How to Travel (without Baby) as a Breastfeeding Mama
This weekend we staycationed in Laguna Beach for my hubby’s birthday. Baby Max stayed home with my mom so I could enjoy this time with my hubby and older boys just for one night, which meant I needed to prepare extra while away from my little breastfeeder!
Here are my quick tips for travelling as a breastfeeding mama when you don’t bring your babe:
Flying? Read up on regulations First
TSA has specific guidelines to help you know exactly how to travel as a breastfeeding mama. You don’t need to have your baby with you in order to bring breastmilk or formula, and the amount is exempt from the size limitations imposed on other liquids. So you can bring as much with you as reasonable, meaning bringing the pumped milk with you on your return flight shouldn’t be an issue. Just be sure to notify your TSA officer and remove all breastmilk from your bags before sending through the X-Ray screening. I’ve never done longer, international travel while breastfeeding, so I recommend contacting your airline prior to travel to learn their specific rules and guidelines, as they may differ from domestic TSA flights.
Bring The Necessary Gear
Of course, as a breastfeeding mama sans baby…you will need to pump. Here are all the essentials to be sure to pack for your trip:
1. Breast Pump
I take my heavy duty hospital grade pump with me, but that can be pretty bulky, especially for air travel. I recommend taking a smaller, lighter weight pump instead, like the Medela Pump in Style, which comes in a handy tote to make a little easier to carry around with you on your travels. So if a standard pump is strong enough to extract the milk for you, go with that!!
2. Pumping Accessories
You’ll need all the basic pumping and milk storage accessories, and again I recommend Medela here. I recommend getting two of these Medela pumping accessory kits, because you don’t want to have to wash everything every time you pump. Having multiples will save you time so you can focus more energy on the reason for your trip, whether it’s work or pleasure!
3. Milk Storage Bags
Lansinoh Milk Storage Bags are my personal fave. They never leak and I love that they are designed to sit upright. Bring a lot of these!!
4. Babyganics Dish Soap
Since this soap is washing the accessories that are used to pump out food for your little one, it’s important to use safe, gentle, organic soap. Babyganics Dish Soap is the way to go here.
5. Water bottle
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Keep water handy at all times, especially on flights or during long car rides, to maintain your supply. You all know I love Penta water, which I definitely recommend grabbing a case of for longer car rides!
Communicate with your hotel
Before your trip, be sure to reach out to your hotel to find out about fridge accomodations. Most hotels should be able to provide you with a mini fridge to hook up in your room, which is a must because the minibar fridges are just not strong enough. Make sure whatever fridge they give you cools down below 60 degrees for safe breastmilk storage.
Plan Out Your Schedule
Plan accordingly so you don’t leak at the wrong time (and maybe bring some bamboobies as a precaution). Timing it so you pump right before an activity is best, like right before dinner or right before a visit to the pool.
Be prepared emotionally
Leaving your baby for any amount of time, even just one night, is very emotionally difficult as a breastfeeding mama! Your body is physically wanting you to feed your child, and while it’s a nice break from the demands of a newborn, it’s hard not to miss them!
You’ll also need to emotionally prepare for the times when you have to go off on your own and pump. You will inevitably miss out on some time with your family and friends while pumping, but it’s all worth it for that little babe you’re nourishing!
Mamas, do you have any tips from your own travel experiences?