I’ve mentioned before that traveling with a breastfeeding baby is easiest, if only because you don’t have to figure out how to sterilize bottles in a hotel room. I also fully acknowledge that I waited to travel with my first child until we were done nursing, because of many personal concerns I had about travel and nursing, and breastfeeding while traveling. Because my mission here is to inspire, motivate, and help families travel with babies, toddlers, and young children, I was delighted when Bravado Designs got in touch so we could talk about breastfeeding and travel.
Sharing Concerns About Breastfeeding While Traveling…
TSA has modified the rules associated with carrying breast milk through security checkpoints. Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medication and mothers parents flying with, and without, their child are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint. Additionally, empty bottles and ice packs are permitted under these conditions.
When carrying formula, breast milk, or juice through the checkpoint, they will be inspected, however, you or your infant or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk, formula, or juice. Our Security Officers may test liquid exemptions (exempt items more than 3 ounces) these items for explosives. Officers may ask you to open the container during the screening process.
With regard to storage, for healthy, full-term infants, breast milk can remain at room temperature for 4-6 hours, in a cooler with 3 frozen ice packs for 24 hours, or in a fridge for 3-8 days.
Some personal concerns about travel and breastfeeding were that it would slow down car trips, and restrict activities normally enjoyed while traveling (thus, not being able to enjoy the traveling). The thing with car trips with infants is, that regardless of breast or bottle feeding, the pace will be slower. In fact, all travel with infants is slower – and it should be! Plan for frequent stops when determining your road trip route, and prepare for emergency stops anyway for ill-timed diaper blowouts. Whatever you do, please don’t try to nurse your baby while the car is moving.
There are few activities that you can’t do when you’re nursing – traveling or no. If your destination is hot, make sure you stay hydrated, and help baby to do so by offering extra feeds. Over-exertion may lead to supply issues, so don’t overschedule your days. Enjoy a leisurely pace with your baby in tow – after all, it is supposed to be a vacation, right?
I started traveling with our son when he was 10 weeks. We nursed on planes, trains, and in (stopped) automobiles. In restaurants, on park benches, and occasionally, in really nice nursing rooms. I was pretty surprised at myself, considering I had issues with my daughter, but nobody EVER gave me a weird look or said anything. I think it is important to note this, since we only ever hear about the bad stories in the media and online. Simply finding a place to sit means your baby can eat, although I do salute those mamas who can do it walking around with baby in a sling. I never used a cover, either. I always had a small blanket on hand, and would throw it over my shoulder mostly to cover my back. That’s why I highly recommend investing in a few nice nursing tops – keeping covered went a long way for helping me to feel both physically and emotionally comfortable. There are also VERY few destinations where public breastfeeding would be considered inappropriate. Most countries have laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding mothers, or else they don’t because laws are not necessary.
I fully understand the awkwardness of being a guest at someone’s home and nursing. We stayed for a week with my father-in-law when my son was 6-months-old. Luckily there was a comfortable armchair in the corner of the living room where we could sit and nurse, and when it was time to pump, I was happy to be relieved of baby-duty so I could take off to our room for a few minutes with my pump and a trashy magazine. Other than the requisite jokes about breast milk in coffee, my father-in-law was good-natured about storing the milk in his fridge. How could he not be? While it wasn’t really done in his day, nowadays it’s fairly common knowledge that breast milk is the best choice for babies, and of course he wanted the best for his grandson!
My thanks to Bravado Designs for sharing this data with me…