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Breastfeeding and Pumping While Traveling

Being a mom is a full-time job. Breastfeeding and pumping to store breastmilk is a big part of that job.

If you’re planning a trip while you’re still nursing, you’re probably worried about breastfeeding and pumping while traveling. Difficult as it may seem, just remember this is not a permanent thing. You’ll get through it.

Here are some tips to help make breastfeeding and pumping while traveling easier:
  1. Read up and call ahead.

Travel can be unpredictable. You never know where you might end up, which is not ideal when you are breastfeeding and pumping while traveling. Unless we are talking about major events which you cannot prevent, such a trip needs to be carefully planned in as much detail as possible.

Read up on breastfeeding and pumping while traveling policies. There are special places for you to go and there are people assigned to help you. Whatever you find online, call to confirm the info is still valid and then print out a copy to keep on hand. The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) guideline is a good place to start and you should have a copy of it with you. You might still come across an agent who does not know on how to deal with women who are breastfeeding and pumping while traveling.


  • See whether the airport has a family room where you can pump;
  • Bring a shawl – it will be your cover in any other situation;
  • Call the airline and see what is their policy about breastfeeding and pumping and book a window seat as it will give you a bit more privacy;
  • Call the hotel and ask whether you have a mini fridge in the room;
  • Talk to the event/conference planner to find out more about the distance between the hotel and the place you will be during the day and whether it can accommodate your pumping/breastfeeding needs.
  • Read up on what kind of adapter you need for the different voltage in other countries.
  1. Dress for breastfeeding and pumping while traveling.

Even if you have this whole travel dress etiquette you wish to stand by even during these trying times, you can still adapt. Instead of clothes which need to be taken off, go for the easy access clothes like the nursing tank. People won’t even notice what it is and you can get things done much faster if you are ready to go.

  1. Check your breast pump and milk as a carry-on and tell the people at the checkout point.

Place these items in separate trays as they have special procedures for them. Pumped breast milk is medication and is not restricted by the 3 oz. limitation other liquids have. One good idea for going through security faster suggested by a pumping mommy is to empty the cooler when going through the checkpoint. They do not need to check the ice this way. Then you reload it at the stores or restaurants in the duty-free area or on the plane. People will understand what you need it for and are happy to help out a mom who is breastfeeding and pumping while traveling. Worst case scenario, you can find ice on board the plane. Just talk to the flight attendant.

  1. Try a hand pump.

If you cannot travel with your electrical breast pump, try a hand pump. It is smaller and you will not need an outlet for it. However, make sure you test it at home first. Do not rely on it to work just as well when you are already on the road, stressed and tired.

  1. Keep everything clean.

We know this is already a reflex of yours, but make sure you take everything with you when you travel. Do not wash the pump or anything that comes into contact with the milk with tap water. Instead, ask for  or carry bottled water and wipes for everything. Bring things to place your many parts and accessories on instead of leaving them on the counter and bring spares just in case. Breastfeeding and pumping while traveling is easier when you are organized.

Breastfeeding and pumping while traveling is well worth the effort as long as it allows you to continue nursing your infant for as long as you have decided you want to. So plan ahead and get ready for everything. If you really hate it and it stresses you out more than it should, just keep in mind that it is not forever and that your child is worth it.


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