Baby makes three, and that’s not usually the best number

We’re coming up on twelve years of marriage, and I’ve been popping out kids for the last eight of them. It won’t be hard to convince you that this kind of recreation (not that kind) puts a serious strain on Dr. Love.

The reality of our situation is simple. Yes, we do regular date nights. Of course, they’re always timed because The Budget doesn’t allot for more than two hours of babysitting, and our little GG always accompanies us because nothing tastes quite like Mama, and Mama suffers from a closet case of separation anxiety.

So when Jason asks me when or if I’m planning to wean the baby so we can “take that trip” before the big move, I get a panic attack. Wean the baby? My last baby? My best nurser, who loves me more than anyone else in the entire world? Leave her for four days with a stranger???

I love him. He’s the king, my best friend who spoils me, and helps out around the house better than a Disneyland employee. Of course I want to run away forever and enjoy days and days of QNT.

But the baby. My baby. Did I mention that she snuggles and hugs me tight all the time? Did I mention that she’s only six months old, and that even when she’s ten months old it’s probably going to be too soon?

I know our window here is closing fast. In four and a half months we’ll be jumping the pond and leaving our support system behind–support that the children know and love and are related to. I feel horribly torn. It’s not even that I need the getaway from the kids right now, it’s that I need the reconnect time with my man.

But I can’t seem to wrench this mommy cap off my head long enough to shake out my hair and have a little fun.

There really is no happy answer. We can’t take her with us, it would defeat the purpose. I don’t know. Ask me in three months.


  1. Mary Richards says:

    Don’t wean! Formula is expensive and will break the budget big time. if you make it to a year, regular milk is cheaper. My huband and I went to New York City for 4 days and left our first baby with grandma. He was 7 months old. I pumped on the trip, and he took up nursing again when we came home.

    Good luck

    • annie valentine says:

      If I can just get her to take a bottle of formula, I will happily pick up nursing when I get back. It’s leaving her in general that freaks me out. She’s my baby…

  2. It seems like a very common parent struggle.

  3. Honestly? I say take the trip. You will ALWAYS be her mom and you can still be a good mom even if you wean her. She will still love you when you get back. BUT you won’t ALWAYS have an opportunity to do something like taking a trip alone with her husband. It could be such a good thing for you both, but I’m sure you know all this already. 🙂 I would leave all my kids for four days in a heartbeat. Well, depending on who they’re left with. But yeah, I would give about anything to have some alone time. Its been…well, eight years.

  4. I can understand. I think I’m going to be the one bawling and clinging to my son’s feet when kindergarten starts this fall.

  5. Speaking as one who hasn’t had a support system where I could leave my kids overnight – take it & run!

    Speaking as a mom who nursed one kid for 17 1/2 months & the other for 15 1/2 months – ACK!

    Good luck. It’s a really tough call.

  6. mom of a mob says:

    I feel for both sides of this coin… Here’s my story.

    I didn’t have enough milk for my first 3 babies to nurse exclusively (since I got pregnant while nursing), so when baby #4 came along, was a great nurser, & refused a bottle, I felt “womanly”. Then I weaned her at 11 months so I could go to a home-based biz convention. I still feel guilty.

    I know she was fine, she got great stuff from me for eleven months straight, but still…

    So if you’re going to feel guilty, don’t go. You will never nurse another baby, but trips can be planned later. And then the kids won’t whine or scream or cling to you as you leave for Cabo.

    You know I’ve got 5. The longest I’ve been away with my husband of 14 years without children is 36 hours. I’m DYING to go away somewhere tropical… & we’ll get there. But MAN, I wish we’d gone somewhere YEARS ago, before childcare became so difficult to procure!

  7. This is a decision that only the two of you can make. I have done both, left for a couple of days with my husband and pumped, I have also nursed all my children until they were over a year old. Now, most are grown and the last three are all in middle school and above. Life is good. I think I have done the best I can. You need to do what is best for you, all of you. That takes prayer, thought, and talking it out. Whatever you decide, be at peace and know that things will be well no matter what choice you make.

  8. Funny to read this right now because I am spending a week watching my sisters kids, three years and four months. Her baby has always been on formula, so there wasn’t the weaning issue. My sister had such a hard time leaving, but is also loving her first vacation with just her husband in 4 years. I have only left my 1.5 year old over night once right after I weaned her at a year. While I am more than happy to support my sister and watch her kids, I don’t think I would ever be able to leave a 4 month old even for one night. I don’t mean it in a judgmental way, just as a way to say we are all different. When you are ready to leave the baby for a few nights you will know it, and you will also find a way to be comfortable with whoever watches your kids.

  9. I definitely wouldnt wean for a trip… I might go if I could do it and still keep nursing after, but that’s a hard thing to swing. I don’t know… alone time is wonderful and absolutely necessary, but babies are only babies once, you know?

  10. the first day is the hardest and then… it’s not so much. Good luck!

