Air Travel Tips For Pumping Moms
By Emily Berger | December 10, 2018
Whether you are flying the friendly skies for the holiday travel season, heading to a summer vacation spot, or attending an out of town business meeting, the thought of flying as a breastfeeding and pumping mama can be intimidating
So, what’s the magic formula for a less stressful trip? The right pumping equipment, proper planning and an understanding of airline and airport rules. Here are some tips from the 1 Natural Way team:
Do Your Homework
Know the TSA Guidelines
Review the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) guidelines regarding traveling with your breast pump, taking breast milk onto the airplane, how much breast milk you can carry on, testing options and cooler instructions.
Breast milk is considered a medical liquid and you are allowed to travel with a “reasonable amount.” Alert TSA that you are traveling with breast milk when entering the screening area.
Airline and Airport Need-to-Knows
Investigate your airline’s pumping protocol and, if needed, contact them for special arrangements. Some airlines will consider your breast pump a medical device and will not consider it as one of your carry ons. Others may. You’ll want to know that ahead of time!
Research where your airport’s (or layover airport’s) lactation rooms are or what special accommodations they have for breast pumping moms.
Is Your Pump Travel-Friendly?
Spend time walking around with your breast pump bag. Is it too heavy and bulky? If you are planning on traveling a lot, a lighter breast pump may be something to consider when picking your breast pump. Select the right breast pump from the get-go with 1 Natural Way’s insurance covered breast pumps.
There’s More Homework? Yes.
Gather ALL back-up pumping items you may need and bring them with you.
Confirm the size of your final destination’s refrigerator and freezer. This may affect your packing list, what you bring on-board, and what back-up breast pump supplies you take.
No matter how short your flight is NEVER check your breast pump!
Packing and Planning
Finally, a Legit Excuse for Overpacking
In your breast pump bag or additional carry on, pack ALL your breast pump supplies, as well a backup supply of those items. Think about supplies and breast pump parts like valves and membranes, breastshields, connectors, cleaning wipes, primary and extra power adapter, individual batteries, bottles, lids, milk storage bags, insulated cooler, cold or freezer packs, etc.
Pack and wear clothing and undergarments that make pumping easier, like a hands free pumping bra or a tank tops with clips. Nursing pads are also a great addition!
Consider packing a nursing cover for those moments when a dedicated pumping room is not available. You can pump on the plane if you need to - in your seat or in the bathroom, if you choose. Depending on the flight size, you may need to consider shortening your pumping session in order to accommodate other passengers’ needs.
Scheduling and Tracking
Map out a daily pumping schedule and try to stick to it. Easier said than done (we know!), but inconsistency with pumping may lead to a supply decrease.
Take a pen and paper, permanent marker or download an app to chronicle your pumping schedule, milk output and freezer storage dates.
Save these tips for later by adding them to Pinterest!
About the Author
As a Medical Documentation Specialist at 1 Natural Way, Emily Berger works with doctors' offices on moms' behalf to get prescriptions for breast pumps, pump supplies and other insurance-covered products. A few years ago, as she prepared to welcome her second child, Emily joined online communities of moms to discuss the joys and challenges of breastfeeding. Grateful for the information and support she received, she decided to pay it forward in posts. In her spare time, Emily enjoys baking and spending time with her family.