The beauty of breastfeeding – you can do it anywhere, anytime – there’s nothing to plug in, warm up, wash or prepare. Being able to combine breastfeeding and travel is an absolute blessing. It’s convenient for mum and comforting for the baby when everything else is strange and confusing.
If you are traveling by air, breastfeeding is a boon. There’s nothing quite like snuggling up for a feed during take-off and landing, to take the pressure off little eardrums. Try to time it so that you can feed just as the plane is taking off and again when it is coming in to land and your air travels will be hassle free.
The trick here is planning. Have a shawl handy ( breastfeeding cover ) and a few pillows or a boppy pillow, to prop up your arm and anything else you need to be comfortable. The shawl is to provide a bit of privacy and to minimize distractions if you have a baby that likes to see everything. If you are a bit uncertain about breastfeeding in public, you can read more on this here.
Avoid sitting in the aisle if you can, because you and your baby will be knocked and brushed by anyone walking past. The window seat is perfect. You’ll have a great view and more seclusion. It’s a good idea to let the air-hostess know that you are a breastfeeding mum. They can be very accommodating. Also tell your fellow passenger what you intend to do, so that if they have a problem with it, they can relocate to another seat.
Pumping takes a bit more preparation because you will need to take a small cooler and frozen ice packs for safe storage. Air travel regulations have made transporting liquids quite difficult lately but, if you pack it securely, you can check it in with the rest of your luggage.
Take just enough with you in your hand luggage to last the duration of the flight. Pack it in feed sized containers beforehand. Breast milk travels and stores well if kept at the right temperature. Read more on safe breastmilk storage here.
If you are going on a trip without your baby and plan to pump while away, it is vital to check all your equipment before you leave home. You need to have a manual or battery back-up unit in case there are no plugs available for an electric pump. You don’t want to be left high and dry with breasts full of precious milk and no way to extract it. Keep to the same schedule of feeding if possible, but don’t get stressed out if you can’t. Storage needs are to be well thought out in advance so that you can use the milk when you get back home and so that you do not need to dump it.
Breastfeeding in the car
If you are traveling by car, timing and preparation are key. Feed before you set out and time your rest stops to coincide with subsequent feeding times. If you are a passenger, it’s even easier, because you can just feed in transit.
By Gizelle Bichard