First Sleepover

Timing a Trip

My 6-month-old is too young.

Between 4 and 9 months is actually the overnighter sweet spot. Before that, your baby may still be perfecting breastfeeding, waking up a lot at night, and bonding with you and Dad, which makes it a less-than-ideal time to leave her with a sitter. Wait too long and you'll have a new set of problems. "Separation anxiety starts to rear its ugly head between 9 and 15 months," says Parents advisor Ari Brown, M.D., a pediatrician and coauthor of Baby 411. "So if you ever want to get away with your spouse, do it before this phase."

I'm breastfeeding.

A night or even a week away doesn't have to doom a cozy nursing relationship. Although business trips took her away from her baby, Micah, for up to eight days at a time, Dana Marlowe, of Silver Spring, Maryland, always packed a breast pump, freezable gel packs, and insulated bags. She also booked hotels with an in-room fridge to ensure that she had a place to stow what she pumped. And she carried a copy of the TSA law that allows a breastfeeding mom to bring more than 3 ounces of milk through airport security, even when traveling without her child.

Just be sure to give your baby pumped milk from a bottle a few weeks before your trip to get him used to eating this way, suggests Jennifer Wider, M.D., author of The New Mom's Survival Guide. Test out different nipples and bottles till you find one your baby likes.

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