One of the largest challenges during allergen free breastfeeding is navigating travel. Milk storage, TSA, meal prep, and finding places to pump are so formidable that it can cause any mom to avoid leaving at all costs. However, this isn’t feasible for most. Below are some tips for successfully traveling with or without your baby.
Find a great cooler that will travel well, something that you can easily secure or tape shut. Consider how many days you will be gone and prepare to have a protein, carb, fat, and vegetable source for each meal plus some extra snack food. Meat such as chicken and steak can be pre-cooked, vacuum sealed, and frozen. This serves as double duty by keeping other foods in your cooler chilled. Pull out meat to thaw as needed. Grilled chicken breasts travel well and are enjoyable cold if a microwave isn’t available. The cooler can then be used to transport milk back home. Pro tip: A hard plastic cooler with a flat top doubles as a seat if you end up pumping in an obscure location.
Have Pump, Will Travel:
Many airports now have nursing/pumping rooms available and can be located with a quick google search. Make sure the pump has a battery pack and you bring extra batteries in case you cannot find a good location with an available outlet. An extra Ziploc works great for used pump parts until you can properly clean them.
Use the cooler that you packed your food in to transport your milk home. Freeze your milk flat in bags to maximize space and add frozen water bottles or ice packs. Frozen water bottles are allowed if they are solid. Consider also grabbing ice from a restaurant once you are past security.
It is likely you have heard horror stories of mothers having to pump their milk when going through security at the airport. These alarming instances leave behind a devastated mother and an outraged public. This had led to the following guidance for breastmilk transportation through the TSA: