Post Written by Popular Demand
As a recent alum of the exclusively pumping mama club, I never imagined I would be that mom to pump any and everywhere but the way NICU life set us up- I had no choice (at least in my mind), as the pump had become my 2nd husband 🤣🤣. I pumped in the car, driving down the highway, in the airport, in a make-shift lounge, the designated lactation rooms, the restroom, at work, family and friends homes, right before a concert (no seriously). Antoine and I had date night to a concert while Nia was in the NICU and we had to time my pumping sessions perfectly in order to enjoy our night out. So pumping session had to happen right before going into the concert! 🤷🏽♀️
Traveling by Airplane
When traveling by plane, pumping can be a little interesting. I know some moms have no shame in pumping in the middle of an airport floor/our in the open- hey the milk has to be released but if you want a little more privacy see my tips below.
1. I tried to pump before going to the airport and if I had at least a two hour layover, I did pump while in airport… Now this can be tricky.
2. Prior to traveling, I checked out the airport(s) via the internet for designated mother/lactation rooms. Not all airports do at the moment. However, a recent federal law was passed last year mandating all airports to have at least one designated lactation room and it can’t be a restroom. However, as of Spring 2019 I found myself in airports that still did not have designated lactation rooms.
The below website is awesome for designated lactation/nursing room locations in U.S. Airports
Must Haves for Pumping While Traveling (air and land):
1. A portable pump- I own two Beleef Pumps (one for home one for work, purchased on Amazon for under a $100 bucks and can really empty your breasts
2. Storage Bottles or Bags- Used to Store Milk … If you have 3 oz bottles for flying, TSA won’t have to test your milk as it falls under the 3-1-1 rule (Note: if you must have your milk tested by TSA Officer ask them to change their gloves prior to handling your milk)
3. Sanitizing Wipes (Wet Ones)- To wipe down area where you will be pumping
4. Water Wipes- To clean your pumping parts after pumping
5. Cooler bag or pack to store milk and pumping parts
6. Ice Packs- preferably refreezable hard plastic packs as they can last about 14 hours
1. Breast Milk can be refrigerated up to 4 days without freezing
2. I tried to keep my roundtrip via air no longer than 4 days to prevent running the risk of needing to freeze my milk only to have it unthaw before i got home, which can lead to wasted liquid gold- milk.
3. I tried hard to ensure my trip travel times are no more than 10 hours by plane, but sometimes delays happen, and then the spirit of desperation and mama bear will come into play to save the milk- after so much boob exercise/work and sleep deprivation (See #5). If you are traveling with your baby of course you can give him/her the milk. I was unable able to do so due to Nia’s un-repaired heart (at the time). So I did my best to protect my milk.
4. Check to make sure any hotel you are staying has a fridge.
5. If you are in situation where there is an extended layover or unexpected flight delay, I recommend asking a restaurant in the airport for additional ice. People are usually generous when you mention what it’s for. Don’t be ashamed- preserve liquid gold at all costs!
This way of pumping while traveling worked for me. I am sure there may be better ways, but after 19 months and 5 days, May 2,2019 (officially an EP alum now), including surviving a 118 day NICU stay, three unexpected hospital stays, open heart surgery with Nia AND being a professional – working mom, senior manager, I definitely found some great ways to travel and work yet maintain my milk supply. I did whatever I could to preserve my precious liquid gold I worked so hard to make.
I am thankful that my breasts and breast pump finally were able to divorce on good and mutual terms! 😜
Please feel free to share my tips with other hardworking pumping/nursing mamas who travel.
Thanks to @exclusively_pumping for highlighting my exclusively pumping journey!
Pics from my pumping while traveling life including Nia’s not so close to home medical appts…