This holiday season may look a little different due to Covid19, but you may still find yourself traveling while breastfeeding this season. Traveling itself with or without kids can be difficult whether by land or air and adding breastfeeding to the mix can complicate things a bit more. We are here to provide some helpful tips to help make your travel plans just a little easier.
Traveling by flight
The first thing to discuss is whether or not you will be traveling with your baby. No matter what your plan is you can fly with your breast pump and breastmilk, but it will affect everything you bring. Whether you have your baby or not you should plan to arrive early and plan for a nursing or pumping session before boarding the plane. Once you arrive you will be going through TSA security. Printing out or having the TSA guidelines accessible on your phone for breast milk and breast pump guidelines can be helpful. Here is the link to the TSA guidelines. A breast pump/bag is considered a medical device so it is not counted as a personal item or carry on. Having your hands as free as possible will help ease the stress of going through security. Baby in carrier, backpack diaper or pump bag, stroller/car seat combo if bringing will all help allow you to be hands free through the airport.
If you have your little one with you you can board with the family boarding. It can make things a lot easier to request a window seat as close to the bathroom or front of the plane as possible. With the window seat you can turn away a bit to nurse or pump. Due to the pressure changes nursing during take off and landing can help with babies ears. You can use a cover to pump or nurse if you feel more comfortable. Bringing a backup hand pump just in case of an emergency and your pump goes out is a must.
Traveling by Car
Traveling by car poses its own set of challenges, and short of detaching your breasts to give to your baby in the back seat, having some tricks up your sleeve is the best way to make it work. Sometimes parents find it easier to travel at night as your baby tends to sleep more, but no matter what time you travel make sure you allow for extra stops and time on to your trip. Planning your route ahead and knowing where you can stop off an exit, so you aren’t pulled over on the side of the road is helpful. If you are able to, it can be helpful to have your partner drive while you pump and feed your baby your expressed milk if possible. Have a command center in the car with a bag or box of all your breastfeeding and baby supplies in one place and easily accessible.
If you are pumping, having a car adapter to be able to pump in the car as well as a backup manual pump for any technical difficulties. Make sure you have spare parts as you may not be able to find breast pump parts at the exit with only a Circle K and Bojangles. Have a cooler available for any extra pumped milk with some ice packs or loose ice to tide you over to your destination. Mcdonalds or gas station make for a great place to grab some cups of ice if you are on a long road trip. If nursing, make sure to nurse one last time before you get on the road like you do with using the restroom. The one thing you don’t want to do is lean over your baby in the car seat as this is very unsafe for both you and baby in case you were to get into an accident. The weight of your body could crush your baby if you got into an accident, so save all feeds for stops unless offering expressed milk in a bottle. Anytime you stop to use the restroom, get gas, eat, or stretch your legs, use that time to feed your baby so that you can kill two birds with one stone on any stops you make.
Things to bring
We have provided a list of must bring items when traveling whether by land, air, or sea.
Manual pump as a back upl
Spare parts in case of emergency
Cooler for your breast milk
Breast pump bag or diaper bag
Breast milk Storage bags
Extra clothes for baby
extra top for you
Garbage bags for blow out diaper clothes, or spit up tops and bibs.
Remember to only bring the essentials. As tempting as it will be you will want to leave the kitchen sink. The lighter you travel the easier things will be, just make sure to have the essentials. Leaving extra time whether you are traveling by plane or car will help make this holiday travel season a little less stressful and if that doesn’t help just remember to laugh as these are the memories you will have to look back on. From our entire team we wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday and travel season.