Traveling Without Baby – Maintaining Your Supply When You’re Away
Bring a single hand-held pump (I have the Medela Harmony) that you can throw in your purse so you’re able to pump on the plane & in a pinch, if necessary. We went overseas for a week when our first was not quite 4 months old, and the Medela Harmony was a lifesaver. (I also brought my Medela Pump in Style, but it fried when I plugged it in — YES, with an adapter/converter (Editor’s Note <—- OMG!) — and I had to scramble to find and purchase a new electric double pump!! Of course, I couldn’t find anything Medela and had to purchase a Swedish model… which I now use for our 4-month-old… with an adapter/converter, haha.) So expect the unexpected, and bring along a back-up for peace of mind! Have fun!Libby Randahl Hatcher
I traveled to Belgium for 5 days for business recently, leaving my EBF 4-month-old home with daddy. It is doable! In the end, she consumed about 150 oz of refrigerated and frozen milk and I brought back 207 oz I pumped and froze while there. I filled up bags each day and added them to the freezer. (Prearranged with the hotel to use their freezer.) I also used Techni Ice for the trip home – it was all packed in a soft cooler in my checked bag and stayed frozen during the 12-hour journey. We aren’t to 10 months yet, but on KellyMom I read that consumption of BM doesn’t really increase. Good luck!!Melissa Weigand
I went to the British Virgin Islands when my son was 8 months old and left him at home because we were on sailing catamarans for 10 days (not exactly safe for a baby). I pumped in the handicap stall at both airports and once on the plane. I was strict about pumping every 3 hours and just dumped everything (no refrigeration). I came back with a full supply and great tan!Lindsay Henry
I did a 5-day trip when my babe was 6 months. I think a 10 month old would be easier because they are eating so much more solids by that point, so the BM is a little less essential (at 10 months, my babe was nursing 4x/day… only 3-4 oz when it was from a bottle). I saved up BM for about 3 months beforehand- pumping most mornings and then I often pumped more than babe would consume at the sitter, so I had extra. I took a double electric pump with batteries and a handheld manual pump as well. I tried to follow our schedule, but I had to be flexible. Pumping on the plane worked great and I would try to pump whenever we were in a car. I froze the milk in flat bags at the hotel and then packed it in an insulated bag with ice packs for the flight home. I carried on and had a little trouble with the Mexican TSA, but we made it through. Check it if you can, but it is heavy! My supply definitely diminished, but nursing a lot when I got home seemed to bring it back up without too much of a problem. It was great to have that large supply of frozen BM for the next several months!Amber Spackman Jones
I wrote an entire post about this on my blog!!! You can find my tips from traveling to Israel without my 6-month-old and how I kept my supply up!!! You can find it here. Hope it helps!! Good luck, safe travels, and of course have fun!!!!Skye McLain
My doc said no less than 24 oz per day for that age. Keep your pump bag organized. I kept 2 plastic bags: one for clean pump parts and one for dirty, so I didn’t have to clean stuff in public restrooms. Get extra pump parts, hand sanitizer, and nipple cream. I also packed about 20 of the extra large ziplock bags, so when I traveled back I could fill each one up with as many bags of milk as possible to bring back. The ziplock bags also give you added protection for leaking. Good luck, Momma; you can do it!Lisa Heimowski Weilgus
Good tips from everyone. One thing that worked for me was buying 32 oz Nalgene bottles and I just filled them up with milk (just make sure to cool the pumped milk first before adding to the refrigerated Nalgene bottles). I found them much easier to travel with than carrying a lot of milk bags. Also call ahead to your hotels to make sure you’ll have a mini fridge or freezer. Enjoy!Gisela Mohring Vivero
See all the answers here.
My son is 8 months old and I have to travel for work from time to time, I like to save 30 oz/ day for him, he is about 21 lbs. I would say to research the airport for places to pump ahead of the trip and print out TSA guidelines. Also maybe bring a manual pump that way you don’t need to worry about adapters and such. That is great advice about the dumping, as painful as it is to do, on one of my trips one of the bags ended up leaking – it was a disaster and one less thing for you to worry about at customs.
