I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: breastfeeding is hard. It’s hard enough when you are in the comfort of your own home. Throw in an airport bathroom, park bench, or backseat of your car, and it’s even harder. When I went back to work once Joey was born, I of course pumped when we weren’t around one another. That meant when he was at childcare or when I was out of town on business. I pretty much became a pro of travel with while pumping, and since having Anthony I’ve gotten to put that knowledge into practice again, even though I’m not doing nearly traveling as much.
When it comes to pumping while traveling, there are a few products I could not [and really cannot] live without. I’m only talking products [note links for the brands I use], but if you have questions or concerns about storing and transporting breast milk safely, I recommend referring to this resource from the La Leche League. My list goes beyond the basics: your pump, accessories [shields, tubing, etc.], extra batteries, and ice packs. I’d also love to hear what you couldn’t leave the house without when pumping while traveling. I’ll happily add to this list!
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- Large Carry-On Bag [Open]: I know, an open bag seems weird because GASP people might see your pump! A large carry-on bag is key IMO, because you can fit an insulated bag for milk storage + your pump + purse AND maybe your computer if you get a big enough bag. Also, you’ll be asked to pull most of it out at security checkpoints so the no-zipper thing is helpful.
- Large Nalgene: So here’s the deal. When I pump, I take that milk and refrigerate it. Once I’m ready to travel back home, instead of keeping the milk in individual bottles or bags, I transfer all the milk to a large Nalgene. The KEY is to make sure all of the milk you are combining is the same temperature. Then when I get home or to my final destination, I pour it back out into bottles or bags to freeze. Make sense? The one or two Nalgene makes traveling with a lot of breast milk that much easier.
- Medela Quick Clean Accessory Wipes: These are great if you have to pump in an area where there is no sink for rinsing and washing bottles and pumping accessories.
- Breast Pump Battery: I purchased the adapter battery for the Medela pump I have and am sure to always travel with a few extra batteries. I’ve never had to use them, but I know the day I forget to pack a few I’ll need them!
- Large Resealable Plastic Bags: Sometimes I have to pump and move on to another meeting or destination without immediately sanitizing the used bottles. In this case, I toss the used pump accessories into a plastic bag until I had the time to clean them.
- Pump and Accessories: All. That. Jazz. You know, the stuff that’s a pain to clean… but you definitely can’t leave the house without it!
- Disposable Diaper Changing Pads: A former coworker of mine shared this one with me. We are quick to clean the bottles and pump accessories, but the pump itself is often rested on a countertop or floor— which might not always be the cleanest! Before you set the pump down, rest one of these covers over the countertop. You could also pack Lysol Wipes just in case you want to wipe down those countertops.
- 3-ounce container filled with antibacterial soap: The only liquid that doesn’t have to follow the 3-ounce rule when flying is breast milk. So if you want to wash your accessories, your soap needs to be in the 3-ounce amount!
I’m sure there is a lot more we could add to this list, but these items are my always in my suitcase or carry on when I hit the road without baby. Funny. I used to pack magazines and books in my carry on. Now I’m packing a breast pump and diaper changing pads. Oh how the times have changed….