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15 Tips for Breastfeeding Moms Who Travel

15 Tips for Breastfeeding Moms Who Travel

Every week, in our FREE New Mother Breastfeeding Support Group, someone inevitably asks the group for tips on how to make air travel easier while breastfeeding. Since the Holidays and travel often go hand in hand, we thought this would be the perfect time to share a few invaluable ideas we've collected from both mothers and our team of Board Certified Lactation Consultants to help make any trip a little easier!  

Here Are Our 15 Secret Travel Tips We Don't Want New Moms to Miss!

1. Make a reservation early and book a window seat for yourself.

It’s easier to breastfeed when you can turn your back to a crowded flight to latch. Once your baby is comfortably latched, then sit back and relax.

2. If traveling with another person, request an aisle and a window seat.

If the flight is not full, you may get the whole row. If not, the person assigned the middle seat will usually be happy to take the aisle. If at all possible, try flying at lower volume times of the day/week. 

3. Take your car seat and your stroller right up to the plane and then gate check the stroller (and car seat if needed), so they are waiting for you as you disembark.

If there is an available seat you should be able to take your car seat on the plane with you. If not, they will gate check that too. Most gear brands have some amazing travel products and bags that are made for the various car seats, strollers and travel cribs available and, these will often provide an extra layer of protection for your gear. With some brands utilizing their specific travel bags can either extend your warranty or provide other benefits. If you don't have a stroller/car seat gate-check bag, take a large heavy-duty trash bag and some masking or duct tape. Airline workers tend to toss them about, rain or shine. Covering these travel essentials will ensure they arrive clean and dry and undamaged at your destination. NOTE: Babies will need to be removed from carrier and strollers while going through the security check point.

4. Take a wrap sling or structured carrier too.

Baby Wraps and carriers, like the BabyBjorn Mini or BabyBjorn Carrier Free are great for walking through airport, keeping your baby secure while flying, and calming a fussy baby on the plane. Once you are in the air and the captain has given the ok to freely move about the cabin, having your carrier will allow you to get up and walk the aisle with your baby, whether it's to stretch your legs, or to soothe your baby. 

5. Consider using a backpack diaper bag as a carry on.

Diaper backpacks are a great way to hold all your baby's gear while also helping to keep you hands-free.

6. In your carry-on bag, bring an extra shirt for yourself and enough clothes for the baby to make it through a blowout or two.

Being prepared for a delay, and even an overnight stay, by packing an extra nursing tank and additional baby clothes in your carry on, will go a long way in easing the stress of unexpected changes during your travel. 

7. Create diaper changing bags: one diaper and several wipes, plus a disposable liner for the changing table in a Ziploc bag.

When you need to change the baby just grab a baggy, make the change and use the Ziploc for dirty diaper and liner. Disposable liners are great for traveling because you can throw them away after each use and it helps protect baby from the environment. You can also include extra wipes to wipe down the area before diaper changes. 

8. Check the TSA Website before you leave home and take a copy of the most current rules with you and/or add the links to the home screen on your phone. 

You may need it at security if you meet less informed security agents. Current TSA rules state that "Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (to include puree pouches) in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (to include puree pouches) are considered medically necessary liquids. This also applies to breast milk and formula cooling accessories, such as ice packs, freezer packs, and gel packs (regardless of presence of breast milk). Your child or infant does not need to be present or traveling with you to bring breast milk, formula and/or related supplies."

9. Keep breastmilk in a separate bag from other gels and liquids.

Inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that you are carrying formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (to include puree pouches) in excess of 3.4 ounces. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from your other belongings. TSA officers may need to test the liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items.

Although not required, to expedite the screening process, it is recommended that formula and breast milk be transported in clear, translucent bottles and not plastic bags or pouches. Liquids in plastic bags or pouches may not be able to be screened by Bottle Liquid Scanners, and you may be asked to open them (if feasible) for alternate screening such as Explosive Trace Detection and Vapor Analysis for the presence of liquid explosives. Screening will never include placing anything into the medically necessary liquid.

10. If you think you will need to pump while flying, consider taking a good hand pump. 

We love the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump. It's quiet and many moms report it to be a lifesaver for those mid-Atlanta pumping emergencies

11. Take your nursing covers too!

We love the Bebe au Lait nursing covers! We also recommend wearing a good nursing bra for ease of access and you might want to wear layers if you need extra coverage. A good nursing tank can also make nursing so easy while keeping your midsection covered. 

12. Pack antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers in your carry on.

Planes are flying Petri dishes, so remember to take lots of extra antibacterial wipes with you. Use them to wipe down the arms of your seat and the tray table. Also make sure to pack a few travel size hand sanitizers.

13. Try to nurse your baby or offer a few sips of breast milk by bottle when you are taking off and landing! 

Getting your baby to swallow helps reduce pressure in the ears. However, if your baby is sleeping, don’t wake him. 

14. Put drops of breastmilk in the eyes and nose repeatedly before and during trip.

This may help reduce the risk of your baby getting sick. It works like an antibiotic/antiviral! Good stuff! 

15. Don't be afraid to ask for help!! 

Getting your luggage through security, into the overheads, etc an be a hassle! Tis the season for giving and people feel good about themselves when they help others, so let ‘em help! 

For additional information on traveling with your little one, be sure to watch this great video from TSA about what you can expect when going through security!