May 26th 2009

Milk Nursingwear

Airline travel tips for nursing moms:

It's just after memorial day and summer travel season is beginning. Many of us will be flying with our nurslings this summer. Breastfeeding is actually very convenient for travelling - no worries about lugging formula, heating up bottles, and running out of food when your flight is delayed.

Still, travelling with kids has the potential to be stressful, so here are some tips for travelling while nursing, to make things easier for you.

Do you have other tips or suggestions? If so, please post them below in the comments so that other moms can benefit from your experience!

Airline travel tips for nursing moms:

  1. Drink! Carry a water bottle with you and remember to drink throughout the day. Airline travel is dehydrating, and the summer heat is too. You lose a lot of fluids while breastfeeding so it's important for both your health and your milk supply to keep yourself well hydrated. Keep in mind that current TSA regulations do not permit you to carry your own water bottle past security, so keep money on hand to purchase water bottles in the gate area when travelling through the airport.
  2. Change before the flight: Change your baby's diaper shortly before boarding. This will ensure that she is as comfortable as possible before boarding the plane. It will make things easier for you since the changing spaces in the aircraft bathrooms is tight.
  3. Dress for it: On the plane you will likely end up nursing in very close quarters to strangers, and this may be new to you. Make it easier on yourself by wearing either a nursing shirt, nursing cami, or nursing dress for the flight, or carry a privacy cover or light blanket with you. This not only offers privacy for you but will help your baby relax by being more secluded in an unfamiliar environment.
  4. Nurse during take-off: If you are flying, the changes in air pressure during take-off and landing can be uncomfortable for your child. Nurse them during take-off and landing to help ease the pressure on their ears.
  5. Pack some extras: Be sure to pack an extra outfit (or two!) for baby and an extra top for you in your diaper bag or easily accessible tote. Your nursling may spit up and if you have a long flight ahead that can be uncomfortable. Remember to pack a plastic bag to put soiled items in.
  6. Know your rights regarding transporting breastmilk: Be aware that on July 20, 2007, TSA modified the procedures associated with carrying breast milk through security checkpoints. Whether flying with our without your child, you are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces on board, as long as you declare it for inspection at the security checkpoint.
  7. Consider a sling: It may be easier to carry your little one in a baby sling as opposed to pushing a stroller. This frees your hands up for managing carry-on luggage as well as dealing with other siblings. Once on board this will also help your baby stay close to you and relax, and it may be easier for him to sleep. Remember, however, that if your child is over two years old he is required to sit in his own seat and be buckled during flight.
  8. Control the germs: Remember that germs abound on airplanes. Wash your hands or use antibacterial wipes before nursing. Consider using them to wipe off the tray tables and armrests around you as well.

Nursing on an airplane presents some challenges, and has gotten some difficult press this past year. But in my own personal experience, nursing on airplanes has been a positive experience, and most passengers and personnel have been extremely supportive.

Enjoy your summer travels, and please share any additional travel tips you have by clicking on the comments link below.