Oh, the joys of traveling during the holidays… Add in breastfeeding or pumping, and you’ve thrown yourself for a tizzy. We're here to give you the low down on everything you need to know for the next few weeks if you are in this situation!
Breastfeeding in public is now 100% legal and protected by federal and state law in all 50 states. YES!!! So, feed on where ever you see fit! For those less interested or comfortable with this, most businesses or airports should have a place to discreetly pump or breastfeed. In 2018 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was reauthorized by the president, which also required that large and medium-sized airports provide clean, private, non-bathroom spaces, designated solely for the expression of breastmilk, in each terminal.
a company out of Burlington, Vermont was started by two women, Christine Dodson, and Sascha Mayer. These gals were fed up with the continued frustrations for breastfeeding parents facing the sometimes impossible task of juggling breastfeeding/pumping and pursuing their careers. Mamava was launched in 2013 and has 2000+ installed breastfeeding suites throughout the world. Most recently 5 major Amtrak stations will be housing these Breastfeeding Suites
“[the suite] provides privacy, cleanliness, and all you need to pump or nurse an infant — while simultaneously reminding passersby that breastfeeding should be supported and celebrated by all of us because of the good it does for babies, women, families, and society in general”.
Some of the best airports for breastfeeding moms are:
1. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
2. Miami International Airport (MIA)
3. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
4. Logan International Airport (BOS)
5. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
6. Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
7. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
8. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
9. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
10. Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Traveling with breastmilk has its own challenges, but TSA will not be an issue. Keeping breastmilk fresh in an insulated cooler with frozen icepacks is the best way to store it when moving place to place. You may find it easier to have the breastmilk in specially designed bags in quantities of 2-4 ounces, and frozen flat for space saving. Breastmilk that's stored in a cooler is good for 24 hours, but once at your destination freezing or refrigerating the milk can extend the timing. If previously frozen but now thawed, the breastmilk should be used within the 24 hours, and should not be refrozen. Always remember to date the bags to ensure correct timing of freshness.
TSA allows breastmilk to be transported in over 3 oz. quantities, but be sure to keep it separate from the other liquids and let the
know that you have it. Your pump is considered a personal item and is allowed to on your flight just like a laptop, but its best to check ahead on the airline's pumping while flying policy. Although most will accommodate and try to make you feel as comfortable as possible, policies vary between companies. Do not use an airplane’s water to clean your pump parts, as coliform bacteria may be in it; Asking for bottled water is a better option for those that may need to clean the equipment.
If you need to send your milk back home to your baby due to extended travel, you can ship frozen milk overnight in a cooler with FedEx, UPS, the US postal service (USPS), etc. If you're unable to freeze it, using dry ice may be a viable option to keep breastmilk cool while transportating, just ensure that you overnight ship.
is a breastmilk shipping company that helps parents “reduce the logistical hurdles that breastfeeding mothers face when traveling away from their babies." They provide the storage bags, the coolers to keep breastmilk refrigerated and fresh, and the shipping costs to get the milk back home safely. Some companies even partner with Milkstork as a benefit, helping employees stay focused and productive while traveling for work without the extra concern of how they will feed their baby!
“Having benefits that meet the specific needs of breastfeeding mothers demonstrates a company’s commitment to working women of all ages and helps reinforce a family-friendly culture."
Breastfeed during takeoff and landing. This will help decrease baby’s ear pain during to pressure changes.
Wear baby in a sling or carrier for easy access, and additional hands.
Pump before getting on the plane, and during layover.
Ask for a compact fridge in your hotel room before you get there, and turn the fridge to the coolest setting.
Bring extra parts for the pump, just in case.
Stick to a pumping schedule that will mimic your child’s regular schedule. Even if it's shorter than normal, a few minutes of pumping can help sustain your milk supply. Try adding an extra session later in the day to help maintain your supply as well.
Drink plenty of water and eat healthily while away. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, and use hand sanitizer in between.
Remember, while planning ahead can be daunting, traveling with breastmilk or while breastfeeding can be seamless with appropriate preparation!
Happy holidays, and safe travels to everyone!
-Megan & Lindsey