March 5th 2015, Kyra is now 2 months 1 week old, and for the past 2 months I had been really struggling with breastfeeding. The common myth that women don’t have enough milk (and I thought I was one of them) turned out to be so untrue, and while I breastfed on demand rather than on a schedule, I actually had lots of milk to spare, a little too much actually. Now to anyone who hasn’t dealt with oversupply, this might seem like a good thing, it really isn’t fun at all.
Since I called a lactation consultant to come help me with Kyra’s poor latch when she was about a week old, I had been struggling to get her to nurse without fussing. Most days she would scream, arch her back, and cry at the top of her lungs whenever I tried to nurse her and I would sob quietly along with her. The only times she didn’t struggle with nursing from the fast flow of milk was when she was asleep and too lazy to fuss about it, but I believed I was doing the best thing for her, and the few times that she nursed peacefully kept me going till things got better.
I had refused to pump milk and give them to her by bottle, as I was worried she would end up preferring the bottles to the breast, and I personally was not willing to pump exclusively, so despite everyone telling me to pump for the airport at least and bottle-feed her during the trip, I refused. I thought to avoid jet lag for Kyra, it would be better to take the morning flight, but that meant having to wake up at 3:30am to be at the airport by 5. I had bathed her and dressed her the night before and put her in my wrap since it would be easier for me to carry her on me and have both of my hands free.
The airport was packed that day, and even at 5am the line to the Middle East Airlines counter was full, so after waiting in line for over half an hour we finally get there, Kyra sleeping and I half asleep. I hand the man our passports and visas, and ask him to book me the seats in the back in case they would be empty, but as soon as he checks our papers, he says to me “I’m sorry you can’t take that flight”. My initial thought was; this dude has a really bad sense of humor at 5:45am. And so I ask him “why?” He explains to me that there was a typo on my visa and that the passport number didn’t match on both. I pleaded for him to let us through as my baby was with me and to go back home and unpack would be a nightmare, but he insisted that they would send us back from Dubai should they notice the mistake and the airline would have to pay a fine.
And so, with tearful eyes, I walked away from the counter and called my dad to pick us up again. I think I must have used every curse word I know that day, and my husband did the same all the way from Dubai as he ran around to get my visa fixed, in the hope of getting us a flight that same afternoon. I went back home, hoping I could get some sleep, but for Kyra the day had just begun. She wanted to play with her zombie mommy, and I tried my best not to fall asleep and drop her on the floor while playing.
Finally, hubby calls back to give me the good news. He had managed to get our papers fixed and we would be boarding the 4:30pm flight. So again, my poor dad had to drive us back to the airport, and this time I was boarding that plane if it was the last thing I did! Things went smoothly at the counter, customs and so on and we get to the gate.
People started gathering at the gate as the departure time neared, and my little monkey and her perfect timing started whining cause she got hungry. I thought to myself I’d just nurse her discretely as I walked and it would all be fine. I hadn’t taken into account her overstimulation and extra fussiness from the trips back and forth to the airport, and so she starts squirming. I look around nervous, unsure of myself as strangers start giving me funny looks. The crying got louder and louder and I thought it would be better to go to a more private area. But since in Lebanon the airport has no baby friendly room let alone breastfeeding friendly area, I had no choice but to go to the bathroom.
Unfortunately this was a tiny bathroom with a small sink, and a private stall behind another door. So I start shushing Kyra and trying to get her to nurse, but instead she would scream even louder as tears roll down my face cause I know she’s bothered by the milk flow. She was way too small, and it came out way too fast for her to manage, and so she choked and gagged and screamed some more. As I had learned that in such cases it would be best to empty the breast a bit before nursing, I had no other option but to express a little in the bathroom sink. So holding Kyra with one arm, I bend over the sink to empty some of my milk, but it ends up spraying all over the mirror instead!!! My face turns red and I start praying that no one will come in anytime soon.
As luck would have it though, an older woman walks in the stall to find Kyra crying and struggling still. Out of concern, the poor lady makes the terrible mistake of saying “Oh dear, maybe she’s not getting any milk?” I think I had a murderous look on my face, cause the woman went pale all of a sudden, and I lost it then. “NO MILK? NO MILK? SHE’S CRYING CAUSE I ACTUALLY HAVE TOO MUCH!!! JUST LOOK AT THE MIRROR I JUST SPRAYED MILK ALL OVER IT!!!” and stormed out of the bathroom stall. Shamefully, I went on to find a gate where no one was around, and nursed her as much as I could get her to, while I threatened hubby on the phone of not getting on the plane if she didn’t calm down.
Eventually, Kyra calmed down and they finally called us to board. Luckily this plane was actually almost empty, so we got 3 seats in the back all to ourselves and I was able to lay Kyra down next to me so she could sleep. I had spent a week worrying about traveling with a baby, but it ended up being the smoothest flight ever. She slept as I chatted with the nice lady next to me, and woke up to nurse once without fussing much. We landed and got off the plane and made it to the car quickly and by the time we got home, she was already asleep. She slept that night till the next morning and we were lucky to have dodged the jet lag bullet.
Thinking back, I thank God that we couldn’t get on the first flight, and believe that it worked out for the best. We tend to overthink things, worry too much, and get worked up for nothing sometimes, but we humans (womennnnn :P) are emotional beings and I guess it’s quite normal. This was quite a long story to tell, but the actual day was much longer, so stay tuned for a much shorter post next time on my top 11 tips for traveling with a baby.