Traveling with your Baby
*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that travel can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
You and your travel companions (including children) may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to family, friends, and the community after travel.
If you have a known exposure to COVID-19 you should delay travel, quarantine yourself from other people, get tested, and monitor your health. Check your state or local health department for information about local quarantine requirements.
Don’t travel if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.
For more information on travel during COVID-19 visit: Domestic Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic | CDC.
Whether it is your first trip or you are a pro traveling mom, you may have some concerns about how to manage breastfeeding while on your journey.
To pump or not to pump:
When traveling, some moms find it easier to breastfeed directly, while others prefer giving their breastmilk in a bottle. Choose the option that feels right for you! If you provide breastmilk in a bottle, be sure to know how to pump or hand express before you travel. Milk expression helps to:
- Keep up your milk supply.
- Relieve full and/or engorged breast.
- Have your milk on hand if you are not able to directly feed your baby.
- Allow family members to help with feeding the baby.
Breastfeeding traveling plan:
Depending on how you are traveling, by car, bus, train, or plane, traveling with your baby can become less stressful when you plan ahead and roll with the unexpected.
- Mimic your home routine: Try to keep sleeping, feeding, and diapering routines like your routine at home.
- Make a list: Write down the time you plan to breastfeed before your trip begins, along with needed items for feeding your baby on the go that will make your travel smoother. Such items may include:
- A nursing cover: Breastfeeding in public may seem intimidating. Many airports and trains have designated private areas to breastfeed, but if you cannot locate one, having a nursing cover or blanket handy can help if you would like to breastfeed more discreetly. Try practicing with the cover before your trip to build up your confidence.
- Nursing bra: Wearing a nursing bra can also help when breastfeeding in public, making the experience of breastfeeding while traveling easier.
- Breast pumps, storage bags or bottle, and portable cooler: If you plan to pump while traveling, having bags and bottles to store your milk is essential. You may also need an electric adaptor or batteries for your pump. To make sure your breast milk is being stored properly, a portable cooler with ice or gel packs will be needed. Remember to place your expressed breastmilk into a refrigerator or freezer as soon as you can.
- Baby carrier: Having a baby carrier provides ease of getting around, keeps your baby close (comforting the baby), and can be used as a discreet method of feeding while traveling.
Tips for different types of travel:
Traveling by car may provide flexibility over your schedule and when to feed your baby. Plan for the following when traveling by car:
- You may have to schedule regular stops to comfort, soothe and feed your baby.
- Expect longer travel time to accommodate stops for baby care.
By bus or train
Traveling by bus or train can be easy but will require research before traveling. Some tips to consider are:
- Contact bus or train customer service to ask about options for early boarding. Be sure to grab a comfortable seat to breastfeed your baby.
- Ask about the availability of lactation rooms or pods to breastfeed or pump in a space you feel comfortable in. Also, ask if electric outlets are available, if needed to pump.
Traveling by plane is often the fastest way to get to your destination, which may mean fewer feeds during travel. Consider the following:
- Find out where breastfeeding-friendly spaces are in the airport that you are flying in and out of.
- When traveling with expressed milk and related supplies, give yourself extra time at the airport to get through the airport security checkpoints.
- Know what to expect with airport screening requirements of breastmilk. Visit: Traveling with Children | Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov).
- Breastfeeding your baby during takeoff and landing can help protect your baby from ear pain due to cabin pressure changes.