Whether by car or plane, with or without baby, find our top ten tips for breastfeeding or pumping while traveling.
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When I had my first son, I was afraid to leave my home for more than an hour.
My life revolved around timing small outings with our nursing schedule so I could stay in the comfort of my own apartment, blinds drawn, breastfeeding supplies within arms reach at all times. The idea of nursing on the go, on an airplane, at a rest stop, or out in public was so scary to me.
But two kids and over three (collective) years of breastfeeding behind me, I can promise you one thing: you really do figure it out! With the right tips and breastfeeding essentials, nursing on the go isn’t just possible, but liberating.
Here’s our top ten tips for breastfeeding while traveling so you can nurse with confidence and continue making those global family memories!
10 Tips for Breastfeeding While Traveling
Know Nursing Laws
Nursing in public is federally protected in the United States. Some states have additional laws, as well. You can find an entire list of nursing laws by state here. If you’re a breastfeeding mama looking to travel internationally, look up the laws and customs before traveling.
Additionally, brush up on your knowledge of airplane nursing laws. For example, you are allowed to bring breastmilk through security (they have the right to test it for explosives) and you are legally allowed to nurse on the plane. You can read the TSA guidelines here.
Time Flights with Nursing
If you’re flying, try to time your flight take off with baby’s typical nursing time. Flying can pressurize your baby’s ears; the best way to help is to let baby nurse. Ensure he’s hungry by timing your flight with your feeding schedule.
I also prefer booking early morning or bedtime flights for babies. This keeps the majority of their daily schedule on target.
Book Seats Ahead of Time
If there’s ever a time to book a seat, it’s when you’re nursing! The window seat is typically the most comfortable and private for breastfeeding, especially since you’ll be away from the aisle traffic.
Does the Airport Have Nursing/Pumping Pods
Though breastfeeding in public is legal and protected in all fifty states and in many countries, privacy is often preferred. Many airports now offer privacy pods so breastfeeding moms can continue to travel while breastfeeding or pumping comfortably.
These come in handy during layovers, delays, and when traveling without your baby.
Time Road Trip Stops with Feedings
Similarly to flying, it’s smart to think ahead and plan nursing stops during road trips to help the trip move along smoothly. With an exclusively breastfed baby, we typically planned stops every 2-3 hours to change, feed, and gas up. Many times, these stops coincided with meals or excursions.
As baby gets older, longer car stretches are possible, especially when timed with naps.
Bring a Hand Pump
Especially during road trips, a hand pump can come in handy. See what I did there!?
Your baby won’t bat an eye if you’re delayed or stuck in traffic; when she wants to eat, she wants to eat. Breastfeeding in the car, even if it’s parked, can be dangerous. But no one likes a hangry baby.
A hand pump gives you the ability to pump even if you’re stuck somewhere without electricity. Simple pour the breastmilk into any bottle and feed your baby the fresh breastmilk safely in the car.
I personally love the Medela Hand Pump because you can affix a bottle nipple to the pump bottle and quickly feed baby!
Have a Place to Store Breastmilk
If you’re traveling without your baby or if you exclusively pump and bottle feed, you’ll need a place to properly store breastmilk. Always check for or request a mini fridge in your hotel room.
You can also look into a milk shipping service like Milk Stork to send your breastmilk home. In a pinch, a cooler with frozen ice packs can keep milk fresh for up to 24 hours.
Don’t Forget an Adaptor
If you plan to use your electric breast pump internationally, don’t forget an adaptor! Sometimes a hand pump doesn’t express as much as the electric one, or you may simply want to remain hands free. Don’t leave yourself without a way to express by forgetting a power adaptor.
Pack Nursing Friendly Clothing
If you’re a nursing mom, do you even own regular bras anymore?? I don’t…
Supplies Supplies Supplies
Make a quick list of breastfeeding essentials you use while at home and make sure you remember to bring them when traveling. Some nursing essentials I have found helpful over the past three years are a Nursing Cover, the Boppy Nursing Pillow, Reusable Nursing Pads, and Lanolin Cream.
If you’ll be pumping in vacation, you’ll also need Breastmilk Storage Bags. Did you now that Medela also makes these Sanitizing Wipes and Sterilizing Bags for cleaning pump and bottle parts on the go!?
Did any of these tips help you continue nursing during your travels? Is there anything you’d add to our list? Let us know your favorite nursing travel stories below!
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