Tips When Breastfeeding and Traveling

Hillcrest lactation consultant Cheryl Coleman shares tips for nursing mothers traveling this summer on the blog today.

We’re getting to summer vacation time and new mothers are confronted with the issue of how to feed their baby when traveling.  Breastfeeding is the most convenient option for any traveling, as well as being the safest.   Regardless, there are always things to consider when planning to feed and travel with your baby.  

If you are traveling by car, the safest recommendation is to stop at a rest stop or safe place along your route to breastfeed your baby.  If you will be pumping along with breastfeeding, some breast pump manufacturers offer a car charger.  Your expressed breast milk is safe for 24 hours in an insulated cooler bag with an ice pack.

If you will be flying you may want to check with your airline regarding any rules regarding breast pumps or feeding.   Once again the easiest and safest feeding method is direct breastfeeding.  Direct breastfeeding also is the best way to maintain your milk supply while traveling. Some mothers have recommended that if you are breastfeeding or will be pumping, you let the individual in the seat next to you know just as soon as they sit down, so it will not become an issue and allowances can be made if necessary.  Most traveling moms have found the flight staffs to be quite accommodating and helpful.  

Breast pumps are considered personal carry-on items and so may be brought on board with you as one of your two allowable carry-ons.  TSA has relaxed their restrictions on liquids for breast milk bottles, but keep them separate from your other items. Let the screening staff know you have breast milk and expect that they may have additional questions or check it more closely.  Airports may have a breastfeeding room, or may refer you to their family restroom/lounge areas to feed or pump.  Many mothers have found that airports are so busy, they have either breastfed or pumped in a quiet corner of the airport and few people noticed.  

Some women have chosen to rent a breast pump at their destination.  You may locate and call the lactation center at a hospital near your destination and arrange for a breast pump comparable to what you are using to rent. Therefore, you can simply pack and carry on all the breast pump parts and bottles you need. Lactation consultants at your destination may be able to help with any unanticipated issues that arise.

If you are traveling to an international destination, again, your safest option for your baby is direct breastfeeding or feeding your expressed breast milk.  If any immunizations or medications are recommended or required for the country of destination, call your lactation consultant to check on their safety.  Almost all of these are completely safe for you, your milk supply and your baby.

Traveling with your baby and maintaining your milk supply are quite doable with some forethought and planning.  If you have any questions, call your lactation consultant and bon voyage!!