Tips For Summer Travel While Breastfeeding
For many people the beginning of summer also means the beginning of travel season. Whether you’re visiting family, going to the beach, or celebrating a holiday, breastfeeding or pumping while traveling has its own set of unique circumstances and potentials challenges. However, with a little planning and preparation, breastfeeding won’t put a roadblock in your travel plans.
When you are putting together your summer travel plans, be sure to think about how you’ll work breastfeeding and pumping into your plans.
If you’re flying, you can call ahead to the airport and airline to find out what breastfeeding/pumping accommodations are available to you in the airport and on the plane. Depending on the length of your flight, you can also try timing your feeding and pumping sessions around your travel times so that you can limit the number of times you have to feed or pump while traveling. Since most breastfeeding infants can travel in their parent’s laps, this can help facilitate breastfeeding while inflight, and breastfeeding during takeoff and landing can help soothe baby and help them equalize the pressure in their ears. Pumping on a plane can be a bit tricky, but plenty of moms have accomplished the task.
Many planes now have electric plugs available, but be sure to bring battery backup for your pump just in case. You can also speak to the cabin crew once you’ve boarded and let them know that you’ll need to pump during the flight. Often, they are more than willing to do what they can to accommodate your needs. Whether you’re breastfeeding or pumping on a plane, remember that you’ll be in tight quarters. You may want to plan an outfit with multiple layers or bring a breastfeeding cover to help you feel more comfortable.
If your plans include a road trip, be sure to map it out prior to leaving. Take into account baby’s usual feeding times and/or your usual pumping times so that you can find suitable places to stop along the way.
You and baby will both need to stay buckled up for safety while driving, so finding rest stops or other stopping places along the way is the best option. If you are pumping and you plan on bottle feeding during your car trip, most breast pumps can run on batteries or you can get a car adapter to power the pump. Just make sure to bring an extra pumping set or two so that you have plenty of clean parts if you need to pump multiple times during the trip. Be prepared for your trip to take a little longer. With the potential stops needed for breastfeeding and diaper changes, you’ll want to add an hour or two onto the length of your travel time. Setting this expectation early will help avoid disappointment and frustration later.
Safe storage of your breastmilk while traveling can easily be achieved using a cooler and ice. Try to avoid placing your breastmilk storage bags directly on the ice. You can either place them in a larger zipper bag or in a plastic food storage container and pack ice around it. Make sure to have plenty of ice in the cooler and add to it frequently. It’s best if the cooler doesn’t contain other items for your trip. Opening it less frequently will help maintain a colder temperature for your breastmilk. If you’re going to be taking expressed breastmilk with you on a flight, you are allowed to bring as much as you need to. However, the TSA does have specific guidelines about screening for breastmilk. So, be sure to visit their site and check out the latest information before travelling.
Packing your bags is always a huge part of any travel adventure. When you’re packing as a breastfeeding mom there are a few things you should also keep in mind. In addition to luggage for your family, pack a small breastfeeding bag that you can carry with you for easy access at any time. This bag should include a change of clothes for both you and baby, your pump with extra pump parts, nursing pads, milk storage bags, a nursing cover if you use one, and any other items you frequently use during breastfeeding or pumping. This is one time that you won’t be sorry that you overpacked, because it’s always better to be prepared.
No matter the destination of your summer travels, be sure to plan ahead for your breastfeeding needs and be patient with yourself. Things most likely won’t go exactly as planned.
However, at the end of the day you are on an adventure with the newest addition to your family.