Are you a breastfeeding mom who plans to travel this winter season? If so, you are not alone. Countless mothers travel with their breastfeeding children during the winter, whether they are going to go skiing in Boulder, Colorado or snowboarding in Mount Hood, Oregon. Or enjoy someplace a little warmer, like Florida, to get a break from the chilly weather.
If you plan to travel during the winter, you should consider the following tips for breastfeeding while traveling that will help to make the process easier and more comfortable for you and your child.
Breastfeeding During Your Winter Vacation? What You Need to Consider
In order to better understand the following tips, it’s important to know what you can expect when traveling during the winter while breastfeeding.
The first thing to take note of is the weather and temperature. Depending on your flight or other travel plans, you may be traveling through areas that are cold or experiencing winter snow storms. Even if your destination is somewhere warm, you’re connecting flights may be in a colder climate. Make sure you research the weather beforehand to get a better picture of what you should expect.
Another thing to consider is your child travel experience. Have you traveled with them before? If not, you’ll want to take extra precautions just in case something unexpected happens. For instance, if they have never been on a plane before, you may have no idea how they will react. It’s important to prepare yourself with the necessary patience and calm necessary to handle these potentially unexpected issues.
Tips for Traveling in the Winter While Breastfeeding
The following tips will help make your travel experience much more comfortable and hassle freight.
Tip: Prepare a packing checklist
This may seem like an obvious travel tip, but it is an essential when you are traveling with a breastfeeding infant. Always create a packing checklist that will keep everything organized before you head out for your winter travel vacation. The checklist should have everything you need, including breast pump supplies, clothes, and anything else that makes your breastfeeding experience comfortable and safe.
Note--try to look for wearable pumps, as they’re a lot less hassle than bulkier pumps when you need to pump in an airport or on a plane.
Tip: Research the liquid rules for flight, train, or other transportation
It is essential to research the rules related to liquids for your flight, train, bus or whatever form of travel you are taking. Airlines will have a liquid maximum amount regulation in place which stipulates how much liquid can be brought on a flight as a carry-on item. However, there may be exceptions for breast milk in certain circumstances. You should always research the airline and airport regulations before you travel so that you are prepared to follow them.
Tip: Consider shipping your breast milk for long stays
If you’re going to stay somewhere for a long time and you plan on bringing a significant amount of breast milk, you should consider shipping your breast milk to the destination. Perishable liquids like breast milk can be shipped with special containers that will keep them cold during the shipping period. However, note this can be somewhat expensive, especially if you plan on shipping a heavy package. You will need to take the cost into account for your travel plans.
Tip: Bring a warm shawl or blanket
It can be chilly on airplanes or even in airports during the winter. You can help offset the cooler weather by bringing a warm shawl or blanket that will keep you and your baby warm while you breastfeed. You may want to consider wearing double layers, especially if you plan to be outside or in an area that may not be completely temperature regulated.
Tip: Be prepared and know the rules
Unfortunately, discrimination against breastfeeding mothers isn’t uncommon and yes, it can also happen during the winter travel season. Always read and print out or screenshot the airport rules regarding breast milk and breastfeeding before you go. That way, if you do get confronted by an employee, you will have the necessary information to stand up for your rights.
Tip: Stay warm with a massager
One of the best ways to stay warm while breastfeeding during the winter is to use a warming massager. It will not only help keep you warm, but it can relieve your ducts and mastitis. You can also look for heated breast pads that can help keep your breast comfortable and warm when traveling during the winter.
Tip: Store your milk in a cooler
Don’t forget a travel cooler! It is an essential item that will keep your breast milk safe, organized and cool. Remember that this will have to be a carry-on item, so make sure to read up on the airline’s carry-on regulations and fees. Don’t forget to measure the bag and compare it to the airline carry-on bag requirements as well. If you do need to pay an extra fee, remember: it’s completely worth it. You don’t want to be without breast milk when you’re on a plane, especially if your baby gets fussy.
Tip: Have your baby nurse when taking off and landing in an airplane
Babies can feel discomfort during takeoff and landing, just like older children and adults can. You can help reduce this uncomfortable pressure by having your baby nurse during takeoff and landing. They don’t need to be fully nursing in order to get this effect. Simply suckling a little bit on your nipple or on a bottle is enough to help reduce painful flight pressure in their ears.
Tip: Check for breastfeeding-friendly areas when traveling
Many airports and other travel hotspots will have lounges, rooms or even breastfeeding pods to allow breastfeeding mothers to get some privacy if they wish during travel. You can check for these special areas online or call the destination directly to confirm.
Breastfeeding while traveling in the winter can be a challenge, but with the above tips in mind, your experience will be a lot more comfortable.