I have shared in previous posts that I chose to exclusively breastfeed both of our boys. You can read more on that here: Breastfeeding & Pumping With Baby 2. I have also shared some tips on pumping when traveling away from your baby (Pumping & Traveling) that helped make things easier for me and my husband. We personally only use bottles when I am away because that is what works best for our family. Even though I have said it multiple times, every person and family has to do what works best for them and their situation.
I recently had another girls weekend and flew for the first time while breastfeeding/pumping. I thought I would share what worked best for me and some insight. I will admit I was nervous about bringing milk back and the overall logistics, however it was so easy! The only downside in my opinion is just the space it takes up.
I would love to know any of your tips!
1. Keep Items With You
I personally only used a carry on and personal item for this trip so I had everything I needed on hand. However, I do suggest having your pump and parts/materials needed for a session with you in case you need to pump at the airport or something happens to your checked bag. I did put extra parts, bags, etc in my suitcase to save space in my backpack, however had everything I needed on hand.
I kept my pump, gallon zip lock bag of parts for a session, and lunch box with 2 ice packs in my back pack which fit perfectly! You can find the lunch box I used here.
2. Plan Ahead
If you nurse or pump, you know there are always a lot of logistics when leaving your baby. I try to minimize what I am taking because it already takes up so much space. If I am able to, I ask to use the dishwasher for my parts prior to the trip to make cleaning easier. If that is not an option, you can bring sterilizing bags and a small soap to clean yourself! I also bring bags to immediately freeze my milk so I am not returning with a ton of bottles. All of this is personal preference, however thinking ahead will be beneficial and help with the logistical side.
3. Freeze Milk
If you are able to, freeze your milk so you can easily pack it in your lunchbox on the flight home. I put an ice pack at the bottom of my lunchbox, stacked my frozen bags, and put another ice box on top (I use thin ones). I also sandwiched my fresh milk from that morning in between the frozen to keep as cold as possible.
Before my bag went through security, I let them know I had breast milk. They had me open my lunch box and felt the top bag to see it was frozen. If they are all fresh, they may put a test strip in them (milk is exception to liquid guidelines). Once they looked in my lunch box, I put it back in my backpack to go through the scanner. It was as easy as that!
I kept my lunchbox in my backpack the entire time and had zero issues with leaking, thawing, etc. It honestly was such an easy process, and I am so thankful airlines are very accommodating to Mommas!
As always, sending light and love.