Throughout the year, many families will pack up and hit the road. Here are some travel tips for smooth sailing straight from the desk of our IBCLC, Dominique.
Flying with Baby
My first suggestion is to wear your baby! Babywearing allows you to keep your baby close while being hands-free to take care of other needs like holding carry on bags or looking for items in your bag. Babywearing can also make boarding the plane easier. You will likely be asked to take your baby out of the carrier during takeoff and landing, but you can comfortably wear him or her during the flight.
If you have a latching baby, nursing during takeoff and landing can help the baby’s ears adjust and prevent popping due to the change in elevation. If your baby is not latching or will not latch, a pacifier will help as well.
Nurse on demand during the flight and as needed for comfort. Some parents find that a window seat is preferable so that they can nurse more discreetly. Some parents choose to nurse in wraps or carriers while others use a nursing cover or a receiving blanket. Other parents find the aisle seat is preferable so they can freely walk around in case the infant gets fussy.
Breastmilk At The Airport
Before arriving at the airport, research the approved ways to keep your milk cold while traveling by air. It is helpful toprint out the TSA guidelines to have with you in case there are any questions.
Airports often have quiet and private areas where you can care for, feed your baby, and pump. Before arriving at the airport, it may be helpful to look up an airport map for locations where you can go when your baby gets hungry, needs to be changed, or it is time to pump. In some states, it is required for the larger airports to have “pods” or nursing rooms for breastfeeding and pumping mothers. These should be clearly marked on airport maps as well as in the airport.
Make sure that your battery-operated pump is fully charged. If you do not have a battery-powered option, a manual or “hand pump” can be great for pumping on the go.
Finally, a hands-free pumping bra is a must when traveling! It will keep you hands-free to take care of other necessary things, including running to your next terminal!
Road Trip with Baby
When traveling with a baby, my family used to travel at night to let the children sleep so we could get the most miles behind us. If this sounds like an option that could work for your family, make sure that the driver is well-rested.
When planning your trip, account for extra time to take breaks. Frequent breaks allow for diaper changes, proper breastfeeds or bottle feeds, and adequate time out of the car seat. Finding short but fun places to stop along the way can not only be entertaining but also allow the whole family some out-of-the car time.
It can be tempting, but while the car is in motion, never take your infant out of the car seat, prop a bottle or nurse.
Breastmilk On The Road
Check the state laws regarding pumping while driving. Some states classify pumping while driving as “distracted driving”. If pumping while driving is allowed where you are traveling, be sure to set up your pump parts and plug in your pump BEFORE you start to drive. When you are done pumping, disconnect everything only after you have stopped driving.
Sometimes on the road, there may be vehicles that sit higher up than your car, allowing other drivers or passengers to look “down” into your car. In this scenario, a cover or a shirt that can cover the top half of your breast may come in handy.
Finally, double-check the breast milk storage options where you are staying. It is important to know what options you will have (cooler, fridge, or freezer) in order to plan ahead.
If you have any breastfeeding, pumping or feeding questions, Domonique our IBCLC, is available to help! You can reach our lactation team by email at [email protected]