Breastfeeding Tips for Travel

Pinky McKay is an internationally board certified lactation consultant, author of 5 books including Sleeping Like a Baby, 100 Ways to Calm the Crying and Toddler Tactics and is mum to 5 children. She is also a popular media guest and regular columnist for Practical Parenting magazine.

Pinky kindly took time out of her hectic schedule to share the following advice with us on breastfeeding during travel.

Your baby is completely portable and so is his food source if you are breastfeeding. This can make travel with a little one much easier and safer than contending with potentially unsafe sources of infant food, formula and water. It’s also much easier not to have to carry feeding equipment and premixed formula on top of the ‘basic’ baby gear.

If you are planning to travel with your breastfed baby, you may have some anxiety about how this will work in actual practice. So here are a few simple things you can do to enjoy the experience without stress for you or your baby.

  • When booking, check with your travel agent which airlines are most baby-friendly and if you can reserve a bulkhead seat (which has extra space) and a cot. A cot will be much easier and safer than trying to doze or eat your own meals with a baby on your lap during long flights.
  • Although you are now only allowed to take small bottles of water on international flights, request extra water on board (and drink plenty)- so you stay hydrated.
  • Nurse your baby on take off and landing to alleviate ear pain due to cabin pressure in planes.
  • Although you may be concerned about nursing your baby to sleep when you are at home, please throw out the rule books and use this wonderful mothering tool to your best advantage – a nursing baby is much easier to manage than a screaming baby or an overtired irritated baby.
  • Pack some sachets of oral rehydration solution for yourself in case you do become dehydrated or catch a tummy bug. If your milk supply seems reduced due to dehydration, increase your fluids and feed your baby more often –skin to skin cuddles, rest and extra fluids will boost your milk supply within 24 hours.
  • If your baby is already eating family foods it would be wise to take some prepacked baby food such as the foods in tubes that can be squeezed out and recapped , avoiding contamination if baby doesn’t finish the entire contents.
  • If your baby gets diarrhoea, you can continue breast feeding . If he is partially weaned, you can revert to totally breastfeeding. This will keep him hydrated and the breast milk will kill any ‘nasty bugs’. Also, seek medical attention as babies can become dehydrated quickly.
  • Try to be prepared for varying cultural acceptance of breastfeeding in public. If you are visiting a country where this is an issue, you can feed discreetly by pulling clothing up or unbuttoning from the waist, rather than ‘flopping it all out’ or you can drape a shawl over your shoulder and your baby. It’s better to feel comfortable and enjoy your holiday than wasting energy trying to ‘educate’ ingrained cultural sensitivities.
  • Don’t forget a baby carrier or sling. Explore baby carriers for comfort and ease and check whether you can feed while wearing them. This can give you two hands free while attending to luggage and check-ins as well as site seeing.

RELAX – remember, this is a holiday! Laugh, enjoy and create happy memories by taking lots of photos of your baby in the special places you visit.

Thank you Pinky, fabulous advice as always! For more great advice from Pinky check out her FREE tips ‘10 things you MUST know about breastfeeding BEFORE you have a baby’ or her ebook ‘Breastfeeding Simply’ at her website

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