Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy way to provide nutrition for your baby. It also strengthens the bond between mother and child, making it easier for mothers to return to work. But traveling can be difficult for breastfeeding mothers. Fortunately, these breastfeeding essentials will make this easier:
Breastfeeding essentials for moms who love traveling
1. Pack a nursing pillow
A breastfeeding pillow is designed to help you find the best position for your baby while they are feeding, which can help make it easier for everyone. But if you don’t have one, any small but thick cushion will do. You can also use something soft like laundry or bedding – anything that makes you comfortable.
2. Breastfeed in different places
Breastfeeding in a variety of places is a good idea. If you want to be discreet, make sure you find a private space where your baby can eat without being disturbed. If you are comfortable, breastfeeding openly will give others the freedom to do the same if they wish to, making you feel more comfortable. Being able to feed your baby wherever you are is an integral part of breastfeeding.
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3. Bring formula milk
If you are traveling a long distance, it can be difficult to transport expressed breast milk over a long distance. When the time comes that your baby needs feeding, you may find yourself out of milk. To avoid this, make sure you have a sufficient amount of formula milk to get you through your journey.
4. Be prepared for emergencies
You should never consider traveling without knowing which hospitals and pediatricians in the area service mothers and children. If you cannot contact your pediatrician when traveling with a baby, take an emergency contact card with you. Make sure to include the pediatrician’s number, hospital and emergency contact information.
This information should also be easily accessible online in case your phone is confiscated or lost.
5. Be aware of breastfeeding laws
In many countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, it is legal for mothers to breastfeed in public. This is important for women who are traveling with their babies. If you run into any trouble breastfeeding your child, know that your rights are protected. You can contact a family law attorney if you have concerns or questions about these legalities.
6. Find the right chair
There are many different types of chairs that can help you comfortably feed your baby while at a restaurant or even on an airplane. There are also nursing rooms in many airports that have several chairs and a table with an electrical outlet where you could charge your phone.
These rooms usually have soft lighting, so it is easier to breastfeed your baby in them. Many airports also have a nursing room with a comfortable sofa where you could sit down and feed your baby in a more relaxed environment. This is especially helpful if your baby falls asleep during the feeding because it allows you to continue holding them while they rest.
You can use a special breastfeeding cover or just fold up one of your tops over the baby’s head. This will ensure that you are completely covered so no one can see any unnecessary skin.
7. Eat before traveling
This might seem obvious, but eating something nutritious will help keep your energy levels up while you are stuck at the airport or on a long-haul flight. Energy bars are perfect because they provide all the nutrients you need while still being easy to transport. If you are breastfeeding, try to choose one that is high protein and carbohydrate-rich.
8. Breastfeed before boarding
Unfortunately, there is no way around the fact that airport security might delay your journey, which means you need to make sure your baby is full before getting on the plane. This will ensure the baby won’t be too hungry while aboard.
Don’t forget to bring some healthy snacks on the plane to eat during your flight. But you should also check with your airline first because many airlines offer special meals for breastfeeding mothers. It is also a good idea to bring extra food with you if your destination requires a connection or layover en route.
9. Pack well for day trips
Breastfeeding mothers can need to pump or breastfeed at any hour. If you plan on taking day trips, make sure that you have everything necessary to do so. This includes portable electric outlets for pumping and comfortable chairs for nursing.
10. Bring extra supplies for the flight
Most airlines will offer a breast pump if you ask, but it can be handy to bring your own pump and some extra bottles and storage bags with you as well. Again, make sure this is allowed by your airline before you pack any of these items in your carry-on. The same goes for nursing pads and medicine you may be taking.
11. Make sure there’s a place to sit down
When you’re on the plane, make sure that your seat is next to an empty one so you can move around easily. If your aisle seat is occupied, it might mean not getting out of your row during the flight.
This is a problem as you can’t leave your child with anyone else, and there might not be a breastfeeding room nearby, especially if you’re on a small plane offering only coach seats. If you are traveling by bus or train, recline back in your seat so you can place your baby across your body.
12. Bring enough warm clothes
Breastfeeding can make you feel chilled, even in a hot location. It is easy to pack too light, but it is better to overpack than be cold on the plane.
