Just when you’ve figured out how to breastfeed and cook breakfast at the same time, a tarmac comes into play and a whole new challenge presents itself. Fear not, breastfeeding mommies! I have summoned the experts, from a Medela exec to a newly-minted expert like myself, to bring you a complete guide to pumping on-the-go.
“Your first travel experience is going to be overwhelming, no doubt about it,” says Susan Rappin, a director of consumer products for Medela. “It is best to try and figure out what might stress you out beforehand, then eliminate it through careful planning and preparation.”
BEFORE YOU GO
Get the right gear and prepare for everything.
- Invest in multiple shields and holding bottles, so you don’t have to scrub your goods in a public restroom or on the plane (that airplane tap water isn’t safe for baby either). Better yet, say good-bye to soap and water altogether with Quick Clean Breastpump & Accessory Wipes from Medela – pure genius.
- If you will be gone for more than a couple days without baby, you will need an extra ice pack and cooler to transport your milk home. My favorite is the Built NY Cooler – easy to pack and cute to boot.
- Wear the right clothes. Make sure you are comfortable and have easy access to “the ladies”. One of my favorites is this comfy top by Japanese Weekend paired with leggings, a pashmina scarf, and flats.
- Pack hand sanitizer and something to sit on (disposable diaper pads are perfect) in your carry-on. You might end up pumping in a public restroom, so you want to be prepared.
- If you don’t have a hands-free pump, like the Medela Freestyle, get yourself a hands-free helper like this one from Simple Wishes.
Don’t forget to…
- Charge your pump and/or bring extra batteries. Outlets can be harder to find than you would think.
- Call ahead and request that a refrigerator be brought to your room. If the place you are staying can’t accommodate, you can keep milk chilled in an ice bucket. All hotels have them.
- If you are heading out of the country, don’t forget to pack your adapters.
- Give yourself a break ahead of time. No matter how prepared you are, the time will come when you find yourself sitting on a disposable diaper pad in some germ-infested bathroom wondering what ever possessed you to breastfeed in the first place. When this happens, remind yourself it won’t always be like this and travel on.
- Pack a refillable water bottle, and then fill up once you get through security. You need to stay hydrated, and this is a great way to save money and travel green.
- Book a window seat; it will be more private for pumping.