Opinion Tips

Navigating: Breastfeeding While Traveling Solo

Without a plan, breastfeeding can easily keep you homebound for months or even years. Whether baby’s on board for your trip, or you are solo and pumping, these tips will help you spread your wings.

Can I pump or breastfeed in an airport?

Yes, but the right place to do it isn’t always obvious. Though many states protect a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere, others allow private businesses to decide. Be aware that cultural attitudes about breastfeeding vary by country. You can always ask at an information desk where to nurse or pump. Many airports offer a family room with quiet and privacy. In general, however, airports are so busy that if you find a quiet corner and cover up a bit, you can get it done without much trouble.

Can I pump or breastfeed on a plane or in a car?

Generally yes. However, flight attendants will ask you to secure your child in his seat (if you bought one) during takeoff and landing. If you feel nervous about fellow passengers complaining, bring a blanket, shawl, or scarf to cover up with; if you book a window seat you’ll have a bit more privacy too. If you’re pumping on a plane, you may have to wait until the captain has approved the use of electronic devices after take-off. Also, children riding in cars should always be secured in a car seat while the car is moving.

Can I bring a breast pump on a plane?

Medela Freestyle

The Medela Freestyle fits into any carrying case and comes with a small insulated bag that carries about a day’s supply of milk.

Yes, but if it comes in its own case, it may count as one of your carry-ons. Pumps that fit in a different bag can make it easier to tote everything you need to carry on.

Can I take breast milk through airport security?

There have been a couple of times when traveling moms had to dump their milk at the security checkpoint, but the TSA has now changed its guidelines.  Current guidelines say that liquids used for infant and child nourishment are exempt from the rule that prohibits more than 3.4 ounces of liquid from being carried onto the plane. “Nourishment” (which could also include bottles of formula) will be allowed through the security checkpoint. Be aware, however, that officers may still open and test any liquids for concealed items or explosives.

How do I store milk while traveling?

Always store breast milk in sealed containers inside of a small, insulated bag with frozen packs. You can use plastic or glass containers.

There are also sealable bags specifically designed for storing breast milk. A single serving is 2 to 4 ounces and leaves room in the bag. If you freeze the milk, it will expand, so you should always leave some room for that.

Frozen Breastmilk, Cooling Bag, And Milk In Bottle

Frozen Breastmilk, Cooling Bag, And Milk In Bottle

How long will my milk stay fresh?

24 hours in a cooler with ice packs. You can keep it in the cooler as long as your baby is going to drink it within a day. For anything longer, put it in a refrigerator or freezer. If you’re staying at a hotel, call ahead to make sure there’s a refrigerator in your room. In the refrigerator, breast milk can keep for 3 to 8 days. Frozen, it keeps for 6 to 12 months.