Traveling and Feeding (With or Without Your Infant)

The world is opening up again, and travel is on the rise! However you’re getting to your destination, traveling as a new parent is a daunting task. Even when you’re on vacation, there’s no time off from mom life. Learning how to navigate being on the go with feeding your little one is tough, but we are here to help! Whether you’re on a solo mission or your baby is on your side, there are some tips and tricks to make feeding a little easier. 

Traveling with your baby… 

When you’re traveling with your baby, there are many things you can do to ease some of the stresses that come with an inconsistent schedule. If you’re using formula, making ahead of time and traveling with a cooler bag, especially for shorter trips, can make it easier to feed them at a moment’s notice. When you’re flying, TSA guidelines allow you to bring more than 3.4 oz of formula with you as long as you notify them.2 Additional items such as disposable bottle liners and microwavable sterilizer bags can save you time and effort when it comes to cleaning your bottles on the go!

Breastfeeding and traveling can be tricky, but there are many guidelines in place to help make this easier! For example, last year the Friendly Airports for Mothers act started requiring a private, non-bathroom, area designated for breastfeeding in each terminal of an airport.1 Additionally, pumped breast milk is exempt from TSA’s liquid quantity restrictions.2 If you’re flying with your baby, try to breastfeed them during takeoff and landing. This helps them adjust to the pressure changes in the plane.1 Finally, it’s recommended that even when traveling, continue to feed your baby on demand. This helps them stay on a routine, which provides comfort and stability, as well as keeps up your milk supply.

Traveling alone… 

It might be true for you that traveling without your kids is even more stressful than going together! If that’s the case, we’ve got some ideas to help you stay on track with your feeding goals away from home, without being tethered to your pump. If your baby is using formula, we suggest printing out or guidelines on formula storage to put up on the fridge for whoever is staying with them! Check it out here. For breastfeeding moms, it’s recommended to work with a lactation consultant ahead of your trip to make a personalized plan for you!1 In general, your three options are to store your milk, send your milk home, or pump and dump. When you’re storing, follow the same guidelines you would at home. The second option, sending your milk home, may seem unconventional but it is totally possible! You can ship it yourself, or use a company like Milk Stork. Milk Stork stores and ships your milk at the proper temperature so that your baby can continue to have a supply even while you’re gone. Employers will often cover this expense for you if you’re traveling for work. Finally, pumping and dumping is when you express your supply and then discard it. This allows you to keep up your supply so you can continue breastfeeding when you get home, without having to store it. When you’re pumping, try and pump as frequently as you would feed your baby at home. This will allow you to maintain your supply. 

When traveling, it is helpful to think through different scenarios that you will be in during your time away. For instance, if pumps need to be plugged into a wall, it might be helpful to have a pump available such as a hand pump, wireless pump, or wireless pump (check out our post here further describing these different pump types). If you are on a vacation away from your baby and are planning a date night or long walk/hike, consider using a wireless pump so that you can enjoy your time away and not be tethered to a pump plugged into a wall. A manual pump is also great in this situation so that you’re not reliant on an energy source. 

Our tried and true travel tips and tricks… 

Wow, that’s a mouthful! Now that you’ve read up on the recommendations for traveling while feeding your baby, here are some tips from moms here at SimpliFed who have been there!

  1. While easier said than done, plan your schedule for your trip, then plan around feeding your baby or pumping around it. Then you can always adapt your plan as needed. 
  2. Be prepared for things to go wrong: battery not being charged, getting stuck on the runway, not having access to a plug. We find that the more you plan ahead of time, then it de-stresses you overall. 
  3. For those pumping bring some dish soap to-go! I have heard moms having to go out to the convenience store late at night before they realized that bar soap in hotels won’t cut it for cleaning their pumps. Also get creative – moms have cleaned first then used the ice bucket as a tub container to make cleaning their pump parts more efficient while traveling and staying in a hotel. 

Resources

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, November 10). Travel Recommendations for Nursing Families. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/travel-recommendations.html. 
  2. Traveling with Children. Traveling with Children | Transportation Security Administration. (n.d.). https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children#:~:text=Formula%2C%20breast%20milk%20and%20juice,the%20rest%20of%20your%20belongings. 

Claire Dowell