Traveling this summer while breastfeeding? I asked a bunch of mamas to share their tips — with everything from gear you may want to have on hand, to advice (don’t worry about feeding in public, just DO IT! ) to milk storage (MilkStork!!). There’s some great advice below!
Just do it! Don’t think twice. People are more comfortable with it than you might expect. I nursed my 10 month old sitting at a picnic table at a little bay in Ireland and a group of 5 older German men came and sat at the table with me. No weord looks or questions, just some friendly conversation!
This may not be a common tip, but if you have a good stash at home and you are only away for a few days, don’t put so much pressure on yourself to take ALL of the milk you pump home. Keep up with your pumping to maintain your supply, but don’t kill yourself storing and toting your milk home. Enjoy a well deserved mama break and some time away.
If you are changing time zones, try to get on the new time zone as soon as possible, in terms of your nursing schedule.
Most hotels will accommodate nursing mothers with a mini fridge in the room. Just ask when you make your reservation.
Make sure you’ve breastfed in all the tops and bras you pack, don’t forget to pads and lanolin or coconut oil. And most importantly, get in the mindset that no place is too weird to do it, I just came back from a trip to Mexico and had to feed on planes, in plazas, restaurants, archaeological ruins, and some very uncomfortable floors. If you go in expecting a little discomfort and no luxuries you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you find a comfy chair in a quiet cafe at just the right time.
Feel free to breastfeed anywhere! Bring gear and wear clothing that makes it easy. I didn’t bring my pump on a 2 week trip and breastfed my daughter in public constantly.
Also ask anywhere you are if there is a space to breastfeed, I was always surprised that people would be so helpful in helping you find a space.
Master the art of the discreet feed and you can do it anywhere. A large muslin cloth tucked under both bra straps works wonders and is then immediately on hand for when your little one guzzles too much! Relax and listen to your body and your baby as it’s very easy for you both to get distracted and let feeding times slip then you’re left with a suddenly very angry baby somewhere that might not be that convenient to feed.
Bring a manual pump! Makes it super easy to quick pump from almost anywhere. I even pumped on the beach under a towel and no one noticed!
Plan on double the road hours in order to stop for nursing breaks! And try to think ahead about having a comfortable spot for nursing at your destination – you’ll still be spending a number of hours nursing, even though its a vacation. If having your boppy or a lumbar cushion helps you, don’t forget to bring it!
The most important, and hardest, thing to do is try not to stress. Schedules get crazy when you travel, do your best to stay on track but if things get crazy and you have to pull over on the high way/crash in an airport lounge/nurse while walking through Edinburgh to keep everyone happy then do it.
The Mamava + Pump Spotting apps shows locations and reviews/tips on breastfeeding stations and rooms all over that is very helpful.
Bring lots of snacks and load up on water. I always notice a dip in my supply if I don’t eat or stay hydrated enough.
Wear something that’s comfortable and easy. Recognize that it’s going to be hard to find a private space, but do what you need to do for your baby. And let the gate agent know that if there’s an open row, you’d love to be sitting there with your little one!
Leave extra time at the airport – they will need to scan or test your breastmilk at the airport security line
Seek out the pumping rooms or pumping pods in airports before you fly.
Microwave steam/sterile bags and the medella sanitizing wipes for cleaning parts in a hotel
Manual breast pump for on-the-go use or in the car on road trips.
A car adapter for my pump was a game changer for me. While not ideal, I at least knew that in a pinch I could pump in the car. I could also pump when my husband was driving so I didn’t have to miss out when we got to our destination. The Medela brand icepacks are great because they hug the bottles and keep everything cold.
. Also invest in a cover you are comfortable using – I never thought I’d breastfeed at the table at a restaurant, but babies get off schedule on trips and you need to feed them wherever!
This I have become a pro at. Bring a nursing cover, hands free pumping bra, invest in a battery pack for your pump if possible, and a manual pump for back up. I also purchased adapters for my pump so that I can just pump into bags while traveling. They take up way less space than a bunch of pumping bottles. Also, never forget your cooler bag and ice packs!
Have a huge chic scarf that you can always wear and then use as a cover up if you want one. And just feed your baby, wherever and whenever you need to!
I always wear a big cardigan over a nursing tank. The cardigan makes for easy access to mursing and also doubles as a cover!
If pumping bring extra parts!
Invest in a Packit—they stay cold for a long time! If you’re staying at a hotel, request a small fridge for your room—most hotels do this at no charge. I also love my OXO travel bottle brush and drying rack for washing on the go.
My company provides MilkStork as a benefit. It’s amazing! They shipped the box to my hotel and I didn’t have to worry about a fridge. I think it keeps milk cool for up to 60 hours. I used the tote option so I carried the box on the plane but they also have a fedex option where your hotel will ship it home.’
*Side note – I was so excited to learn that many employers cover the cost of MilkStork for their breastfeeding mamas when traveling for work!