Moms are busy these days! Life doesn’t slow down after maternity leave, but luckily portable breast pumps help busy moms maintain their breast pumping goals. Moms are able to provide breast milk while working, running errands, to get away for a date night, etc. But what about when mom needs to travel? That certainly takes things up a notch, but with the right amount of planning you can easily maintain your breast pumping schedule on vacation, business trips and even on a road trip!
- Packing The Pumping Essentials
The first key to success involves packing smart. Make a list of everything you need to ensure breast pumping goes well, then check it before and after packing. Your list should include:
- Your breast pump – Preferably a portable option to use in the car or public locations at a moment’s notice.
- Your breast pump bag – For easy storage.
- Batteries or the battery charger – It’s best to have your pump charged in case you can’t find an outlet to use.
- Breast pump accessories – The power cord, travel adaptor to use in the car, flanges, tubing, and membranes.
- Milk collection items – Bottles and milk storage bags, along with a cooler and ice packs. Once you pack up your bottles, grab more – you can never have too many!
- Pumping accessories – Your nursing cover, hands-free bra, and breast pump sanitizing wipes so you can clean on the go.
- Emergency items – Extra batteries, a spare charger, and a manual pump in case yours breaks.
- Keeping Your Breast Milk Cold
If you’re traveling away from baby and don’t plan on keeping your milk, you can dump it after pumping to maintain your schedule. Otherwise, you may need a few essentials such as a cooler and ice packs. Freshly pumped milk can remain chilled in a cooler for about 24 hours, allowing for travel time.
Then, you can place milk in a refrigerator for up to 72 hours and in the freezer for about six months. Be sure to label your milk with the date to keep up with how fresh it is.
If you don’t want to travel with breast milk, consider shipping it home with a local carrier that specializes in shipping breast milk with insulated boxes and ice packs.
Some moms build up a supply of milk in the freezer before their trip, to leave breast milk for their child. This is easily accomplished by pumping enough milk in advance to cover the entire duration of your trip and freezing it.
- Maintaining Your Schedule
To avoid engorgement and to maintain your milk supply, sticking to your regular schedule is critical! To easily stick to your regular pumping routine:
- Plan your pumping schedule around your activities and make sure to leave plenty of time to pump.
- Add extra time during long car trips to schedule your pumping breaks. It’s good to add about 20 to 30 extra minutes every few hours, according to your schedule.
- Look up your route ahead of time to find the best places to pump, and try to multitask. For example, maybe get lunch during or top off your gas during a pumping break.
- Arrive at the airport ahead of time to allow for time to pump and to get through TSA. Your breast pump doesn’t count as a carry on item, and you can carry milk onto the plane as long as it isn’t frozen. Be sure to tell your TSA agent that you’re carrying these items ahead of time. Some airports have comfortable places to pump such as lactation rooms or Mamava nursing pods. Look up your airport ahead of time to discover your options.
- If you find yourself needing a private place to pump in a pinch, use the pumpspotting app to find nearby lactation spaces.
- Keeping Your Pump Clean
Remember, your breast pump should be sanitized between each pumping session but sometimes on the road, you have to work with what you’ve got. If you have access to warm water, rinse the items that came into contact with any breast milk in between sessions, or wipe them down with sanitary wipes or sprays. Each part must be completely dried before being stored.
If you don’t have access to water or cleaning supplies, place items that come into contact with breast milk in plastic bags to prevent milk from dripping on other items, and clean your pump as soon as you can.
Have A Great Trip!
Whether you need to travel for business, family or pleasure, the idea of maintaining your breast pumping schedule may be a bit intimidating. However, it’s actually a lot easier than you think! All you need is a little extra planning, and to remember to bring all of the essentials for a successful trip.
Motif Medical was founded by a team of medical professionals, engineers and working mothers who wanted to improve breast pump design, provide products covered by insurance and upgrade the experience of obtaining supplies. To cater to busy moms on the go, they designed comfortable and affordable breast pumps including the Motif Duo and Twist.