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In the past month or so, I have been on 8 different airplanes for a couple of business trips. This meant I was traveling without my family, including babies, and would need to pump breast milk while away. I searched and read all over the internet, and still felt so overwhelmed and nervous before traveling. When would I pump? Would I have a place to pump? Would I have enough time between flights to pump? Would I have a hard time getting through security with my prized “mommy milk”? So many questions, and so many unknowns for this first time traveling pumping momma. But I found that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d made it to be in my head, and with a little pre-planning and the right supplies, it was fairly stress free. The following is a list of my must haves for the traveling pumping mom.
One of the main things that helped me make it through flying and pumping with minimal to zero tears (I say minimal since of course there were tears being away from my babies overnight) was the right supplies! Without them, it would have been a lot harder than it had to be. In addition to my breast pump, these are my go-to traveling pumping mom’s must haves.
Under Plane Seat Rolling Bag │ This was a HUGE help! This rolling bag fit my cooler pack, breast pump, and pump supplies PLUS fit under the seat in front of me! This was huge for two reasons. 1) No need for multiple, cumbersome bags. 2) My milk was in my sight at ALL times.
Baby Onesies │ A couple of onesies or stuffed animals from my babies’ closet and photos of them were huge not only for promoting milk production, but for my emotions as well. It was comforting to be able to smell them while away,
Breast Milk Bags │ So now is NOT the time to skimp on cheap milk bags. Good quality milk bags are ESSENTIAL in traveling with breast milk. These are my favorite.
Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags │ You’ll need something else to pump your milk bags in before storing them in the cooler bag to bring them home. Gallon freezer bags are the perfect size, sturdiness, plus great for when you pop everything into the freezer when you get home. I prefer freezer bags since they are not only sturdier, but have a stronger seal, in case of leaks while traveling.
Cooler Pack │ A cooler pack to freeze for transporting milk was a must. Some recommend freezing the milk for transport and allowing the milk to keep itself cold, but I had long travel days and was afraid of the milk thawing. This cooler pack was great, kept frozen all day, and fit in my bag perfectly.
Cooler Bag │ I have tried 3 or 4 different bags for my milk when I was working an 8 to 5, this bag is hands down my favorite, especially when traveling with several days worth of milk. It fits my cooler pack, 2 gallon bags of individual bags of milk, AND fits in the rolling bag.
Pump Wipes │ For cleaning on the go, these Medela wipes are excellent! For sterilizing between pumps on fly days, these were huge lifesavers. These were also great for sterilizing after washing with soap as well. I would wash, wipe with the sterilizing wipes, then air dry.
Bottle Soap │ Even though you’re traveling, you can wash your parts in the bathroom sink. I brought along a small container of my favorite bottle soap for a good hand scrub scrub of my pump parts. You could also try Medela’s no scrub soap for on the go.
Power Bank │ A power bank is a HUGE lifesaver! You may find yourself in tiny airports with no private places to pump other than a bathroom (I know, GROSS! But we have to do our best) or a quiet corner, and you’ll need a place to plug in. Then, whomp whomp whomp, no outlet. This will be your saving grace!
I know with this list can seem long and overwhelming, but once you have all of these items working together, you’ll find that traveling and pumping isn’t quiet as bad as it seems. I hope this list will help you prepare. I’ll be sharing my tips for traveling and pumping tomorrow. See ya then!