It’s no secret that I love to travel. When approached with a travel opportunity, I almost always jump in for this adventure. Since Brody was born 10 months ago, I have been on 4 trips without him. The shortest was a 48 hour bachelorette party just a few hours from home, and the longest was a 6 day trip with my husband to Mexico! (I still have a few more trips planned for later this year too.) I have never let pumping while traveling scare me or stop me from what I love to do!
For the first 6 months of Brody’s life, he was exclusively breastfeed. He had occasional bottles of expressed milk when we went to football games or out on dates, but otherwise, he’s a boobie baby. That being said, I have to pump on all of these trips to keep up my supply and restore my freezer stash. I’ve had so many people ask me to share my tips, tricks and must have products for pumping while traveling, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do!
I started a post with all the information I could think of and realized it was A LOT! Too much for one person to read and fully comprehend all at once, so instead I’m splitting it into a few different posts:
- Must have products and tips for pumping on the go
- Tips & Tricks for airport security and pumping on the plane
- Pumping & Breastfeeding at Disney
This blog post contains affiliate links. (This means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.)
Best Products for Pumping while Traveling
- Motif Duo Electric Pump: This pump is handheld and battery operated. This means you can pump on the go! I posted more about it here if you want more details. The Motif Duo has been with me on all of my trips as well as football games, car rides and more. You can even discretely pump in places like the airport if you need to.
- Medela Hand Pump: My other go to pump! Sometimes you just need some quick relief without getting a full pump out. This manual pump in small but mighty. You can get a power pump in when you don’t have a lot of time, space, privacy or any combination of the three.
- Kiinde Direct Pumping Bags: I love these for pumping while traveling. These bags include adapters that allow you to pump directly into the bags. That mean no transfer from pump bottle to storage bag. This is super convenient when you don’t have a lot of time! The screw on caps also make you feel like your milk is secure and won’t spill or leak. You can get these in 6oz or 8oz bags!
- Milk Snob Nursing Cover: There are several of these 4 in 1 types of nursing/carseat covers out there these days. I personally love my Milk Snob. It’s very well made with the cutest patterns. I wear this over me while pumping in public like in line at Disney World, the airport or on a bus.
- Thirty One Gifts Around the Clock Thermal: I personally love the size and shape of this cooler! It’s perfect for a 4-5 day trip to store all of your breastmilk. I’ll warn you, it can get pretty heavy on the way back with all that milk!
- Medela Quick Clean Wipes: These are great for cleaning pump parts on the go. You don’t have to worry about anything smelling like spoiled milk! Just wipe down your parts after use. They can also be used on high chairs, tables, hands, you name it.
- Medela Steam Bags: If you have a microwave in your room, this will be great for cleaning your parts every night.
- Pumping Bra: This is a game changer. It makes pumping hands free so you can go about your business on the go. Just put your nursing cover on, get set up and you’re good to go! If you have a private space, you can even get work done while you pump.
- Longchamp Le Pilage Tote: If you already have a great pumping bag, take that one along with you! I don’t and this tote is my go to for traveling. It’s nylon, so it’s durable and it cleans up easily. It can hold both of my pumps, extra parts, lots of storage bags, cover, snacks and more.
Other helpful items for Pumping while Traveling
- Quart Size Plastic Baggies: These are great for making ice packs! You won’t have to worry about loose ice leaking in your cooler. Just fill up with ice and you’re good to go. Drain the water periodically and refill as needed.
- Gallon Size Plastic Baggies: Great for organizing milk in your cooler or putting your baggie ice bags in for extra leak protection
- Pump power adapter: You may be pumping in a car, so don’t forget it!
- Breast pads: Reusable or toss and go. Even if you’re no longer worried about leakage, it’s nice to have when traveling. The pad will absorb any leftover drops keeping your bra dry.
Tips for Pumping while Traveling
1. Make a Packing List.
Figure out everything that you need to bring. I recommend bringing your electric pump and a manual pump for back up, extra pump parts in case something gets lost, several bottles, tons and tons of milk storage bags, nursing cover, wipes, baggies, etc. Pretty much everything I mentioned in my must have and other list.
2. Have a Game Plan.
Plan out how often you’re going to pump, so you can stick to a schedule. You know what is best for your body and supply, but if you need some guidance, I recommend pumping every 3-4 hours.
Morning: I pump first thing in the morning for as long as possible to empty my breasts while I have the time. Then I tell myself I’ll pump 3 hours later. That way I have an hour of fudge room to pump when I find it most convenient.
Day: Continue planning to pump every 3-4 hours when it is most convenient in your traveling schedule.
Evening: Be sure to fully empty your breasts before bed. If you had to cut some sessions short during the day, this will help keep your supply up!
3. Know where you’re going to pump.
Plan ahead and know where you’re going to pump if possible. If it’s a work trip or conference, call ahead to find out what spaces available. It’s better for them to know ahead of time that you’ll need somewhere so that they can make space if necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask!
If you’re traveling for fun, plan out your pumping time to match up with down time; while in the car, at dinner, when you’re at a store with dressing rooms or a mother’s room. I’ve pumped in a bus during a wine tour, in a Target mother’s room, in line for rides at Disney or even while sitting down at dinner. My nursing cover completely covered me and gave me the privacy I needed when I wasn’t in the most private of places.
Mamava has many locations for pumping and nursing moms especially at airports! You can also use their app to find other lactation spaces available for you. How awesome is that? This company is amazing at supporting pumping and breastfeeding mommas.
4. Confirm that your hotel has a mini fridge.
Check and check again that you have a mini fridge! This is essential to keeping your breastmilk at the proper temperature. Be sure to tell them you need a fridge for medical purposes if not every room has one available. This will ensure that you get one! Do not agree to letting them store it in a communal hotel/restaurant refrigerator. Who knows what it could possibly encounter or how many hands may touch it there. If you can’t get a mini fridge, I would just change hotels!
5. Bring your cooler and ice pack baggies with you EVERYWHERE.
You likely won’t have access to your hotel mini fridge throughout the day, so bring your cooler along with you. Empty and refill your ice bags as needed to ensure that your milk is staying cold and your cooler doesn’t leak.
6. Be confident in what you’re doing.
You are doing something AMAZING for your child. This is love and dedication that only you can give them. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t doing the right thing.
Pumping shouldn’t be embarrassing. You shouldn’t have to pump in a dirty public restroom. (But you may have to.) Be confident when asking questions about where you can pump or store your milk. It may get awkward and people may judge you, but just brush off the haters. I personally think that you are AMAZING and a GREAT momma, so keep it up!
I hope that these tips help you start to tackle your fears about traveling while pumping. It doesn’t have to be scary. Just be sure to plan ahead and you can totally get it done!
Stay tuned because next week I’ll be sharing all things pumping and airports: getting through TSA, where to pump and tips for pumping on the plane!