Summer Vacation Tips for Travelling While Pumping

So you are going on a summer road trip! Are you wondering if there are any tips you should know when you will be travelling with a small baby or newborn? If you are nursing or pumping there are some things you can do to make your trip enjoyable and relatively stress free. Some things are obvious, for example, if its hot stay hydrated and make sure the baby stays cool. Even the most enjoyable trip can be tiring with a baby. Try to leave plenty of time for relaxing and unwinding. Pay careful attention to your own needs for nutritious food, plenty of liquids, and rest. Watch carefully to see that your baby is not overtired from too much handling or stimulation. He or she may want to nurse or be fed more than usual. It’s not unusual for a baby’s schedule to change when you’re away from home.

If you fly, take an extra set of clothes for you and the baby in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is delayed (or unexpected spills or accidents). Wear a loose-fitting top you can easily pull up for nursing. A light blanket can help give you privacy in tight quarters. Air travel can be dehydrating, so make sure you drink plenty of water and/or juice. Your baby may feel some temporary discomfort during the plane’s descent as the air pressure changes. Sucking (more specifically,swallowing) may relieve this discomfort, as it helps the ears to ‘pop’. If possible breastfeed while you are taking off or descending. As an alternative, you may wish to offer a pacifier, bottle or sippy cup.

How about pumping on the go? Not the easiest task but here are some tips to make it easier:

1. Create a “pumping kit”. Use an extra-large Ziploc and put in a clean towel, dish soap, disinfecting wipes, bottle cleaners and spare pumping parts. The towel is to have a clean surface to lay your freshly washed pump parts on (after you have disinfected the counter!) A washable marker for labelling the lid with the date might also be helpful.

2. Find a fridge and a freezer at your destination. If you are travelling to friends and family, it is not usually a problem. If you’re staying in a hotel, use the mini-fridge in your room. If your room doesn’t come with a mini-fridge, many hotels will provide one if you request it, though they may charge an extra fee. If you tell them it’s for breast milk they’ll often waive any fees.

3. Good storage bottles and freezer packs and a cooler are a must. Bottles with sealable lids are better and more secure than breast milk storage bags while traveling. You can also use hard plastic or glass containers — just make sure whatever you use is clean (wash with hot, soapy water, rinse well, and air dry) and tightly sealed. In a cooler with ice packs, your milk will stay fresh for 24 hours.

Check out the Ameda Cool and Carry tote for a super easy solution to store your precious liquid. It comes with a Purely Yours Carry All or the Purely Yours Ultra.

4. You may want to put only a small amount of milk in each container – 2- to 4-ounce portions – so you’ll have a single serving ready to feed your baby. If you’ll be freezing your milk, leave about an inch of room at the top of each container to allow for expansion. (Note that if it was frozen and thawed during travel, you need to use it within 24 hours – for safety’s sake, you can’t refreeze it)

5. Invest in a hands free pumping bra. This will be the best money spent for pumping (other than the pump!). A hands-free pumping bra allows you to massage your breast while you are pumping to increase milk production. You can catch up on emails or read a book.

The bra connects in the front, and has spaces for the breast pump flanges to fit through. It allows the flange to stay snug on your breast, and allowing you to have your hands free to do what ever you like. It works with any breast pump currently for sale in Canada.

Safely Preparing and Storing Expressed Breast Milk

· wash your hands before expressing or handling breast milk.

· When collecting milk, store it in clean containers, such as screw cap bottles, hard plastic cups with tight caps

· Clearly label the milk with the date it was expressed.

· Preferably, human milk should be refrigerated or chilled right after it is expressed.

· Do not add fresh milk to already frozen milk within a storage container. It is best not to mix the two.

· Do not save milk from a used bottle for use at another feeding.

· Clean breast pump parts after each use with hot soapy water and air dry.

Safely Thawing Breast Milk

· If you have time, thaw frozen breast milk by transferring it to the refrigerator or by swirling it in a bowl of warm water.

· Avoid using a microwave oven to thaw or heat bottles of breast milk

o Microwave ovens do not heat liquids evenly. Uneven heating could easily scald a baby or damage the milk

o Bottles may explode if left in the microwave too long.

o Excess heat can destroy the nutrient quality of the expressed milk.

· Do not re-freeze breast milk once it has been thawed.

Milk Storage Guidelines

Where

Temperature

Time

Comments

At room temperature (fresh milk)

66° to 78° F (19° to 26° C)

4 hours (ideal) up to 6 hours (acceptable)*

Contents should be covered and kept as cool as possible; covering the container with a damp towel may keep milk cooler.

Insulated cooler bag

5° -39° F (-15° -4° C)

24 hours

Keep ice packs in constant contact with milk containers; limit opening cooler bag.

In a refrigerator

<39° F (<4° C)

72 hours (ideal) up to 8 days (acceptable)**

Collect in a very clean way to minimize spoilage. Store milk in the back of the main body of the refrigerator.

Freezer (compartment of refrigerator)

5° F (-15° C)

2 weeks

Store milk away from sides and toward the back of the freezer where temperature is most constant. Milk stored longer than these ranges is usually safe, but some of the fats break down over time.

Freezer (compartment of refrigerator with separate doors)

0° F (-18° C)

3 – 6 months

Deep Freezer

-4° F (-20° C)

6 – 12 months

* The preference is to refrigerate or chill milk right after it is expressed.
** Eight days acceptable if collected in a very clean, careful way. ***Adapted from LLL.org

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