Travelling With Your Breastfed Baby
Your baby is completely portable and so is his food source if you are breastfeeding. This can make travel with a little one much easier and safer than contending with potentially unsafe sources of infant food, formula and water. It’s also much easier not to have to carry feeding equipment and premixed formula on top of the ‘basic’ baby gear.
If you are planning to travel with your breastfed baby, you may have some anxiety about how this will work in actual practice. So here are a few simple things you can do to enjoy the experience without stress for you or your baby.
- When booking flights, check with your travel agent if you can reserve a bulkhead seat (which has extra space) and a cot. A cot will be much easier and safer than trying to doze or eat your own meals with a baby on your lap during long flights.
- Although you are only allowed to take small bottles of water on international flights, request extra water on board (and drink plenty), so you stay hydrated.
- Breastfeed your baby on take off and landing to alleviate ear pain due to cabin pressure in planes. If your baby won't feed, try a dummy/pacifier - sucking will help.
- If you are travelling by car, remember to stop for feeding breaks as by skipping feeds and allowing your breasts to become uncomfortable, you could risk blocked ducts which could lead to mastitis. Also take care with positioning of your seat belt that it isnt creating pressure against your breasts as this can also cause blocked ducts.
- Although you may be concerned about breastfeeding your baby to sleep when you are at home (really, this is not an issue at any time, it's completely natural for babies to breastfeed to sleep), please ditch 'the rules' and use this wonderful mothering tool to your best advantage – a nursing baby is much easier to manage than a screaming baby or an overtired irritated baby.
- Pack some sachets of oral rehydration solution for yourself in case you do become dehydrated or catch a tummy bug. If your milk supply seems reduced due to dehydration, increase your fluids and feed your baby more often –skin to skin cuddles, rest and extra fluids will boost your milk supply within 24 hours.
For effective strategies to increase your milk supply, download our FREE ebook 'Making More Mummy Mlk,Naturally' by Pinky McKay IBCLC Lactation Consultant.
- If your baby is already eating family foods it would be wise to take some prepacked baby food such as the foods in tubes that can be squeezed out and recapped , avoiding contamination if baby doesn’t finish the entire contents.
- If your baby gets diarrhoea, you can continue breast-feeding . If he is partially weaned, you can revert to totally breastfeeding. As long as he is feeding frequently, this will help keep him hydrated and the immunity factors in breast-milk will kill any ‘nasty bugs’. Also, seek medical attention as babies can become dehydrated quickly.
- Try to be prepared for varying cultural acceptance of breastfeeding in public. If you are visiting a country where this is an issue, you can feed discreetly by pulling clothing up or unbuttoning from the waist, rather than ‘flopping it all out’ or you can drape a shawl over your shoulder and your baby. It’s better to feel comfortable and enjoy your holiday than wasting energy trying to ‘educate’ ingrained cultural sensitivities.
- Don’t forget a baby carrier or wrap. Explore baby carriers for comfort and ease and check whether you can feed while wearing your baby. This can give you two hands free while attending to luggage and check-ins as well as site seeing.
- Pack some Boobie Bikkies just in case you get extra hungry and cant access food as soon as you need it – they are individually wrapped so throw a few in your bag for a ready snack.
- RELAX – remember, this is a holiday! Laugh, enjoy and create happy memories by taking lots of photos of your baby in the special places you visit.
Pinky McKay is Australia’s most recognised and respected breastfeeding and gentle parenting advocate. She’s an IBCLC Lactation Consultant, best-selling author of Sleeping LIke a Baby, Parenting by Heart, 100 Ways to Calm the Crying and Toddler Tactics (Penguin Random House ), mum of five and creator of Boobie Bikkies. and Boobie Brekkie all natural foods to nourish breastfeeding mums.