Traveling can be both exciting and stressful for moms, especially lactating mothers. The lack of sleep, and uncomfortability that comes with pumping in air or on the road during travel. However, we super heros make it work, because thats simply what we do best. As a mom that frequently travel I have mastered the whole pumping, feeding, traveling and not losing my mind thing. So I thought I would share my supplies checklist and pointers on traveling with your tots.
Supplies Check List
Breast Pump: This is the most convenient way to pump while traveling, considering you don't need to plug in or add batteries to the pump. I like the Medela Harmony Hand Pump.
If you are traveling internationally be sure to check the outlet ports prior to departure so that you have the proper hookups and run into no issues when you arrive to your destination and prepare to pump.
Milk Storage Bags & Containers
Planning on storing your milk while traveling to and from home? Then you want to make sure that you pack plenty storage bags. I like the Medela and Lansinoh bags. If I had to choose one over the other, I would pick the Medela brand simply because they have hookups that you can use with the bags and pump directly in them. This makes it more convenient for storage purposes. Tip: Freeze the bags flat to maximize storage space.
For long or multi-segment flights, utilizing ice packs in an insulated cooler, will help keep the milk frozen during your travel. Some thawing may occur, so be sure to freeze the milk as soon as you can. Don't let your liquid gold go to waste!
I LOVE the microwave steaming sterilizing bags by Medela. They can be used up to 20 times and have a tracking system located on the back of the bags that you can dot with a marker after each use. Another one of my favorites are the disinfectant wipes. Munchkin offers wipes for pacifiers and bottle tops while Medela offers wipes for breast pump accessories.
Membranes, tubing, breast shields & pump parts
Leaving for a trip and then realizing you left all of the essentials you need to actually pump, will ruin your mood and maybe your trip. Don't be that person and be sure that you pack all parts. Maybe even pack a few extra pieces just in case something gets lost in transition.
This is an absolute must! Make sure you pack a 3oz or less bottle of hand sanitizer. These are easily found in target or walmarts travel section. If you have a slight obsession for Bath & Body Works like me (hehehe) grab your coupons and head there to get a pocket-bac with a keychain that you can place on your book bag, purse, keys or luggage.
If you can fit your pump into your carryon perfect, if not you will need to carry it separate with your other personal items.
DO NOT check a breast pump in a suitcase or as a stand alone item. Your probably asking why? right? Flight delays occur all the time, luggage gets lost or damages. The last thing you want is to have leaky breast and arrive at your destination without your pump.
I get asked a lot if pumping mothers are allowed to travel with breast pumps and breast milk. The answer is yes. In the United States, you are allowed travel with breast milk, regardless of whether or not your infant if traveling with you. If a security agent says otherwise, ask to speak with a supervisor. We've got rights!
You can simplify this process, by alerting security prior to check that you are traveling with breast milk and a breast pump. Be sure to pull the pump out and place it in a bin as you would normal TSA routine checks.
Note: Breast Milk is NOT subject to the 3oz rule. You also are not required to have your breast milk tested. If they ask to open up the breast milk and test it, be sure to ask to speak to a supervisor. They may and can swab the outside of the milk, but they cannot force you to open your milk and test it.
However, I have been asked to have my pump swabbed and a pat down. Either situation can occur and to avoid any potential delays, go with the flow.
There are now several pumping rooms for mothers throughout the airport. Be sure to utilize them should you need to pump en route to or from your destination. If you don't have time or there are non available, consider purchasing a 6-in-1 scarf that will allow you to discretely pump in public.
There is no great accomplishment than making it through traveling and still having all your liquid gold. I cringe at the sound of pumping and dumping. I hope this advice helps all of my traveling lactating mommas!