Travel With A Breastfeeding Baby

travelling with breastfeeding baby

Is Quebec City Breastfeeding-Friendly? Oui!

I nursed both my kids but I only traveled while breastfeeding with my son. As a first-time mom who really struggled with breastfeeding the first time around, I purposely waited until my daughter weaned herself off of me until we considered travel. This has more to do with my (then) body issues than any hang-ups with nursing in public, but I managed to figure out how to sterilize bottles in a hotel room and just got on with things. To go travelling with breastfeeding baby was not something I felt comfortable with the first time around.

My son’s first trip was at 10.5 weeks – a mini-break to Quebec City – and there was no poutine or tourtiere for him! He was fully breastfed and the only discomfort I experienced on that trip was some unseasonably chilly temperatures. Bub has been nursed in several airports, on a number of different aircraft, on beaches, by pools, and in a square outside a high school in Morón, Cuba. I’m pleased to report that I received nary a stink eye on any of those occasions, and I learned a few things that made us feel more comfortable…

  • Invest in a few nice nursing tops - Especially in those early days, I wasn’t exactly feeling my most glamorous. A few nice tops that fit well and concealed my post-partum figure made me feel a little bit more human and kept me covered while Bub nursed.
  • Hoodies and men’s undershirts are your friends – Nursing tops can be pricey, men’s undershirts are not. For my day-to-day wear, a few men’s undershirts in size XL gave me the length I needed to conceal what I wanted to keep covered, and a few favourite hoodies kept me able to just zip down to reveal what Bub needed.
  • Taking care of baby means taking care of mama - Breastfeeding and traveling is comparatively easy, but that doesn’t mean that nursing is not hard work. It is. To ensure your milk supply stays plentiful you have to eat properly, rest, and not overdo it. Enjoy a fun umbrella drink but maybe not ten, and don’t push yourself to do too much. You’ve just had a baby, that’s already a lot!
  • Don’t take the heat - If your destination is hot, you will need to drink more water. And baby will need to nurse more to stay hydrated, so you’ll need to drink even more water!
  • Technology is your friend - While there is no app that will actually nurse your baby for you, there is one that will help you find places that are breastfeeding-friendly. Technically that should be anywhere and at any time, but if  you feel awkward nursing in public or would like to find somewhere that will actually welcome you and your nursling, check out http://mobile.bravadodesigns.com/  to find a breastfeeding friendly location near you,  add your favorite breastfeeding friendly location, and  rate, comment, and share locations with other breastfeeding mamas.

Travel with a breastfed baby, especially an exclusively breastfed baby, is probably the least amount of effort you could make in ensuring your baby is well-fed while you’re traveling. No bottles or feeding gear to pack or wash means less work for everyone, but you will still need to be present. If you’re hoping for or expecting  to have some nights off, you’ll have to bring your pump and some bottles. Travel with a breast pump is still totally doable (no thanks to the TSA), but obviously not as convenient.

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13 Responses to Travel With A Breastfeeding Baby

  1. walkingon travels at 17:48 #

    Such a great post and so timely for me. With my son I had issues breastfeeding too so after 4 months we were hauling bottles everywhere. In those first months I did figure out some tricks (nursing tank under any non-nursing top covers up those squishy areas that are leftover) but I didn’t invest in some pretty clothes I could be proud of that flattered my new figured and let me be more comfortable in my own body. I love the men’s undershirt and hoodie suggestion. I’ll be using that one for sure. Thanks again for helping those of us traveling with wee ones do it just a little bit easier!

  2. Corinne at 01:35 #

    Such a lovely comment! We mamas need to support each other – and that means understanding those issues we’d rather not talk about!

  3. Faith Pepper at 09:02 #

    I think things are very much changed nowadays and everyone is so much more tolerant of breastfeeding mothers. However, 20 years ago when my children were babies mothers who attempted to breastfeed while they were traveling in other than a darkroom were treated with the very same contempt as criminals, so it is so nice to see articles such as this one.

    Thank you for an enjoyable article.

    Kind regards

    Faith Pepper

  4. Aw – thanks, Faith. Sadly, some mothers still face judgement for nursing in public. That’s one of the reasons I like to share my positive stories since it seems the negative ones get so much more attention.

  5. Laura Magu at 12:37 #

    I traveled from SF to Paris with my daughter when she was 7 weeks old. The good nursing tops were a MUST especially on the plane. I also found that in France they were much more open to breastfeeding in public as well as at family events. It was just a part of life no big deal.

  6. Heidi at 12:56 #

    Along with the convenience of not having to haul bottles and the works around, breastfeeding my daughter keeps her calm during take-off and landing. Helps with the pressure on the ears (and the general scariness!). That’s a great link from Bravado, thanks!

  7. Heidi at 12:56 #

    Along with the convenience of not having to haul bottles and the works around, breastfeeding my daughter keeps her calm during take-off and landing. Helps with the pressure on the ears (and the general scariness!). That’s a great link from Bravado, thanks!

  8. Jules Rothacher at 13:22 #

    When I’m shopping in the mall I LOVE stopping in Motherhood Maternity. They encourage breastfeeding and allow you to nurse in their dressing rooms with no guilt trip about not purchasing something!

  9. Lisa Wood at 00:22 #

    I have breastfeed all five of our babies. Much to my mother in law horror I have breastfeed in a shopping centre, a church (he was getting christened and he was hungry!), the movies, trains, having lunch in cafes! It never ever bothered me…and baby was happy :)
    Now they are all grown up and healthy so for me that is all that is important!

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