Planning a trip with a breastfeeding baby might be easier than you
think. If you’re dreaming of international travel with your young one,
here’s what you’ll need to know before you go.
Many new moms are committed to breastfeeding their babies, if
they’re able. Nursing a child can give them a great start in life,
offering both health benefits and bonding opportunities. For the
traveling mother who chooses to breastfeed on the road, it may
initially seem like a challenge—how does one nurse on a plane, on
public transportation, or in unfamiliar surroundings? And with the
unpredictability of travel, it can seem like a challenge to stay
hydrated and well-fed enough to keep a steady supply of breast milk.
Even more, while traveling abroad, which different laws govern
breastfeeding in public? Luckily, the answers to these challenges are
less complicated than you might think.
Handle the Practicalities
Many moms are most concerned with how to survive a travel day with a
nursing baby. From leaving your home to arriving at your hotel, you
may be looking at just one feeding, or a dozen if you’re heading to
the other side of the world. Even if you’re comfortable breastfeeding
anytime, anywhere, create a compact system to store and carry milk for
exceptionally long travel days. This is essential to success while
traveling—you just can’t guarantee finding a time and place to
breastfeed exactly when you need it, so pump a small supply in the
days before you leave. And know your rights: TSA regulations allow up moms to bring a
“reasonable” supply of breast milk through airport security, even if
it surpasses 3.4 ounces.
The easiest travel-friendly containers are pre-sterilized, sealable
bags. Although many eco-conscious moms might prefer the glass
containers on a regular day, sterilized bags are far more convenient
and practical. Then, use a compact insulated lunch box with ice packs
to serve as a mini cooler.
Understand the international factor
Each mother approaches nursing in her own way, and may have unique
challenges. For moms who choose to nurse their babies without pumping
and bottles, international travel presents a few additional
considerations. Nursing moms in the U.S. and most European
countries have public breastfeeding rights. What may surprise many
travelers is that many other countries actually also strongly support
breastfeeding rights, too. You should research each country
specifically, especially if you’re visiting a conservative culture.
This research will alert you to if you must find the specially
designated nursing rooms (like in the U.A.E), or if you can freely
breastfeed as needed (like in Australia).
Don’t rely on internet anecdotes when conducting your research on
public breastfeeding laws at your destination. Instead, look for
specific laws from your destination’s government. And remember, legal
doesn’t always mean culturally acceptable. The CDC site recommends a number of
international support groups for traveling moms, which are a great
resource on a range of health and legal information for most
destinations in the word. Also use the CDC site for recommendations on
the safety of common travel vaccinations and medications for traveling moms.
Stay happy and healthy
Even if you usually have few issues with milk supply, consider three
main factors that can influence milk production: hydration, food, and
sleep. Each of these factors can fluctuate in the chaos of a travel
day, and simply maintaining an awareness of your food and water
intake, as well as your daily rest, will go a long ways toward
ensuring your baby is happily fed each day.
Pack the essentials
The right gear will smooth the entire experience. Pick a wheeled
suitcase that easily glides through the airport—four-wheeled
suitcases tend to work best for traveling parents. Then pack a comfortable day
bagthat can fit everything you need for a day of sightseeing with
your little one. Here are a few essential items you should have with
you each day on the road:
- Spare changes of clothes for you and your baby.
comfortable, lightweight cover up to drape over yourself (scarves
work well and serve multiple purposes for travelers)
liter of water to stay hydrated, and healthy snacks like nuts and
- Ice-packs, a small cooler, and extra milk if
you’re unsure that you will easily find a place to breastfeed while
- A charged breast pump so you can maintain your
- Sterilized pumping bags and nipple
Your turn moms: What are your best nursing tips for traveling parents?
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