The holidays and traveling can be a stressful time. Then add a baby to the mix along with breastfeeding and pumping… it can be enough to make you regret planning to ever leave the house! I get it, so that’s why I am sharing with you my top tips for hitting the road (or air) with your breast milk fed baby.
1. If you are driving, plan to stop every 1.5-2 hours. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants sit no longer than 2 hours at a time in a car seat. Your baby will need to eat and have diaper changes in that time interval anyway.
2. Pack your pump and/ or a manual pump for back-up. Don’t forget extra parts, a car adapter, and wipes for your pump parts! (Or make sure you know how to hand express and bring along something to collect milk). If your baby is sleeping and you are extra full make sure to express your milk. Remember to keep the milk moving to avoid uncomfortable engorgement that can lead to plugged ducts and mastitis
3. Pack plenty of water and high protein snacks and fruit for yourself. If you are driving, you will be making frequent stops for your baby so don’t try to limit fluids for yourself. You need to stay hydrated to make milk!
4. Blowouts happen! Pack extra clothes for your baby along with plenty of diapers and wipes. You might even want to have an extra shirt handy for yourself if your baby decides to share the spit-up love with you!
5. Pack a cooler and ice packs for any milk you express. Use the cooler to also hold your water and snacks!
6. Even if your baby doesn’t normally take a pacifier, it can be a good idea to have one just in case. The sucking can help calm a crying baby until you can pull over or get to a safe place to feed them. If you are flying with your baby, having them suck on a pacifier during take-off and landing can help to relieve ear pressure. Don’t use the pacifier to replace a feed though. If they are hungry, pull over as soon as possible to feed them
7. If you are flying you may have extra concerns about bringing expressed milk or formula through security at the airport. Breast milk and formula are not subject to the 3.4-ounce limit, and you can take what your baby needs with you in your carry-on luggage. It is subject to screening though, and it’s a good idea to read this information from the TSA website before your trip so you know what to expect.
8. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Whether you are driving a distance in your car or driving to the airport to catch a flight, building in the extra time can save you some stress if you do need to make extra stops along the way.
I hope this gives you some tips that will make traveling with your baby a little less daunting. Remember- take a deep breath, be in the moment, and enjoy the time with your family!
Safe and happy travels!