Pumping and Travelling
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Recently I was asked by a very close friend and fellow desperate mama about how to deal with the whole pumping situation while going on vacation with her baby.
I wasn’t an exclusive pumper but, for the first 5 months of my son’s life I pumped at least 6 times a day, and fed him only 2-3 times at the boob because otherwise I just couldn’t handle the pain. Long story short, we managed and learned to use the boob and a year later we are still at it… yaaaaay!!!
While I was still very intensely pumping we happened to go on a couple of international trips. So I have a bit of a hands on experience when it comes to it.
First of…packing!!! Super super important!
– Pump and all parts (having a great compact travel friendly pump like our favourite helps big time), that means charger or batteries or both, all connectors and flanges,cups, bottles and little valves… whatever your pump parts are… pack all of them!!!
– Make sure the pump is fully charged before flying or getting in a car, bus, train, ship, etc.
– Take a fair amount of disinfecting pump safe wipes.
– Bring a sterilizing prop… ideally microwave sterilizing bags, they are light and compact.
– A small thermal lunchbag helps keep your milk warm or cold depending what you need to do.. It is a good idea to have one.
– Bottles, brush and a portable drying rack.
– Make sure you can carry all of theese along with your diaper bag! It is even more important than the diaper bag!
– Have a backup plan… what if your pump breaks down? Bring a lightweight manual pump just in case.
– Nursing cover, if you are shy. I highly recommend it… it still seems weird to people that you pump while having a baby right beside you.
All of the above must travel with you!!! Not on the luggage compartment, not as checked luggage… you want this in your hands at all times.
Prepare in advance, think of possible problematic scenarios and try to figure out how would you manage to get out of them.
Get comfortable (I know it is not comfortable but as much as you can) with your pump, a pumping bra is a great great option to be more comfortable, but when travelling sometimes you can’t be wearing it at all times, learn or find a way to hold your pump without help. I personally found it easier to just pump one boob at a time.. I held the pump with one hand and had a free hand to deal with my baby or do something else.
Try to act natural because pumping is such a natural thing! Bahaha!!
…no, but seriously, the more akward and staged your performance is the more you will be noticed.
And if you are noticed… what? What the f is the problem? You are still nurturing a child with your boobs!
But… I digress, that is why it is important to get comfortable, and be open minded. You will have to pump in a variety of situations that you have probably never had before, so relax and really understand that you are breastfeeding… moms feed their babies whenever and wherever they are hungry.
Think about your clothing as well as the weather. Somehow Pumping seems to me to be a bit more challenging that breastfeeding. There are additional variables and props to be dealt with, so make sure your clothes are not something that works against you.
I was lucky that my son would go through the night without feeding when he was like 3 months old. So I could pump once during the night and have an extra bottle at all times, which was great.
But that meant I had to make sure I could keep the milk fresh at all times, which was challenging at the beach… So I would rotate the milk so that I could basically buy some time, and carry the thermal lunch bag with one of those frozen blocks to preserve it while I was away from the hotel.
So, know where you are going and the condition of where you are staying, would you have a frigobar? A microwave?
Charge your pump every night if need be or be aware of how long can you go before charging it again and be on top of it.
When on the go clean your equipment the best that you can, use the cleaning wipes and rinse with drinking water if need be. Sterilize when you are back at the hotel.
Jus be on the mindset that things are not going to be as easy and comfortable as they are on your day to day.
Don’t panic or skip the trip just because it seems complicated, go create memories with your child it will be worth it!!
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