Traveling is no easy task, and it becomes a true balancing act when you throw in a breastfeeding mom and a perpetually hungry baby. Whether it’s your first time out of the house since bringing your newborn home or you travel while breastfeeding your little one every weekend, we are here to help your next trip go a little smoother. Read on for some travel tips for those times when mom and baby need to hit the road!
Travel Breastfeeding On the Ground
For any road trip longer than an hour or two, breastfeeding moms need to be ready to breastfeed or pump on the road. Driving gives you more privacy and flexibility than other modes of transportation but consistent pumping is key. Checking a map and planning your stops before you leave can help eliminate stress and makes sure you pump enough to keep yourself and your little one comfortable. These stops give you a chance to stretch your legs, change any dirty diapers, and pump in privacy. However, a battery-powered breast pump gives you the freedom to pump on the road (only if you are traveling as a passenger or are able to pump safely and completely hands-free while you drive).
Travel Breastfeeding In the Air
If you are preparing for a flight, spend some extra time planning before you head to the airport. For flights longer than a couple of hours, new moms need to think ahead. Try to reserve a window seat so you can get a little extra privacy if you prefer to feed or pump in your seat. If you would rather pump in the restroom, go for an aisle seat so you can conveniently leave your seat when you need to.
Organize the necessities before you leave for the airport so you have everything you need to breastfeed or pump. Include a nursing cover, breast pump, flanges, and storage bags in one easy-to-reach bag. Many airlines classify breast pumps as medical devices and won’t count it as one of your carry-on items. However, make sure to check with your specific airline before you fly. If you need to travel with any expressed breast milk, the three-ounce limit does not apply. According to the TSA, breast milk is considered liquid medicine, which means you can carry “reasonable quantities” with you on your flight. Be sure to tell the TSA agent that you are traveling with breast milk and remove it from your bag for examination as you go through security.
Once you’re on the plane, don’t feel self-conscious if your little one gets fussy. Flying can be scary! To help your baby feel comfortable, try breastfeeding during takeoff and landing. The physical contact may help soothe your child. Nursing also helps equalize ear pressure and ease discomfort during the flight.
Travel Breastfeeding Anywhere
One of the most important things to remember is to remain flexible and patient with yourself and your baby. Every newborn reacts differently when their environment changes. Accordingly, your baby may feed, sleep, or cry more or less than they usually do. Remember that you are doing everything right by just being responsive to the changing needs of your baby!
For moms traveling within the United States, you are also guaranteed certain rights as a nursing mom that should make your life easier. In most states, breastfeeding moms are allowed to breastfeed in public at any time and anywhere. Also, stay on the lookout for public places that have designated lactation rooms where nursing moms can pump or breastfeed in a safe, clean environment.
Traveling can feel overwhelming for breastfeeding moms. However, taking the time to get organized can help make any trip go smoothly. Bringing a portable breast pump with you when you travel offers more freedom and flexibility. It also helps you maintain a stable milk supply. Don’t be embarrassed when you pump or breastfeed–you are working hard to feed your baby. Hit the road with confidence!
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