Thursday, March 14, 2013

Travelling with baby : uninterrupted breast milk supply

pic: yes your pump is loud, but not to worry about in an aircraft!

This blog could be useful to you're an Exclusive Pumper, or chose to pump on travel days.

The rule is breast milk can stay fresh: 
- at room temperature for up to 6-7 hours
- in the fridge for up to 3 days
- in the freezer for up to 3 months

Calculate the "on road" time, ie the time you will pump last (at home , right before you go go ) and the time you arrive at your destination to enable you to comfortably pump at home or a hotel room. The cut off could be as per your body's breast milk supply & your comfort level. 6 hours is usually reasonable. 

A 6 hours trip: 1 hour to reach teh airport + 1 hour at the airport + 2 hour flight time + 1 hour to reach destination hotel room/ home + 1 hour buffer for any flight delays, immigration, baggage delays, traffic etc.


For a 6 hour trip time, you could do with 2 pumps. One you used last before leaving (which will need washing - as 6 hours unwashed, unsterilised is not an option!) and as soon as you reach your destination, you can use the other ready to use sterilised one. Make sure the second pump is in the diaper bag or cabin baggage in case your bags get late/ get lost, flight arrives late etc. 

Carrying breast milk:

Take into account your baby's appetite. Say he drinks one bottle every 2 hours, you will need to carry 3 bottles for  6 hour trip. By the time he has finished these, you will be pumping another bottle or two of fresh breast milk. Some times babies tend to drink more milk during travelling, so no harm carrying an extra bottle. 

If you are leaving from home for a trip out of town, you can freeze the remaining bottles if any. Better to freeze than carry them around only to have them cross the 6-7 hour window & be discarded. Make sure you leave the fridge & power supply on and that there are no power cuts when you are away.

Over 8 hours trip

Pumping : anything over 8 hours will mean you will have to pump enroute, to keep breast milk available for your baby AND to avoid any discomfort to your body. If the trip is longer, say 12 hours, you will need 3 pumps. The one you used right before leaving, the second one to be used enroute and teh third for once you arrive at your destination. Make sure the second pump & third pumps is in the diaper bag or cabin baggage in case your bags get late/ get lost, flight arrives late etc. 

Where to pump: Airports usually have "nursing/ parenting/ baby care rooms" that usually has a nice comfy chair for you to breast feed your baby or pump, a wash basin to clean up, hot water, dustbin, changing table, plenty of tissues. 

Apart from this you may have to use your imagination! I've pumped in cars with tinted glasses (with the driver having no clue), aircraft wash rooms, hotel lobby wash rooms, right at my seat in the aircraft at 2 am with dimmed lights and all passengers comfortably snoozing. When you gotta do it, you gotta do it!

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