So you are going to travel with or without baby, but you are still pumping. If you are traveling without your baby, first, let me say WAY TO GO! As a new mom, who recently traveled by myself without baby, I know how tough it can be! You have to deal with the unnecessary guilt of leaving your baby, whether it is with your oh so loving husband, or a wonderful friend or family member. If you are traveling WITH your baby, YOU CAN DO IT! It can be tough and sometimes you may miss out on some things, but it is worth it! I have traveled several times with my daughter since she was born, so I would not say I am an expert but I have some great tips for you!
It is important to know that there is a slight difference when traveling in a car and on a plane. It is a little easier to travel in a car while pumping, if you are a passenger. If you are driving alone it can be a little more difficult. I haven’t traveled on a train but if you have let me know if there is anything moms should know!
Traveling by car while pumpingWhen you are traveling by car while pumping there are somethings that you will need:
- a reliable breast pump, I currently use the Medela Pump in Style.
- milk storage, I use bags and bottles
- a car adapter plug for your pump
- pumping or nursing bra
- cooler and ice packs
- nursing cover, this is optional I do not use one but others may want to use one
It is very important that you stick to the same feeding schedule your baby is on when you travel. This will help maintain you supply, my baby feeds every four hours during the day, so I pumped every four hours. If you are driving alone, it may be a good idea to map out places to stop before hitting the road. Unfortunately, there is a strong chance that you will have to pump sitting in your car, in a parking lot. Unless you are comfortable pumping in a public restroom. When I traveled with my family, we would stop at a rest stop and I would feed the baby, and then I would pump while my husband was driving. Then I stored the milk in the cooler until we got to our destination.
There is no law that states that hotels HAVE to provide breastfeeding mothers with a refrigerator or a freezer. However, most hotels are super accommodating and if there is not a fridge in the room, they will offer one with no extra cost. It is important to ask before making reservations.
Traveling by plane while pumping
When you travel by plane while pumping, you pretty much need the same things you need while driving.
- A reliable breast pump
- Travel breast pump bag, I got the cutest one from Amazon (I’ll link it below and write a post about it!)
- Pumping or nursing bra
- Ice packs
- Nursing cover
When I recently flew down to Orlando, I made sure that I researched the rules and regulations of traveling with a pump and breast milk. What I discovered is that every airline allows breastfeeding mothers to bring their pump on as a carry on. However, it’s not an addition to the carry on you’re allowed, it is your personal or carry on item. Your pump bag will have to go through security, and if you have milk, they have the right to test it. Moms are allowed to have as much milk in their bag, it does not have to follow the 3 oz rule. Just let the TSA worker know you have a pump and milk.
Once you make it to the gate, depending on your pumping schedule, it is possible you may have to pump. There are a number of airports that have mother pods, they look like pop up nursing rooms. Those rooms are awesome and allow mothers to get comfortable and relax while feeding or pumping. However, some don’t and you will have to either pump at the gate, or in the bathroom. At the RDU airport, I had to stand in the bathroom and pump at the sink. Which didn’t bother me to much, but it was not relaxing to have to listen to other people use the bathroom for fifteen minutes.
Depending on the airline and flight you are on, there may be a plug by your seat. So if you have a long flight, you might have to pump while in the air. You can usually just pump in your seat, but again just let your flight attendant know and they can help you. The pumping bag I bought on Amazon (linked below) has a cooler on the bottom, so it was easy to store the milk until I got to where I was going.
Recap and additional tips:
- When driving map out your route and plan stops to pump
- Ask the hotel or place you are staying to provide you with a refrigerator for milk storage
- When flying, be prepared for TSA to text your milk
- Bring a couple bottle, and a lot of bags. Pump into a bottle and then transfer for a bag for easier storage
- STAY HYDRATED! Drink lots of water, especially if you are traveling somewhere warmer than you’re used too
- EAT! It is important that you remember to eat, I took protein bars with me to eat after I pumped
HAPPY TRAVELING MOMMA! I hope you find these tips helpful for your next trip! I would love to hear where you guys are going. If you have any other tips for traveling moms, let us know in the comments!