incredibly uncomfortable. The day ahead involved visiting the NEC and spending the day at The Good Food Show. I wasn't expecting much in the way of facilities to be honest but decided to ask at customer services. I was directed to the Parenting Room which really surprised me . I can't praise the NEC enough for this. The room had a big play area with toys, a tunnel and a teepee for kids to play with, two high chairs, tables and chairs, two changing tables complete with nappies and wipes, and a private screened area with plug points for breast pumps. Amazing!
We had a great day at the show and about lunchtime I went and availed myself the facilities. At the end of the day we found ourselves short on time and at the other end of the centre and I couldn't really make it to the Parenting room, express and make it to our coach on time.
We were in the Wetherspoons having a quick refreshment. We spied an empty table with a plug socket and with some sneaky shielding I actually managed to express both sides without anyone realising.
We're now on the coach home and I know my other half has done a very hard but great job of making sure the little one has had his milk, but I can't wait to get back to feeding him. I'm in no rush to spend so long away from him again.