It's one thing to have breastfeeding sorted. It's quite another to have breastfeeding while TRAVELLING sorted! Breastfeeding when you're on-the-move brings with it a whole host of new challenges that can test even the most confident and experienced boob-er.
We've got 5 top tips from mum's who've tackled trains, planes and automobiles and lived to tell the tale.
5 Top Tips for Breastfeeding + Travelling
1. Preparation is key
Whether you're travelling short or long-haul, in a car or a plane, preparation is key. One of the biggest benefits of boobin' is the convenience, but when you're strapped into a car for 4 + hours, it suddenly becomes a little trickier. If you're planning a road-trip, check out your route before hand and work out where you can stop for a boob break if necessary. Hopping onto a plane? You should be free to feed on demand while flying (just ask for a seatbelt extension so your little one is allowed to sit safely on your lap). It's also worth packing plenty of other distractions; food, toys, books, to substitute for a boob if necessary (traffic jam anyone?)
If you're a pumping mama, it's always worth scheduling your stops and checking your hardware before you go. An insulated storage bag is naturally essential, as are ice packs, sanitiser and anything else that makes pumping more comfortable. A hands free pumping bra can be a god-send when travelling as it allows you to pump hands-free, wherever you are. It's also a good idea to check with your airline for their individual policies around liquids and milk storage, The majority will have a breastmilk specific policy in place.
2. Choose what you wear wisely
There is nothing worse than trying to get a boob out at a busy rest stop and realising that the clothes you chose to wear were not ideal for breastfeeding on the go. A comfy nursing camisole underneath a button down shirt is ideal as it offers easy boob access while keeping your belly and other bits under wraps. The temperature can also fluctuate wildly when travelling, especially on a plane. A long, warm cardigan is great for keeping you snug without restricting your chest and can also be used to wrap around bubba during feeding.
3. Be mindful of little ears
This one is air travel specific. The change in pressure can wreak havoc on little ear drums and lead to a miserable, crying bubba. Breastfeeding during takeoff and landing can help to equalise the pressure and prevent soreness and discomfort. For older bubs and toddlers who may get distracted or not want to feed, a snack they can suck on is another great option.
4. Manage distractions
While boob is always popular, older bubs and toddlers may find everything else around them far more exciting! Distracted feeding is a rite-of-passage as you progress through your feeding journey but it's certainly not ideal when you're on-the-move and have a specific window to feed in! A teething or chewy necklace can be a great option in these circumstances as it encourages bub to focus on you (and your chest). Allow them to hold onto and play with the necklace while they feed then pack it away till the next time it's needed. You may also find that distracted little ones will begin to settle as it gets darker (and therefore more boring). If you're onboard a plane, try not to stress too much about feeding if your bub is distracted by their surrounds. Eventually, they'll lose interest and most likely seek the comfort and reassurance that comes from the boob. Wrapping a blanket around them and snuggling in can also help them relax and focus on the task at hand.
5. Make sure you're taking care of yourself
Travelling with kids, especially young ones, can be a chaotic experience. And while you're dealing with the needs of your little ones, you'll often forget to keep yourself fed and hydrated which isn't ideal for your supply. Make sure you've got plenty of water and drink regularly throughout your trip. Ditto snacks. When you're packing for your toddler, make sure you throw something in for yourself. And, if you can, ask for help! If you're travelling with your partner or family, let them take over entertainment duties where they can so that you can have a short break.
Good luck mama!