Breastfeeding Tips While on the Go
By Merril Bainbridge Founder of Peachymama
Breast milk is the best and the safest food a mother could ever give her child. It contains all the nutrients infants need for their growth and development without the risk of contamination, when done directly. Breast milk has antibodies which cannot be found in infant formulas. Antibodies help protect infants from illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia, the two major causes of child mortality all over the world.
The benefits of breastfeeding are not limited to infants alone, but extend to their mothers as well. Exclusive breastfeeding is a natural method of birth control when done during the first six months of life. It also reduces the risk of certain illnesses such as ovarian cancer, diabetes, and postpartum depression.
Most mothers would agree that breastfeeding is one of the most challenging yet rewarding phases of motherhood. It comes with challenges and it takes a strong mother and an even stronger support system to pull it off successfully.
Breastfeeding and Traveling
Breastfeeding makes it easier for the mother and child to travel, as compared to bottle-feeding a baby. You don’t have to worry about milk, bottles, and clean water. You just need to find a place where your baby can feed comfortably.
Breastfeeding tips for mothers and infants on the go
- Dress comfortably and in layers
When traveling, it is always best to dress for comfort. Wear something you can nurse in comfortably. Use a breastfeeding tank top or shirt and add layers as needed so as not to compromise your comfort when you need to feed your little one. Do the same for your baby; dress him in layers so that you have the flexibility to manage temperature changes. An overheated baby is a crying baby and a cold baby isn’t a happy one, either.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Hydration is important to keep your breast milk supply up. Drink plenty of water the day before you travel and continue drinking as you feel the need to on the day of your trip. Traveling when it’s hot will trigger your baby to nurse more often to quench his thirst. So, it is essential to have an abundant milk supply.
- Know your rights
If you are comfortable feeding your baby anytime and anywhere, keep doing so. It is your right and there is no need for you to pump and bottle-feed. You should not feel compelled to apologize or feel embarrassed. Breastfeeding laws protect your right to nurse your baby in public.
If you are traveling by plane, it would also be helpful if you check your airline’s breastfeeding policy and their breastfeeding lounge in advance. You would not want to feed your baby in a bathroom stall if you want privacy.
- Breastfeed on demand
Keep breastfeeding your child on cue. There is no reason to adjust your nursing schedule just because you are on the road. If you are on a road trip, make stops along the way to nurse your baby. If you will travel by plane, breastfeeding your baby during takeoff and landing will ease the ear pressure.
Breast milk and traveling alone
Sometimes, a breastfeeding mother has to travel alone and leave her baby behind. Before traveling, it is best to express or pump milk and store it for your baby to feed on while you are away. During the course of your trip, you should also express milk and store it to maintain your milk supply even if your baby doesn’t feed from you.
Breastfeeding tips for mothers who travel without their nursing baby
- Prepare the essentials
Pack your breast pump, spare parts, adapter, batteries, storage bags, cold packs, and breastfeeding garments. It is still important that you bring nursing tops to make it easier for you to express milk wherever you may be. Most importantly, pack your breast pump in your carry-on luggage.
- Do your research
Since you will be expressing milk and storing it, you should know the basics of milk storage. The LLLI milk storage guidelines provide essential information on storing breast milk. Storing your expressed milk properly maximizes its nutritional and anti-infective qualities.
While there are no special precautions necessary for airport security screenings for breastfeeding mothers who are traveling alone, it won’t hurt to still take the time and check with your airline. Ask about their policies regarding traveling with expressed breast milk.
- Recognize the value of regular expression
Regular hand or pump expression of breast milk is important to maintain your supply and to avoid engorgement and possible clogged ducts. Even if there is no reliable milk storage available, you should still pump and discard the expressed milk.
- Be patient
A breastfeeding mother who travels alone may face more challenges as compared to a breastfeeding mother who travels with her baby. Deal with these challenges with patience and humor and consider them as memorable adventures.
At 16, Merril Bainbridge began her career in the Australian fashion industry. In her early 20s she left to launch a successful Pop Music career which saw her at the top of the US Music Charts. Retiring to start a family, she found a new purpose helping breastfeeding women with her fashion label, Peachymama.