Navigating Breastfeeding and Pumping while Traveling
Jennifer Jordan is the Director of Mom & Baby at Aeroflow Healthcare, a durable medical equipment provider that has provided breast pumps through insurance to hundreds of thousands of women. Jennifer and her team work directly with new and expecting moms to support their breastfeeding needs.
Babies have the tendency to arrive with as much popularity as A-list celebrities. All of a sudden, visitors come out to see them and take photos. However, in some cases you have to take babies to visit others, meaning it’s time to travel.
The thought of driving with a baby for hours or even taking to the skies can be overwhelming. From the sheer amount of stuff to pack to sticking to a schedule, especially when it comes to breast pumping, there’s a lot to consider. Luckily, pumping while traveling is much easier than you may think. With a little pre-trip planning you’ll famously roll in without any bloopers for the paparazzi.
Pumping while Traveling
In order to successfully continue pumping while traveling, it’s important not to leave any parts behind. Make a pumping checklist to help yourself remember to pack everything you need, and then consider taking extra supplies.
Think about getting a breast pump bag for easy storage options on-the-go. Many are stylish and extremely convenient as they make it incredibly easy to carry milk storage containers, your breast pump, batteries, the power adaptor, and more. Some bags even have insulated pockets for milk storage. Plus, because your pump is a medical item, it doesn’t count as a carry-on item!
You can purchase a lightweight travel pump as well as extra accessories, in case something breaks or you lose a part. Pack extra batteries, too, to be on the safe side if you can’t find a place with an outlet to pump.
An insulated cooler with some freezer packs will do a great job at keeping your breast milk chilled until you can store it in a fridge or make it home. Don’t forget dish soap or cleaning wipes to sanitize your pump after use.
If you don’t want to worry about keeping up with your breast milk during your trip, use an insulated shipping kit to send it home. Frozen milk will last in insulated shipping containers for about two days, and many carriers will email you once your package arrives at your front door.
Getting Past TSA
Getting through airport security is already daunting enough, but now you have to get your breast pump through too?! Actually, there is nothing to worry about. Remember, breast pumps don’t count as carry-on items because they are medical devices, and you can even bring your expressed milk on board too.
You can carry on milk in larger quantities than 3.4 ounces, but it will be screened. The screening process may involve opening the containers to test the liquid. Inform the TSA agent if you do not want the containers opened, and other additional screening steps will be taken instead.
Lactating moms travel often, so TSA agents know the drill. However, there are a few steps you can take to make the entire process easier. First of all, tell your TSA agent that you have a breast pump and milk so they can be screened, and be sure to have a screenshot or printed copy of the airline’s policy.
Try to make it to the airport early enough to give yourself time to pump before boarding your plane. Some airports actually have private pumping areas for nursing mothers to take advantage of. Otherwise, find a family restroom to use as your own private space.
You can also use the Mamava mobile app for iOS and Android to look up their breast pumping and feeding pod locations by state to see if any are available in the airports you’ll be traveling in, or the pumpspotting app to instantly find pumping locations nearby.
Bon Voyage Baby
If traveling with your baby was that difficult, then you wouldn’t see it happening nearly as much! Maintaining your milk supply while traveling is possible. All you need is a solid travel plan in place to continue pumping with the star treatment you and your baby both deserve.