How to Travel with a Breastfeeding Baby

travelling with breastfeeding baby, how to travel with a 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. I managed to figure out how to sterilize bottles in a hotel room and just got on with things. Figuring out how to travel with a 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. 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 was 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 both of us feel more comfortable…

How to travel with a breastfeeding baby…

  • 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 they 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. A few favourite hoodies over top 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 are apps that can help you find breastfeeding-friendly places. Technically that is anywhere. But for your comfort such an app exists.

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 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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10 Responses to How to Travel with a Breastfeeding Baby

  1. 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 #

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

  3. 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. 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 #

    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. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. Carolyn at #

    Steer clear of cider and wine vinegars.


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    […] Travel with a Breastfeeding Baby by Corinne McDermott, Have Baby Will Travel Corinne gives some handy tips for traveling with a nursing baby in this post. […]

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