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Thread: How do you nurse AND travel for work?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default How do you nurse AND travel for work?

    Do any of you know of any companies/policies that support nursing moms who are required to travel for their job? My daughter is 5 months old so I am still her sole source of nutrition (and we have not yet started solids although we most likely will in the next month or so). I’ve asked my employer if (best case scenario) they would support paying for a caregiver to accompany me on business trips(the cost of one airline ticket per trip) so that we could maintain our nursing relationship. They have no policies or precedent for this and are only aware of one other company (Eli Lilly) who does offer that to their employees. I have already considered:
    1. Pumping in advance of the trip to save enough while I am gone; however, I am a "low pumper" (3-5 oz every 3 hours) and I have trouble keeping up with my daughter's demand anyway, so the possibility of pumping enough to cover a 4-6-day trip seems impossible.
    2. Fenugreek to boost my supply, but I don't want to become dependent on that. I understand it is natural, which is good, but that once you stop taking it your supply goes back down.
    3. Giving her formula for just that first trip and pumping while on the road to save for the next trip, but I prefer to not give her formula if I can help it.
    4. Paying for the caregiver's ticket out of pocket and declaring it as business expense/tax write off, but we are a single income family struggling to make ends meet...so a $300 ticket isn't really feasible.

    I've looked in to state laws to find proactive breastfeeding legislation, but most only legally require an employer to provide a private room and refrigerator. The travel issue seems to be very specific to my case. I want to come up with a creative solution to make this work. Any creative solutions considering the mindset of the "mommy" and the "employer" (to be fair) is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: How do you nurse AND travel for work?

    Sending lots of to you!

    I have been in the same situation twice now. I managed (somehow) to pump enough extra for the first trip before I left (that was only 24 hour trip). The second trip was 4 nights away What I did was Fed Ex breastmilk home on dry ice on the company dime the second day I was there. So, I flew out on Monday night, Tuesday I shipped bm Fed Ex and it got home on Wednesday. Would something like that work for you? Can you get enough bm to tide your lo over for 24 hours or so before your milk arrives? Do you double pump? That helps a lot with supply! When I shipped bm home, what I had pumped in 24 hours (double pumping each time) was more like what my DD ate over 36 or 48 hours. Also, eating oatmeal (in any form) helps with supply, too.

    Introducing solids won't help a lot at your lo's age -- they are mostly trying to figure out what to do with the solids then so they don't really fill them up.

    All of that said, if your company will pay for a caregiver to go with you then I say take that option!!!

    Keep us posted!!!
    Clara Ann from 6/27/07 to 7/2/09

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    SW Ohio

    Default Re: How do you nurse AND travel for work?

    I have no idea, but I wish there was an easy solution! My answer these days has been to refuse all travel for work. Sadly, that even includes a trip to Australia (I've never been there...) I have made it abundantly clear to my employer that my baby and my family take priority over all else and that I won't be traveling anytime soon. Lucky for me, there is another individual here who can fill in for me on the trips, and briefs me on what happened on the trip when he gets back, so I have been lucky in that respect...

    I have a girlfriend who had to take a week-long trip while nursing her son... she was lucky enough to have enough frozen BM that she didn't need to ship any milk back, but... here's the kicker... in order to keep her supply up while she was gone, she PUMPED AND DUMPED the milk, right down the toilet. Can you believe it? I know lots of people probably have to do it, but for me, the BM is sooooo precious, I can't imagine dumping it straight down the toilet. Unimaginable!!! I almost cry when I find out that DD's daycare threw away several ounces that she didn't drink that day...

    IRL all my friends call me Buff, Wife to CB since 10/11/2003

    Mom to DD - "MJ" born 9/2007 @ 8lbs 10oz, 21.5" She's 6 years old!
    My journey nursing MJ started HERE, but we got through it and she breastfed 19.5 months, self-weaned on 5/17/09

    Mom to my current nursling, DS - "ME" born 10/2009 @ 10lbs 1oz, 22.25" He's 4 years old! And yup, he's still nursing.

    Ask me about my successful VBAC! Click here for my birth story.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default Re: How do you nurse AND travel for work?

    You can do it!!! I have been forced to be back at work since Logan was 5 weeks old! I worked an hour and half away from him and would occasionally have to travel for work. When he was 3 months old I had to go on a 4 day trip to Seattle (from Nevada). I looked up all of the regs about flying with breastmilk and getting a pump through security (in the end had no problems and people were very helpful!). I started taking Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek (they are supposed to work well together) and my milk production increased greatly (enough to pump more than enough for the time I was gone). I took a large cooler and checked it as baggage. I then pumped and kept it in my cool small ice chest that I had folded up in my bag (soft sided ice chest or those BUilt things that keeps things really cold). I would ask the flight attendent for ice when I got on the planes (planes have plug ins in the bathrooms! Just be sure to tell the attendent why you will be in the bathroom for 20 minutes making strange noises!) When we got to the hotel I aksed for a refrigerator for my room and found out that breastmilk is considered a medical neccesity and got it for free! You can also ask to keep the milk in their freezer if they have a restaraunt. I then put it on dry ice and checked the cooler. You can also FedEx the milk back. I do field work alot and have come up with soem pretty ingenious ways to travel and pump and keep the milk! So have heart it can be done! And if it cant no work is worth having to give formula if you dont have too! They CANNOT legally fire you for refusing to travel due to nursing if they are not able to accomidate your nursing!
    Last edited by Logan's Mommy; April 22nd, 2008 at 09:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Durham, NC

    Default Re: How do you nurse AND travel for work?

    Hi Mama,

    It's tough being a mom!

    When I had to travel I convinced DH to drive there 11 hrs. one way for one trip, 7 one way for another . Then another time it would have been a 24 hr drive so I flew and bought a ticket for DH and ds of course to come too -- but my son was a lot older than your lo. We've never been apart at night yet but the day will come.

    Plenty of other moms have done it even with very young lo's and have been ok. Some freeze and ship, others try to build supply ahead of time. I know one mom was a flight attendant and had to be gone a lot. If you have to be away you will have to pump a lot even at night to try to make up for it.

    This mom had some fabulous tips for flying with milk.

    I don't know that there are really any protections legally to say you are not able to travel especially since there are work arounds and options (while not preferable). Good luck as you decide what option you want to take.

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