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Thread: Traveling and pumping.. flying with breastmilk..

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    174

    Default Traveling and pumping.. flying with breastmilk..

    Okay. My son is 15 months old and is still nursing a ton. I am going to Las Vegas next week with DH for 3 days for a getaway : )
    Lots of firsts here... first time away from baby.. first time to ever fly..

    Any advice on traveling? I have a Medela Pump in Style and am planning on taking it and pumping as often as he nurses at home. I have plenty of frozen milk I am leaving. I am thinking about buying one of those giant bags you can buy in the freezer section at Walmart and putting gel packs that freeze down in it to put my milk in for flight home in my checked luggage maybe?
    What about pumping on the plane? Anyone ever done that? Are there plug ins? I mean, I have the battery pack of course but the suction just isn't as good to me. We are laying over in Phoenix for an hour. Where should I pump there? Bathroom?

    I think the breastpump doesn't count as a carry on because it's medical equipment.. We are flying Southwest.

    Any input or advice/tips appreciated!!

    I am sad to leave my baby!! We cosleep and nurse at night frequently.. This will be hard on us : (
    oohh.. should I wake up at 4 am to pump? I mean, my milk supply is well established but...
    Kristin

    Momma to Benjamin, we recently made it nursing to age 2!!!!

    Benjamin born 9-17-09

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,056

    Default Re: Traveling and pumping.. flying with breastmilk..

    I'm going to send you a copy of a PM I received from another mama when I traveled last spring w/o my baby. I'll post my personal experience/tips here.

    I flew to NYC w/ my husband last spring when our baby was almost 8 mos old. At the time he was nursing 6-7 times per day when with me all day, or nursing 3 times a day when I was at work, with 3 bottles of EBM while at daycare. He was sleeping through the night consistently by this time. We were gone for 5 days, and I had plenty of frozen milk to leave for him while I was gone, but I still didn't want to waste all that liquid gold from while we were away!

    I'll try to answer your questions in order:
    1) ...putting gel packs that freeze down in it to put my milk in for flight home in my checked luggage maybe? ---> I personally chose not to check my milk, b/c I was so neurotic about them messing it up. I wasn't able to get my milk to freeze in the hotel room either (I had a mini-fridge w/ freezer, but those darned things never get cold enough). I had a cooler w/ a separate compartment that I put ziplocs of ice in, thinking that if they made me get rid of the ice @ security I could get new ice at a restaurant or fast food place. It so happens that I didn't have to, but I was ready. I printed out the current FAA rules on breastmilk to have with me in case security gave me a hard time, which they didn't. They had me open the cooler; they wiped the inside of it w/ that wipe thingy that tests for explosives maybe? They didn't touch any of my milk (I was transporting in plastic milk bags, not bottles), nor did they ask me to open any of them. I don't think they are supposed to. You will need to go through the special line for medical liquids.
    http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtrav...n/formula.shtm

    2) What about pumping on the plane? ---> I brought my freestyle with me, so I didn't have to worry about finding an outlet. I know that some seats on the plane will have an outlet if you need it (you may have to arrange with the gate agents ahead of time to make sure you have such a seat, or talk w/ the flight attendant once on board - I've always been pleasantly surprised at how accommodating people can be when you explain what you are doing). I've tried a PISA w/ the battery pack, and agree that you might as well not bother. I personally didn't need to pump on the plane, because we had a direct flight that was only 2.5 hrs long; at that point in his life I could go 4-5 hrs during the day if I needed to. I did pump right before take-off, and the only place I could find was a bathroom. It was not a pleasant experience. If I had to do it over again, I might try to talk my way into a fancy-schmancy frequent-flyer lounge or something like that. I HATE having to pump in bathrooms.

    3) I think the breastpump doesn't count as a carry on because it's medical equipment ---> I think you are right, but it wouldn't hurt to call Southwest ahead of time and ask. I pared down my carry-on items to fit in my purse and the bag I carried my pump in. On the flight back, I had my purse, pumping bag, and cooler with milk - no one said a thing to me about it.

    4) should I wake up at 4 am to pump? ---> I'm not sure about this one, b/c we weren't nursing @ night @ this point. I would think if you needed to pump, your boobs would wake you up, you know? If you happen to wake up and feel full, pump; if not, just pump once extra in the morning if you can.

    Good luck! Let us know what happens!
    Little SW, Aug '09
    Miss MW, Jan '11
    Sir RW, Oct '12
    3 kids in 38 mos

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Traveling and pumping.. flying with breastmilk..

    So we went on the trip and everything went pretty well.

    I did end up pumping in the bathroom at the airport a few times... gross.. but I wasn't sure what else to do. Yes, I unashamedly plugged in my Pump in Style in the electrical outlets up by the sinks, tossed on my nursing cape, and pumped where every woman coming in the bathroom could see. Awkward? Yes, absolutely. Was I ever going to see any of those people again? Nah. (I had a few ladies give me a thumbs up and tell me way to go girl!)

    I checked my frozen breastmilk in my luggage in a mini cooler with ice packs, and it was fine for the 8 hours or so it was in flight/transit.
    I was frustrated that our hotel charged $25 dollars a day to put a mini fridge in our room for my milk. Seriously??

    Sadly my son got really sick while we were gone. Sigh. Oh well. He is ok now..
    Kristin

    Momma to Benjamin, we recently made it nursing to age 2!!!!

    Benjamin born 9-17-09

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Brussels, Belgium
    Posts
    1,302

    Default Re: Traveling and pumping.. flying with breastmilk..

    All's well that ends well. Glad you got a little weekend away in Vegas. It sounds like it was fun.

    Babies get sick, glad he's better now.
    Katharine
    Be the change you want to see in the world--Mahatma Gandhi
    mid-August DD (2010) & DS (2011 VBAC)
    Ouch! Is it thrush or Raynaud's phenomenon?

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