Bringing babies to conferences

i-9dc84d4d9156dccb30d5f62466b4219a-swblocks.jpgA. Non Mouse, who blogs over at NaCl and hv, has just written a great series of posts about her strategies for successfully bringing a baby to a conference. Check out her how-to posts on childcare, transportation, gear, and accommodations.

This is a subject that is close to my heart, and one that I've written about before (here, here, and here on a trip when Minnow was 9 months old, here at 18 months, and here's a manifesto on the subject that was featured in last year's Open Lab ).

And it's funny timing too that A. Non Mouse writes about motherhood and conference travel now, when I am trying to figure out how I'll manage this fall's big conference. The conference combined with a pre-meeting field trip and cross-country flights has me away from home for almost 9 days. I'm weighing my options but right now I'm just not sure what I'll do.

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And don't forget the "Experiment #1" nametag.

I recently returned form my longest time away from Z and it was a full 7 days. It was very hard on me, but she did pretty well at home with dad and going to daycare. DH works in the field most weeks and ended up having to take the week off.

I still feel like she has enough stranger anxiety that I am not comfortable using daycare provided by a conference. when she is older it may work better for her, but for now, I think it would really freak her out.

Last summer DH and I attended a meeting together with her. we both had talkes we wanted to attend so we juggled DD back and forth. It worked out ok, but we really missed out on a lot of evening socalizing and interactions since we had DD along.Yeah, I could have brought her to the socials, but I really think it wouldn't have been the best way to sell myself as a potential postdoc.

I would love to have the money to be able to afford to have a nanny or caregiver (grandma, DH) come along on a trip. This last meeting was not one that DH would have been attending, and we thought of making a family trip out of it, but it we couldn't justify the cost of 2 extra plane tickets. It was nice to go by myself and do my own thing w/o worrying about running back to the hotel room for nap or bed time. BUT I REALLY missed her and it was starting to get emotionally hard after day 5 without my baby.

good luck with planning your meeting this fall, I'm curious to hear what you decide to do.

By soil mama (not verified) on 12 Aug 2009 #permalink

I don't bring my babies to conferences any more, but that's because they are 6 and 10 now :-). But for me, because I am in a different field than DH, once the kids were about age 2, they stayed home and I travel alone. The exceptions have been if the conference was in a city where we have family -- then the kid would come with me and hang with family while I worked.

A photo of a woman with her baby in a stroller made it into the newspaper. Not a big deal normally, except the mother was an engineer attending the 1960 convention of the Society of Women Engineers in Seattle. The newspaper clipping and the photo album with more photos of that baby were in the box of archives in the local section, which I scanned to share with other members (and the SWE archives at Wayne State University).

Unfortunately the choice of taking a child anywhere was not mine to make. My son had medical issues starting at birth, so the last conference I went to was specific to one of his disabilities (where I gave a presentation).

Never mind... I am following some of the kerfluffle on women and skepticism (the issue is that less than 30% of the participants at TAM 7 were women, and here I am thinking that was pretty good... but what do I know, I as one of two women out of just over thirty in my graduating aerospace engineering class!). I listened to a radio podcast on the subject, and noticed that one skeptical conference included childcare. Woo hoo!

Too late for me, my kids are teenagers and above (the oldest still needing attention).

I applaud you all for being able to work and deal with children. Even if my oldest had not been so "interesting" I don't know if I could have divided my time so much. I just sent in an application for Graduate Non-matriculated status to start back on getting that Master's degree I dropped out of after we bought our fixer-upper (several years before kids). I am a grad-school drop out due to being needed to strip paint, do carpentry, painting, installing and taping wallboard and other things, like work overtime. I can only juggle so much.

By the way, one of younger son's friends has just left to start as a freshman in computer science at Purdue. He and his family (including his mom who works at home as an independent project manager, with clients like Microsoft) loved the school, and the area.