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Traveling tips for nursing moms

Traveling shouldn’t be a reason to stop breastfeeding, but it is a challenge and something nursing moms worry about. Even so, it is worth the extra effort to ensure your little one gets the best nutrition when you are off for work or to see the family, friends and the world. All it takes is a bit of planning and researching to become well-equipped for any traveling challenges as a breastfeeding mom. Here are some tips to get you ready for your next trip:

Keep essential items on your carry-on

If you plan to pump on your flight or if your nursing schedule calls for it, you will need the right tools.

Become well-informed about the TSA policies

Be sure to read the official TSA policies on carrying breastmilk through airport security. You may want to keep a printed copy of the TSA rules on carrying breast milk in case you face any challenges going through security.

Check your hotel/house rental's amenities beforehand

To prepare for storage at your hotel, call them in advance and ask how to get a refrigerator with a freezer compartment. Some hotels may even store the milk for you for an additional fee. If your return flight is long, consider getting dry ice, but heed these guidelines from the FAA: Sometimes, if reliable storage isn’t available, you may have to pump and dump. In this situation, just remember you’re helping to maintain your milk supply for your little one.

Build up your stash

Increase the number of pumping sessions to store extra milk before you go away. It may be best to conduct a trial run by leaving your child with your babysitter or husband for a night to see how much milk your child takes without you. That way, you will have a better idea of how much your baby will need. You may want to do start days or weeks in advance, depending on how long you’ll be gone.

Pump before and during flights

Give yourself enough time to pump and get to your gate. Remember, gates close before the stated departure time. If you need to pump on your flight, you may want to let the person sitting next to you and/or the flight attendants know you will be pumping or breastfeeding during the flight. If your neighbor feels uncomfortable they can talk to the flight attendant about changing seats.

Get support while traveling

Whether it is speaking with a friend or joining a nursing group to discuss your traveling challenges, it is important to vocalize and share your experiences to become successful as a breastfeeding mom. With a strategic plan and a bit of effort, you can become an expert airborne mom. Just remember, you aren’t alone—more than half of American women are working professionals with children under a year old, and like you, many of them travel for business. Good luck and happy travels!