I am sitting in the airport, preparing for my first overnight business trip without The Boy. I am cozied up in a corner next to an outlet, at 5:15 am — with my hand under my sweater and a coat draped over me. You know, just like your normal frequent flier.
Obvs*, I’m pumping milk for The Boy. At 9 months, They say, we could wean or just give fewer bottles and make them formula. However, the pediatrician recommends nursing till 12 months and I do love the bonding experience. And — let’s be honest — the calorie burn.
So here I sit in my cute** hat, red open toe shoes, long dark jeans, heather-gray sweater, with my put-together carryon, feeling somewhat like a girl pretending to be on an important business trip…pumping breast milk at the airline gate.
If you’re facing the same prospect, here’s my approach to pumping while traveling. There are others and probably better ones — would love to hear your tips!
- Hydrate As you know, staying hydrated is important during travel and helps your milk supply. I’ve been drinking a lot of water over the last few days and am planning to stay hydrated as the trip continues.
More tips after the jump!
- Eat. Along the same lines, you’ll need to plan carefully to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need to weather the travel and to keep producing the good stuff. Take your vitamins, and think ahead about what opportunities you’ll have to get fruits, veggies, good fats and lean proteins. It’s not easy — my trip started at 3 am. I should’ve had a bowl of oatmeal or an egg white wrap ready to go but instead I went to McDonalds, found out they don’t serve Egg McMuffins until 4 am, and got a cheeseburger. You can do better!
- Be Bold. Sometimes when we travel, we look to follow the lead of others around us. But most likely no one around you will be expressing milk! I use an electric pump, and found my outlet-adjacent spot, covered up, and pumped along. Don’t be inappropriate of course, but use the opportunities when they come. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up in an airport with facilities for nursing moms — but if you don’t, just remember that your fellow travelers are probably more interested in their airport reading than trying to figure out what you’re doing.
- Find Cold. I have the <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HWXCJS/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004HWXCJS&linkCode=as2&tag=refaofny-20″>Medela Pump in Style </a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=refaofny-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B004HWXCJS” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />, which comes with a really great four-bottle cooler and contoured ice pack. I’m counting on that to get me through about 7 hours (in my experience it does) and then keep it cool in an oft-refreshed hotel ice bucket if there isn’t a fridge available.
- Bring Inspiration. Sometimes stress can impact your supply. Bringing something that smells like Baby, or even looking at cell phone videos or photos can help things flow again. Just don’t jog your memory into homesickness mode!
I initially posted this mid-travel, but am editing post-trip and can tell you that everything went well! Despite two days away that involved walking or El-ing all over Chicago, I returned home with four bottles full of milk for my very sweet boy.
Let me hear from you! What are your tips for traveling as a nursing momma when you can’t bring your little one?