Plan on traveling with a breastfeeding baby soon? If so, there are things that you can do to make your life easier. As long as you plan ahead, it can be enjoyable and relatively stress-free!
Here are our best tips for travel with a breastfeeding baby…so you can relax and enjoy your getaway with your little one.
Top 15 Tips for Traveling with a Breastfeeding Baby
1. Keep changing altitudes and ear pressure in mind when flying or driving through mountains with your baby.
When your ears start popping or feeling clogged, you know that your baby is experiencing similar discomfort. That’s a good time for you to have a happy, content, and possibly sleeping baby, and you can achieve that by breastfeeding on the plane before the altitudes start to change.
If you’re taking a road trip and know that you’re about to twist your way through a long mountain range, try to pull over and prepare your baby for the experience. This may mean a change of diaper or clothing, a bath with a wet wipe, or a soothing lullaby as well as a feeding session.
Do the same thing just before taking off on an airplane. Placing a pacifier in your baby’s mouth may help him or her naturally stop ear popping by moving their mouth appropriately. Breastfeeding or supplementing with a bottle may have the same effect. (Click here for tips on flying with breast milk.)
2. Include a change of clothes for both mom and baby in your carry-on. You never know when you will have a diaper blow-out or baby will spit up. It is better to be safe than sorry. (Don’t forget extra diapers!)
3. Make sure your baby’s diaper is changed right before getting on an airplane, or setting out on your road trip. Public restrooms and airplane bathrooms are can be tiny and not so sanitary. Again…better safe than sorry.
It’s easy to focus so much on your baby that you don’t prepare yourself adequately. Look critically at each piece of clothing and ask if it’s suitable for the type of travel that you’re about to enjoy. You want to wear comfortable pants that allow you to move or sit for hours comfortably, a comfortable nursing bra, and a top that makes breastfeeding fast and easy.
5. Remember to eat well and get the rest you need so that you can maintain a good breast milk supply on the trip. (Packing some lactation cookies can help keep your milk supply up too!)
6. Breastfeeding moms must remember to remain hydrated! So make sure to drink plenty! Bring an empty water bottle to fill when you pass a drinking fountain. (We love these!)
7. Ask the flight attendant for help if you are flying alone by plane. They are usually happy to assist you or hold your baby if you need to use the restroom or find baby’s things from a overhead bag or get you what you need. Don’t be afraid to ask.
8. Utilize a good baby carrier or sling. These keep baby close and safe and your hands free both on the plan or in the airport. (They even double as a good nursing cover for discreet breastfeeding!)
9. Don’t substitute with formula! Breast milk is the most convenient, always ready, naturally sterile and safest way to feed your little one! It also contains immunity factors to help your baby fight germs that are often in the airport or in the stale air of the plane.
10. Prepare for milk storage or temporarily halt your pumping schedule.
If you’ve been pumping and storing your breast milk at home, you have to make a decision on how you will handle this during your trip. It’s likely to depend on where you’re going, how long you will be away from home, and your access to a refrigerator or freezer. You should always check with your airport regarding transporting milk if you decide to continue pumping or want to take a stash of cool milk with you. Air travel with breastmilk is now becoming commonplace but you do have to present it at the security checkpoint for inspection.
Some women prefer to stop pumping while on the road because it’s simply easier and more convenient. If you go this route, you may still want to pack a lightweight, portable pump to prevent engorgement if your baby doesn’t eat as much as expected.
You may also choose to pack a pump along with a good cooler and bottles or jars that seal tightly for storage. This will allow you to continue pumping, but make sure that you have all of the supplies to keep the pumped milk cool and sanitary. It’s best to invest in a compact cooler that comes with ice packs and other supplies.
Also consider convenient products that you might not use at home. For instance, a handy manual breast pump designed to collect milk on one breast while you nurse on the other is perfect for many travel scenarios. They’re lightweight and easy to toss into a carry bag, and they may spare you from dragging out a bulkier pump at inconvenient times.
11. Make sure your doctor knows you’re breastfeeding if you need immunizations to travel abroad.
Are you planning a trip abroad? Some destinations now require certain vaccinations while you may simply opt for vaccines for other trips. While most vaccinations are generally considered safe for breastfeeding mothers, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the risks and follow his or her directions carefully.
12. Don’t go light on supplies. Traveling light has its merits, but you don’t want to go too light on baby supplies. A trip means taking your baby out of his or her normal routine, and you have to expect some surprises along the way. You will need extra diapers, an extra change of clothing or two, plenty of wet wipes, and your child’s favorite toys, teethers, and other personal supplies.
Don’t forget your breastfeeding travel supplies as well. Lactation cookies and bottled water are essential, but also consider protein bars, fruit, or other snacks that are easy to grab. You don’t want your calorie intake to drop dramatically while you’re on the road, and hydration is key to keeping your milk supply strong.
13. Download the Moms Pump Here app before leaving your home.
Moms Pump Here is an app that helps nursing mothers find safe, clean spaces for breastfeeding while away from home, including a convenient feature tailored to airports. While it isn’t guaranteed to help you out in every location, it is better than wandering around or asking strangers. Download it onto all of your electronic devices before leaving, including your spouse’s phone.
14. Get the rest you need. Don’t try to overdo it on your vacation. Traveling with breastfed baby needs adds more to your to-do list! Remember to take time to relax and rest and ask for help when you need it. Then both you and baby will have a really great trip.
15. Give thanks for the power and convenience of breastfeeding.
Before you head out on your next trip, take a moment to appreciate the things that you don’t have to do because you breastfeed. Breastfeeding and traveling is actually easier than bottle-feeding! You don’t have to pack bottles, nipples, liners, sterilizers and other bottle-feeding supplies. You don’t have to worry about mixing formula or keeping it at the right temperature for safety. Your breasts serve nourishment on demand, and it’s always at just the right temperature.
Now that you have a better understanding of how to travel safely and efficiently with a breastfeeding baby, it’s time to hit the road and show your little one the world.
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- How to Fly with Breast Milk
- Breastfeeding Myths and the Truth Behind Them
- How to Know if Your Baby is Getting Enough
- Learn the Many Benefits of Breastfeeding