If you are a nursing mom who must take a trip without your baby, there are some things you can do on the road to make sure your milk supply does not run dry while you are away. Here are some tips for pumping on the road:
- Make sure you have a good pump. Medela makes a line of portable pumps that are handy for travel.
- Focus on keeping up the supply, not saving the milk.
- Try to keep the same pumping schedule as your normal feeding or pumping schedule at home (3-5 times a day). Even if you only manage to do it twice a day, it will help keep up the milk supply.
- Bring a battery pack for the pump. Some pumps have a car lighter adapter that may come in handy.
- Carry the pump on the plane and tell security what it is. Airport security screeners generally will know what “breast pump” means, but you may have to educate them.
- Drink Mothers' Milk Tea and take Fenugreek while on the road to stimulate milk production. Some moms recommend brewer’s yeast or beer to help with milk supply.
- Bring a hand pump just in case the battery-operated one fails.
- If you are traveling overseas, be sure to pack the appropriate electrical adaptor for your pump.
Be sure to eat well and drink lots of water while on the road.
Tips for saving the milk, if you just can’t bear to “pump and dump”:
- Bring a soft-sided cooler with a freezer pack so the milk won’t spoil.
- Bring along milk storage bags. Small, snack-size zipper bags also work well as a single portion. Double bag the milk to prevent leakage.
- Request a fridge/freezer in your hotel room, if you are not staying at a private home.
- Keep the milk cool, but not frozen, if the trip is less than 3 days. Use it immediately upon return.
- Express mail the milk home (no pun intended). FedEx has freezer packs that will work for this purpose.
- TSA Regulations prohibiting carrying liquids of more than 3 oz in your carry-on luggage. You may carry larger quantities of breast milk if your child is with you. If you are traveling alone, you may only carry it in quantities of 3 oz. or less and inside a clear bag. Larger quantities will need to be packed it in your checked luggage. This is risky, since the temperature in the luggage compartment is not the same as inside the cabin and the milk could freeze or spoil.
- Breast milk will keep up to 8 days if kept cold. After 8 days, it must be frozen to stay fresh.
- Never refreeze milk that has been allowed to thaw.
The Blessed Nest has a cool new breastfeeding pillow made from organic materials that you should check out!
Got tips, blogs or resources on breastfeeding and traveling? Share them in the comments!
UPDATE 8/6/07: The TSA now allows moms to carry more than 3 oz of breast milk on board planes, even if the child is not present.