Being away from Avery for three days means that my breast pump is with me everywhere that I go on my trip. I was so worried I wasn’t going to have enough milk for her, but after some major pumping sessions, I believe that she will have more than enough. I don’t want my milk supply to diminish while I am away because I want to be able to pick up where I left off when I return from my trip.
I know how difficult pumping can be when you aren’t with your little one. I did it when I went back to work with my first and felt like I was always pumping to keep up my milk supply. Then I had to worry about where to keep my milk, cleaning my pump parts, and getting it home. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it was what I had to do in order to give my daughter the nutrition that she needed.
This is the first time that I am having to travel by myself with my breastpump. I’ve always had one of the girls with me when I am traveling with breast milk and my pump. It hasn’t been easy having to exclusively pump and store the milk to take home, but it has been manageable.
If you are traveling and having to pump on the go, check out these tips on how to make the process easier.
Don’t Forget the Little Things 1 of 6It's always important to pack the items that you might not necessarily have in your breast pump bag all of the time. I suggest getting a bottle brush and a travel size dish soap so that you can properly wash all of your parts while you are on the go. Pack the charger for the breast pump in case the one that you have runs out of battery (if you own a battery operated breast pump). Pack extra breast shields and bottles just in case you happen to lose one or one breaks in your bag while traveling. It's also a great idea to carry a lot of breast milk bags to store the breast milk when you are finished. For storage, I would recommend bringing ice packs and a small cooler to keep the milk in so that it is stored at the correct temperature.
Plan Ahead as Much as You Can 2 of 6If you are traveling at an airport, check the website to see if it offers lactation rooms. If they don't try going in the family restroom so that you have more privacy. It's also a great idea to call the hotel you are staying at to see if they can provide you with a small refrigerator to store your breast milk. I stayed at a hotel that would charge me if I removed anything from the mini refrigerator so I called down to the front desk and they happily acommodated. They even waived the fee that they usually charge for having an extra refrigerator in the room. Be open and honest with people about your needs and usually people are willing to help you.
Check and Double Check 3 of 6The past two trips that I have been on I have almost forgotten at least one thing in regards to pumping. The first time I left my apartment without my breast shields, the second time I left without my entire pump bag. Thankfully both times I only got far enough where it was easy for me to get back. This time when I left I checked and double checked my bag to make sure I didn't forget anything. I find it helpful to have a list so that you can check things off when you are packing everything. It is my biggest fear that I will leave for a trip and forget something vitally important to my pumping gear.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask 4 of 6The number one thing that I have learned when it comes to breastfeeding is to never be afraid to ask. You should never be ashamed of having to pump or even to have to pump in public places. Always ask to see if they can help accommodate your needs. If you are at a conference, see if they can find a room for you to pump. If you need a place to store your breast milk when you are finished, ask for a refrigerator. It doesn't hurt to ask, and people are almost always willing to help. And if they aren't, ask for someone else to help you.
Invest in a Lightweight Breast Pump 5 of 6I've had two breast pumps since becoming a mom and both have been battery operated and easy to travel with. When I was in the market for buying a breast pump, I knew that I would be traveling with them so I knew that it was worth it to spend the extra money on the pump that would travel the best and wouldn't have be attached to an electrical outlet. If you know that you are going to be on the go a lot while pumping, take the time and money and invest in a lightweight pump. You won't regret it.
Image via Flickr User Planet_Oleary
Know Your Rights 6 of 6The first time that I had to travel with breast milk I was with my oldest daughter Harlan. I had no idea if TSA was going to let me through security with it because it was a liquid, but after letting them know ahead of time and them checking the milk, we went through without a problem I was terrified before this trip that I wasn't going to be able to return with all of my expressed milk. After checking TSA's website, I was glad to know that I wouldn't have a problem. If you are traveling in an airport know that you are allowed to bring back your expressed breast milk even if you are not traveling without your child. In regards to pumping in public, that is up to the individual state, so make sure that you do your research ahead of time if you know you are going to have to pump in a public area.
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Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year.
Image via Flickr User Planet_Oleary