Thursday, September 5, 2013

Conferences and Childcare

I have two conferences coming up this Fall, and have to decide what to do with Baby during them.  Here are the options:

Conference 1: New Orleans, Baby 4 months old, 4 days of conference, I must be there for 2
Option 1: Take Baby and Papa with me
Pros: Papa takes care of Baby, I get to hang out with Baby and not worry about pumping, New Orleans sounds fun for a family vacation
Cons: Plane tickets are expensive, and we already have family visits/weddings to do this year.  Papa has to take off work, and he's just started a job.

Option 2: Baby stays home with Papa, I fly out the morning of Day 1 and come back the evening of Day 2
Pros: No baby travel/childcare issues
Cons: Pumping, Papa still has to take off work one day (weekday), Baby has been known to refuse bottle, I may be too stressed out/worried to enjoy the conference

Option 3: Papa stays home, Baby come with me and I hire someone to watch her during the two sessions I'm participating in, and maybe at other times.  The conference will reimburse me $200 for childcare, but I know no one in New Orleans, so I would have to use the service recommended by the hotel.
Pros: Papa doesn't miss work, I can hang out with Baby, less expensive
Cons: Do I trust a random service with a 4 month old? Also traveling alone with Baby

Option 4: See if my mother wants to come visit New Orleans and watch Baby.  She doesn't live any closer than we do, but possible.
Pros: Childcare, I can hang out with Baby, Papa doesn't miss work
Cons: Is it weird to have your mother at an academic conference?

Probably I'm leaning towards Options 1 or 4, with 3 as a backup? 2 may be too stressful.

Conference 2: Provo, UT, Baby 5 months old, 3 days of conference, I must be there for 1, but have to fly in the evening before and out the following day due to plane/conference schedules.

Option 1: Same as above
Option 2: Same as above, but less of an option since it will be two nights away.
Option 3: Same as above.  No reimbursement from this conference, but I know someone there who can find me a vouched-for babysitter.
Option 4: Same as above, but not an exciting location, and this is far for my mother.

For this one, I'm leaning towards Option 3, since it's two nights, I don't want my husband to miss more work, and I can get a good babysitter.  But ah, the decisions--what would you do?


  1. We have done 1, 2, and 4. I like 1 best, but only if DH doesn't have to miss work. I haven't done 2 with DC2, but did it when DC1 was 3 months old and it wasn't too bad for him or DH, though I missed him terribly. Conference tip if you go without baby: take antihistimines if your breasts get overfull and you can't pump. They'll dry you up for the duration of the antihistimine and you'll go back to normal after. A total lifesaver for me in those early months.

  2. I did option 4 (my MIL actually) when my second was about four months old. I had a job interview. It was a little weird, if I'm being honest, just because the world of academic conferences was so out of her sphere of experience. But as far as the baby stuff goes, it was really fine.

  3. I did option 2 when I was in a similar situation, but my baby was 9 months old, and I had to be away for 3 days. I pretty much lost my milk after that, though I was pumping. We also had a full-time babysitter at home so my husband did not have to miss his work.

    Overall, I did not like that option. The baby was fussy all the time and did not sleep at night, as she wasn't used to the bottle. Nanny was up all night and exhausted. Nanny fell asleep in the morning and my older one (3 years old at the time) managed to escape from the locked house while nanny was sleeping and husband was at work. The 3-year old dragged chairs to the basement, built a structure to reach a garage door opener, and left the house in her plastic car in a rain...A neighbor saw her just before she reached a major road...she said she was going to the airport to find Mommy.

    I still think the option of leaving baby at home might be the best one. Just need to make sure the baby is used to the bottle, make sure you pump often while you are away. Plus, your can hire a babysitter for one day while your husband is at work. At least in your own area it is easier to find a babysitter you can trust.

  4. If it is SCMLA I will be there & if our papers don't coincide can hold baby during yours, at least (although I will be new person to baby, perhaps not ideal for that reason). I would bet though that in NO yes you can trust service, it is a very kids-are-a-normal-thing-to-have place.

    Given all the factors, I sort of like option 4.

  5. I used to routinely bring wife and kid to conferences--but this was while wife was on maternity leave, and then laid off, so there wasn't trouble with that. I also was the non-breastfeeding partner, and most of those trips were driving (I stopped going to non-east-coast conferences for quite a while there).

    I've known people who have brought parents to conferences, and, while it might have moments of weird, it is a pretty reasonable solution. Maybe give it a shot for NOLA?

    Mostly, I'm just sad I'm not going to NOLA, so I can't meet up with you or baby. ;)

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