  11. Without reading the above comments, I’m going to say I wouldn’t wean. You only have a few months of nursing left with your precious Georgia, and years left with your wonderful husband. This stage of your and your babies life will be over and gone in no time. Enjoy it while you can. I left my oldest child during the day to help my old workplace out for a couple of weeks, gave him formula while he was at the babsitters and I lost my nursing experience with him. He enjoyed the freedom of moving his head around, and I just couldn’t compete with that!

  12. I’m with the “don’t wean” club. I know that 12 years of marriage seems like such a loooong time to have been together without having much opportunity to be alone, but in so many ways you’ve only just begun. Your kids really do grow older and become more independent. Plus, you’re going into a military environment, and I think you’re going to be amazed at how much support those women give one another. Don’t tell THEM they aren’t family; they will certainly beg to differ.

    Considering where you’re moving to, I have no doubt that the next four years will offer plenty of opportunities to get away for a couple of days. And if they don’t, well, you’ll be back with your family at the 16 year mark. In two days we’ll celebrate 26 years; it goes faster than you think.

    But the nursing mother gig? You never get that time back, Annie.

  13. I think there is a season for everything – even a weekend trip away from the kids. But this is your last baby – savor it. It’s baby season right now – and that’s okay. Now inevitably, there will be a time to wean – when you are ready. If you quit now, just for convenience, will you regret it later? Will you maybe resent the pressure of the weekend getaway because you gave in – thus tainting the actual trip?

    Having been stationed at Ramstein – I will tell you – there is a great network of women there. It’s a much more close-knit group than stateside bases because everyone else is in the same boat as you will be . You know, the no-extended-family-around kind of boat. You learn to rely on your friends – they become your family – and trust me – those friendships will last a lifetime. Give yourself and your sweet baby girl the time you both need for bonding and snuggling.

    Besides, I think a weekend getaway in Europe trumps stateside vaca’s anytime 🙂 Google “Baden-Baden” – it’s a whole town of spas and natural hot springs…upscale, but very affordable (and only a few hours from Ramstein). Then there’s Paris – what’s more romantic than the city of love (oh and the Louvre – you will enjoy it much more w/o having to haul 4 whiny kids through it). Oooo – Prague or Switzerland. Barvaria. Munich. The options are limitless. Entice your hubby with all the notions that Europe has to offer and I’d bet he would be willing to wait 6 months longer. 🙂

  14. Shari’s right about getaways being very possible “over here” – we’ve swapped with other families or paid young marrieds w/ no kids yet. I think my swap/sitter antennae became honed as I met people 😉 Having also been Ramsey-fied, traveling has been a top priority for us here although it’s more of an essential element to my husband’s happiness than mine in the midst of the young mothering season. My man is the consummate world wanderer while I’m the nerd two steps behind him w/ my nose in my fave tour book to soak up all I can learn while onsite. We arrived here when my baby was six weeks old. but I won’t say when I felt it was okay for me to leave her. I seriously have my own separation anxieties too 😉 I’ll be in your shoes soon enough again in the coming year with another bundle of joy. You’ll know when it’s right for you.

  15. Okay, here’s my gist. When Hubby got to go to a conference in Spain I was in. I had a 10 mo. old at the time and I knew we were going to have more children. I knew she was not my last baby to nurse. I had every intention of taking her with us, though, because she was nursing. My best nurser so far. She was cute and chubby and loved me. I was going to bring her. Hubby did not agree. At. All. “Just stay home then. You can always come another time.” Well, I was not going to miss out on Spain. I updated my passport and then even got Baby one. Yes I did. A few days before we left I decided she would be fine if I left her. She took a bottle and was 10 mo. old after all.

    Worst mistake ever. EVER.

    Oh the baby was fine. She grabbed onto my sister (who was tending her while grandma had #1 and #2) and didn’t blink an eye.

    Me? Awful. The trip was miserable. Even though we were alone, my mind was not there. I was stressed and hormonal for sure. Hubby even looked at me at one point and said, “I am not doing this again.” Meaning no post-pardom, just barely weened the baby , wife coming with him to Europe.

    Skip ahead to Baby #4. She came with us to Austria (another Conference) when she was 4 mo. old. We met my BIL and SIL there. We had a wonderful trip. We invested in a Baby Bjorn and strapped her to us. She went in taxi’s, trains, buses. We took a Sound of Music Tour and everything. A year later as we talked about the trip with my in-laws my SIL commented, “I know Baby was there but I honestly would never have remembered because she was so breezy.” We have amazing memories of that trip.

    Now on to #5. She came to Hawaii with us when she was 3 1/2 mo. (Believe it or not, another Conference.) We were on year 12 being married. We had a blast. Oh sure, we couldn’t snorkel or scuba. We couldn’t spend mindless hours on the beach, but that honestly was not a big deal. We loved being together. We did plenty of fun Hawaiian activities. The funnest part however was all the great comments we got on having Baby with us. She was new, chubby, and smiley. Everywhere we went we attracted attention because of her and that only made us more giddy with each other. We would look at each other and talk about how amazingly lucky we were. How blessed.

    Annie, trust your gut. These years will NEVER come back. So decide what that means to you and go with it.