Traveling Without Baby While Breastfeeding?
Renee Beebe of The Second Nine Months shares Tips and Tricks for Traveling Without Your Breastfeeding Baby
If your job requires you to travel, can you continue breastfeeding? And what if you need to be away from your baby for more than one day? What if you need to travel for your job without baby? What if you need to be on an airplane for more than a few hours? Is it possible to pump on a plane, save your milk AND bring it home for your baby?
The answer to all the above questions is yes!
Before we launch into how it can be done, a few questions:
Is it possible to re-schedule your trip for a later date? The older your baby, the easier it is to maintain your supply. Also, if baby is sleeping most of the night, that eliminates the need for overnight pumping!
Can a co-worker go in your place?
Are you SURE you can’t take your baby with you?
Some moms find it’s worth the additional expense to bring a helper and baby along.
If you have determined that the travel is imperative and baby will need to stay home with the rest of the family, you’re ready to plan your trip.
Many of the following suggestions and helpful hints were contributed by some savvy moms who’ve been there.
Make sure your pump is in good working order and you know how to use it. Practice pumping discreetly (if that’s important to you) before your trip. Bring spare filters, tubing, etc. just in case. And, please, bring a backup hand pump! Pumps break, parts get lost, and power goes out.
You will need a pump that can run with a battery if any of the legs of your trip involve more than 3-4 hours in airports or planes. Outlets can be hard to find and it’s not easy to find a quiet, private place to pump. Outlets on planes? Pretty much nonexistent. Even if you plan on the flight and wait time being short, delays happen!
If you need to pump in an airport, know that outlets are scarce, except at the gates. Also, airports in the U.S. do not have designated pumping rooms. A corner in an unused gate is likely the best option for a private pumping session. If you’re traveling outside the United States, you may be able to find a room designated for nursing/pumping.
Prearrange a refrigerator for your milk for when you reach your destination. A freezer is useful too. And, If you’re going to be away for more than 5 days, a freezer is imperative, so be sure to ask when you book your room reservation.
Ship your milk home. If you don’t want to bring the milk back on the plane, or if you just have too much to do so easily, consider shipping it back to your home. Many moms have done so using Federal Express. You can pack your frozen milk with dry ice (available in many grocery stores) and it will likely stay completely frozen.
With a little planning, it’s possible to continue breastfeeding and pumping for your baby even when traveling. Happy travels!
Remember, I’m available for phone or in person consultation everyday of the week over at the Second Nine Months.
This article was written by lactation consultant, Renee Beebe IBCLC and guest writer Joy Funston, RN, IBCLC. Joy is in private practice in Charlottesville, VA. She can be reached at www.joyfulstartlc.com. This article originally appeared over at The Second 9 Months. For more breastfeeding resources and support from Renee, visit her there anytime!