Traveling with a Baby: The Nursing Mom’s Holiday Travel Checklist

Whether you’re headed to grandma’s for the holidays or taking a much-needed family vacation, you may have some anxiety over traveling with a baby, especially while breastfeeding.  As you have discovered already, the key to any outing with a baby is preparation.  And an extended trip needs just a little more than your average stocked diaper bag. To ease your mind, we’ve put together a checklist of some essential travel items you’ll need for your upcoming holiday trip:

Nursing CamiComfort is the first step to stress-free travel.  Whether by land, road or sea, it’s important that mom and baby are both comfortable while traveling.  Be sure to wear something with easy access for breastfeeding, such as a button down blouse with a nursing tank top underneath.  Bring lots of nursing bras that are both comfortable and functional to wear throughout your trip.  We hope you won’t be doing laundry as often as you would at home, so bring extras in case of spit-up.  Also make sure baby is comfortable on travel days.  A simple bodysuit with extra blankets and sweaters will allow you to layer according to the temperature throughout your trip.

Cover up if that makes you feel better about breastfeeding in public.  If you prefer discretion while you breastfeed, bring a nursing cover or use your baby’s blanket to drape over your chest while nursing.  Try to find a quiet corner for feeding, either at an airport terminal or by staying in your car in a parking lot.

Bring your breast pump, just in case.  Your baby’s schedule may go astray while traveling, especially if there is a time change.  Your breasts, however, may not adjust immediately.  With your breast pump and any necessary attachments (shields, cleansers, cooler for transporting milk, bottles, etc…), you can pump if baby isn’t ready to eat when your milk is ready.  Also, expressing milk might give you time to sneak away with your partner while the grandparents have some bonding time with baby.

Traveling while breastfeedingBreast milk is an approved liquid for air travel.  We recommend bringing some expressed milk in case your baby is too distracted to nurse.  Although you can bring more than the usual 3 oz. of liquid, be prepared for your milk to be inspected.  Also, if you’re travel includes a flight, the sucking motion of nursing or taking a bottle during take-off and landing can help your baby’s ears adjust to changes in pressure.

Hydrate at every opportunity.  Breastfeeding is naturally dehydrating, yet you need plenty of water (and other sustenance) to produce milk.  Also, air travel and high altitudes may cause dehydration so drink extra water and snack often.

Act like you’re on vacation — because you are!  Babies are more adaptable than we think, and sometimes more adaptable than we are.  As long as your baby responds well, be flexible with her schedule.  Traveling with a baby is exciting yet tiring for everyone, so try to relax and let your baby tell you what she needs and when.  If you’re not accustomed to breastfeeding in public and you get intimidated, remember, you’re doing one of the most natural acts on the planet.  Also, don’t get caught up on simulating your at-home breastfeeding environment.  You can find a comfy chair almost anywhere in the world so take advantage of the change of scenery and let your baby explore something new.  But do bring a few familiar toys and blankets to give your baby a sense of security.  Between that, and being in your arms, she’s sure to enjoy the sights and sounds she experiences along your travels.

We wish you safe travels, happy breastfeeding and warm holiday wishes this season!