13. Travel with a partner
Breastfeeding can take up time and space, so you want help from your partner. For instance, your partner can drive as you nurse. When in the family car, ensure you take a window seat. You can breastfeed more comfortably when you have a partner or someone who can help with common travel tasks.
14. Breastfeed discreetly
Breastfeeding can feel very exposed, especially when you are in a public space with almost no private spaces. But there are ways to shield yourself from the world while breastfeeding.
- Wear very discreet nursing clothes – look for v-neck tops, dresses, or loose shirts. You can even purchase an apron to nurse your baby underneath. This is the best way to breastfeed without overexposing yourself.
- Bring a shawl with you everywhere you go and drape it over your chest while breastfeeding.
- If you feel a little more exposed, just feed your baby while sitting down and cover the lower half of your body with a blanket.
15. Be aware of food allergies
If you have a child who has an allergy or intolerance to certain foods, breastfeeding becomes even more difficult. You will need to be very careful about what you eat – but you should also consider how your breastfeeding child will cope with the foods that other people are eating.
You might need to take supplemental nutrition or even formula so that everyone is happy. Some symptoms that will show your baby is allergic to foods you are or people around you are eating include wheezing, itchy eyes, diarrhea and/or constipation, vomiting, and irritability.
16. Be mindful of who prepares your food
When breastfeeding, you should be very careful about where and by whom your food is prepared. If you are staying in a hotel, ask what measures they have taken to ensure that your food is safe.
Do the staff wash their hands before cooking? Are there separate areas where meat and vegetables are prepared? Is all equipment used for preparing your food also used on other foods? Breastfeeding mothers should avoid eating undercooked or raw meat, fish, eggs, shellfish, and other foods that could be unsafe.
A lot of stores have prepared food for you to buy, but it is crucial to make sure that the food is safe. For example, if you are buying fruit salad in a market or bazaar, make sure there are no dishes prepared with the same utensils nearby.
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17. Make sure you have access to fresh water at all times
If you are breastfeeding, make sure that the cleanest possible source of drinking water is available to you at any time when you are outside your home. That may mean buying bottled water or asking restaurant staff for boiled tap water. Do not drink from fountains in public areas or taps in hotel rooms.
18. Use a nipple shield
Your baby may have trouble breastfeeding when you are on the road for several reasons, from jostling around on buses and trains to the different way that your chest area feels when you aren’t in your usual surroundings.
If he is fussy or upset while nursing under these circumstances, use a nipple shield to calm him. Breastfeeding with a nipple shield is unlikely to harm your baby’s teeth, but it may interfere with breastfeeding long-term, so try to avoid using one for more than a few days.
You can buy nipple shields in pharmacies. They have holes in the bottom to allow milk to flow through but are thicker at the base, making them easier for your baby to grasp with his lips. You can also make your own by cutting a hole in the middle of a clean rubber glove, poking some small holes around the edge, and then cutting the fingers off.
19. Be cautious about drinking alcohol while nursing
Drinking alcoholic drinks is particularly problematic because your blood alcohol levels may increase quickly due to pressure changes in airplane cabins and the effect of gravity on the contents of your stomach. It would help if you waited at least two hours after a drink before nursing to avoid alcohol leaking into your milk supply.
20. Don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep
Many new mums (breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding alike) fail to appreciate just how beneficial a decent night of sleep is for their milk supply and general wellbeing.
When you’re on the road, sleeping in different places each night can be difficult, but if you can do so with your baby in your room, breastfeeding will be easier. If this isn’t an option, make sure to dedicate nap times each day to milk expression or feeding. You’ll find that even 15 minutes of extra sleep makes a difference.
21. Use breast milk storage bags
If you are traveling by plane, ensure that you have breast milk storage bags. This way, you express milk during the trip and save it for when the baby needs it. These storage bags will keep your milk secure and fresh.
Organize your breastfeeding supplies
If you are traveling by plane or car, organize all of your breastfeeding supplies in one bag so you don’t have to search for them when you need them. For example, breast pads, nipple cream, moisturizer, and breast milk storage bags.
Breastfeeding your baby while traveling can be challenging and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these breastfeeding essentials, you will make the whole process a lot easier.