Travel Tips for the Breastfeeding Mama, From Flying to Roadtripping

Break out the bathing suits and sunglasses. Vacation season is almost here, hooray! But when you’re a nursing mom, it can be hard enough just to get into the swing of breastfeeding and your new role as a parent, let alone thinking about travel interrupting the routine.

Fear not: with a little forethought and patience, travels during the breastfeeding stage can go smoothly!

Here’s a few travel tips for breastfeeding moms:

Breastfeeding Mama Travels, image by Ken TackettFLYING:

We’ve heard the horror stories of nursing moms, even celebrity nursing moms, having a tough time with air travel. The good news is many airlines are making efforts to support breastfeeding and traveling with breastmilk. It’s still a good idea to do some planning and research ahead of time, just to make things as easy as possible. And, once you’re at the airport and on the flight, don’t be afraid to ask for help from flight attendants or airport personnel. Below are some useful ideas.

Ahead of time:

+ Try to book a window seat. It allows for just a little more room and privacy.

+ Check with your specific airline and the TSA before you leave to see what amounts of breastmilk you can take through security. This article from Women’s Health Today outlines a lot of helpful info.

+ Check if the airports you will be visiting have a mother’s room, nursing room or lactation pod. Here are 15 US airports that do, as compiled by Working Mother.

+ If the airports you’re stopping at don’t have private nursing areas, create your own. Find an empty gate or other secluded area and settle in there.

Once you’re on the plane:

+ Relax! The flight attendants want to help, so if there’s something you think might make your trip easier, explain your needs and see what they can do.

+ The best times to breastfeed during a flight are takeoff and landing. Ear pressure changes that occur at these times can upset your baby. But the sucking from nursing helps your little one’s ears adjust and keeps them more comfortable.

+ Stay hydrated. As a nursing mom, you’re probably always thirsty. And filtered airline cabin air is often dry and dehydrating. Drink water instead of caffeine and you’ll feel a little better when you land.

* Above illustration by Ken Tackett.


ROADTRIPS:

+ Plan your feeding times to correspond with pit stops. You and your little will be more comfortable at a rest stop than along a random side of highway.

+ If you’re going to be on a roadtrip with a schedule that doesn’t allow for long stops, bring a pump along if your baby will take a bottle of pumped milk.

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WHAT TO PACK:

Nursing Supplies:

• Breast pads
• Nursing pillow
• Nursing tops, dresses, shawls, covers + bras

Pumping Supplies:

• Hand pump + Electric pump
• Tubing
• Flanges / Breastshields
• Storage bottles + caps
• Milk storage bags, pen to mark date
• AC Adapter
• Battery pack + extra batteries
• Ice pack +cooler

Bottle Feeding Supplies:

• Bottles & nipples
• Pre-pumped milk
• Formula (for emergencies +/or supplementing)

Cleaning Supplies:

• Microwave steam clean bags
• Wipes
• Bottle brush or Sponge
• Drying rack

DON’T BRING:

+ The most important tip of all might be what you leave behind: Don’t bring the MOM GUILT!

You deserve to enjoy your trip. Don’t forget to have fun, relax and take lots of photos! Remember, your don’t have to be a perfect parent to be a great parent – this vacation is about enjoying the experience and making memories with your family and loved ones.

Happy travels!