As I type I’m pumping for my 17 month old while on a business trip to South Arica from Washington DC. In an odd way, I find pumping to keep my supply up while traveling to be a way to stay connected with my daughter despite being on the other side of the world. What works for me is having the essentials: a plug that works on 120 or 240 voltage; a back up battery pack in case I can’t plug in; a package of wipes for cleaning parts; a hands free pumping bra; and the pump and parts. The Medela swing would be a good investment for anyone travelling a lot – I just take my pump in style with me. I’ve found dumping easier when in countries where water quality is questionable as keeping all parts adequately clean can be a chore. Here’s to moms on the go keeping the flow!!!! Enjoy your trip and thanks to all for encouragement – I would hate to have a work trip be the reason for weaning, that should happen on its own schedule.
Did all your babies still want your breast when you came back?
I just returned from 4 days away BF my 9 month old. She seems to get really easily distracted, I think because it doesn’t come as fast as the bottle. I pumped a lot while I was there but eventually milk stopped coming out and I had to hand express. I think this is just nt the pump for me. Should I just keep feeding her/pumping as much as possible? Thanks!
Hi Erika! If you want to keep breastfeeding, you’ll need to keep breastfeeding your daughter. Pumping tends to reduce your supply overtime. At this age, she’ll be distracted no matter what. Babies will often snack, play, snack, play – all day long! Good luck with whatever you choose!
I also have a question. I will be at New Mexico for 6 weeks for some studying. I’m from Mexico and i have an almost 10 months baby who is not traveling with me. I want to keep the milk supply for him. What can i do? I have my pump, frozen milk bags and of course a freezer. The question now is, I will be able to travel back home with the milk from 6 weeks?? How can i do that??
Expressed breastmilk is considered liquid medication so you will be able to bring it back with you. Keep it separate from your 3 oz liquids, it will be screened separately. You will need to tell TSA right away that you have breastmilk in your carry-on. More info from the TSA here. Dry ice or ice packs can keep all your milk cold while traveling. I would also bring something that smells like your baby to help you while pumping and make sure you get lots of pictures while you are away to look at while pumping!
Is there a cooler you would recommend. I am trading for 2 days and nights pumping eevry two hours that’s alot of bottles or bags to bring back.
Hi Eugenia! I would recommend pumping into breastmilk storage bags (instead of bottles) as those will save you more space. I’d also look into bringing the flexible ice packs (instead of the hard ones) as those will also save you more space. This one is highly rated and pretty inexpensive. Lastly, the type of cooler is dependent upon the type of travel (i.e., airline or car), so think about what will serve you best. You might stay away from baby coolers as those tend to be only big enough to hold 2-4 bottles, which probably won’t be big enough for you.
What if you leave for 3 days while having a 5 WEEK old.is that safe?
Hi Natalie! That is totally safe and fine, but if you are worried, you can also talk to your baby’s pediatrician or a lactation specialist. Your milk supply should be pretty consistent by then, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re maintaining your supply by pumping while away. A couple weeks before you leave, try and introduce the bottle to your baby and start building your reserves for your baby’s caretaker to use while you’re gone.
I pump 18oz., not including morning and night feedings. Being gone for 5 days, I will have well over 90oz. Will TSA let me take that kind of volume home flying?
Hi Renee! Yes, as long as you declare it at the TSA check point, they may x-ray it, but you are allowed to carry it on in your baggage (along with ice packs too!). Check this TSA page for more info: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/special-procedures/traveling-children
I will be gone from my breast-fed baby for almost 5 days. At the time of the trip he will be 13 months so he will be able to eat some other foods as well but I’d like to keep my milk supply so I can breast-feed him when I get back, my question is do I need to pump for 10 to 15 minutes each time I pump? Or just enough to keep myself comfortable until I get back ?
I would pump as much as you normally feed to maintain your supply. If you pump less than that, your supply might dwindle. Good luck!
New mom here I am going on a 7 day trip and my baby will be 8 months by then staying home. I wanna be able to pump and return with some supply. Do you recommend dumping in the beginning and closer to returning home I bring my supply back? Or can I keep it all and come back with it via airplane? Do I need it frozen to travel or can it be refrigerated when returning ?