Being a mom on the go means finding a balance between a ton of things like working, mapping out a schedule, taking care of your kids, and finding time to enjoy yourself too. But, whether you’ll be traveling for work or for a well-deserved vacay this holiday season, breastfeeding doesn’t have to add to your stress! To give you less to worry about, read on for some tips for traveling while breastfeeding!
Try to keep your baby’s feeding and nap times in mind when making your itinerary. This way, you’ll know the best time to schedule your flight to avoid bringing on a cranky little passenger. Knowing your baby’s schedule will also come in handy when planning breastfeeding breaks on the flight and during your trip.
For any breastfeeding moms travelling without their babies, make sure you pump enough milk to leave for your baby at home and let your caregiver know how to properly store and handle your milk so that none of it goes to waste. Don’t forget to pump regularly on your trip too! This will help you keep your milk supply flowing while you’re away.
Planning ahead is the key to a fuss-free trip. So be sure to check for breastfeeding stations in the airport and for any rules your airport and airline might have for storing breastmilk in your luggage and carry-ons. Guidelines may vary, but the Transport Security Administration (TSA) in the U.S. allows breastfeeding moms like you to keep your milk and cooling ice packs in your carry-on.
It will also be helpful to do some research on the places you’ll be visiting once you land. Ask the management at the hotel you’re staying in if a freezer is available for you to store your milk. You could even look up local breastfeeding stations, as well as support groups and lactations consultants in the area, to make sure you’ll have help nearby when you need it.
It’s important to have everything you’ll need with you on the plane and on your trip. So prepare an insulated bag with ice packs to keep your stored milk and bottles at the right temperature. You can bring this bag with you as a carry-on or pack frozen milk with ice packs and extra storage containers in your luggage.
A battery-powered breast pump (with extra batteries!) can go in your carry-on, in case you plan to pump while you’re in the air. Bringing a nursing cover for privacy, an extra blanket for comfort, and your baby’s favorite toy to keep them occupied could also lessen any fuss. And don’t forget extra clothes for you and your baby to prepare for any spills or spit ups!
Remember those airline and airport rules you looked up before? Well, having a copy of those rules with you at the airport will surely come in handy especially if you need to double check any guidelines about things like how your milk should be stored or how airport security will check your milk. Either way, keeping those rules close by will make going through security with your milk much easier!
Let airport security know whether you’ll be carrying on milk or if you’ve packed frozen milk in your luggage. Some airlines and airports consider breastmilk to be liquid medication and pumps to be medical devices so you may be in the clear! But it can help to give security a heads up about the milk you packed to help with the security screening process.
You’ve made it through airport security and now you, your baby, and your milk are safely on board the plane! To make sure your plane ride starts and ends smoothly, make sure to breastfeed during takeoff and when the plane is landing. This will help keep your baby calm, while also lessening the discomfort in their ears.
Although there’s sometimes no telling how your baby will act in a new environment like an airport, an airplane, or wherever you’ll be landing, take comfort in the fact that you’re doing the best you can! You’ve done your research, you’ve read up on what to do, and you packed everything you really need, so you’ll definitely be ready for anything!
At the end of the day and no matter where you go, all that matters is that you get to comfortably feed your baby. So sit back and enjoy your trip mom!
Cruz, Tessa Mendoza. “14 Travel Tips for Breastfeeding Mothers.” Rappler, August 27, 2015.
Shipley, Lindsey. “A How-to for Traveling While Breastfeeding.” Lactation Link, May 10, 2018.
“Traveling with Children.” Transportation Security Administration.