Tips for Pumping and Flying

Tips for Pumping and Flying

March 9, 2018

Tips for Pumping and Flying

Tips for Pumping and Flying
Photo by @sjmfit
Tips for Pumping and Flying

I’ll never forget the first time I traveled with my son.

He just turned three months old, and we were on our way to introduce him to my husband’s family, who lived half the country away. I had him on an ideal nursing schedule, and my supply was soaring. We had feeding and pumping down pat!

While we made it there in one piece, it was a bit tricky and time consuming preparing for this big venture. After all, I was a nursing and pumping mom—there was a lot of pack and consider.

Whether you’re flying for business or pleasure, a nursing mom has got to pump! If you’re traveling with your baby in tow, or if you simply want to return home with some of your supply, moms have the right to pump and travel with reasonable quantities of breast milk (you can get through security with more breast milk than the standard carry-on amount of 3.4 oz). No questions asked.

So if you’re a first timer in this realm, be sure to read through this guide to ensure you’re packed and prepared for your flight.

What to Pack for Pumping and Flying

The first thing you want to ensure is that you have everything packed from this list:

  1. Breast pump. Most women use electric pumps today, which can come with a few parts. Always make sure your parts accompany your pump and that you double check before leaving your home. If you’re taking a long flight, or won’t be home for a while, there’s also no harm in packing a manual pump in case your electric pump breaks or malfunctions.
  2. Breast shields & pumping accessories. Pack the goodies that you need to make the milking action happen. And, it’s never a bad idea to pack more than you think you’ll need.
  3. Battery pack & extra batteries. Yes, yes and yes to batteries. Even if you utilize rechargeable batteries, bring additional packs of batteries along. You never want to find yourself in a situation where you aren’t able to get your pump to work just because you didn’t take extra precautions.
  4. Cooler. A small cooler (or insulated bag) is what you need to transport your milk safely. Whether it’s fresh or frozen, it needs the right environment to stay preserved. Some moms prefer a hard cooler, while others prefer a soft one (they feel it’s easier to stow overhead).
  5. Ice packs. Several ice packs are a good idea. Whether they are plastic or gel infused, you are allowed to bring them on the plane with you. You may even want to stash a few in your checked bags in case you run into any problems with them leaking, getting misplaced, etc.
  6. Milk storage bags. Milk storage bags are small, lightweight and take up hardly any space. So, there’s no reason not to bring a lot.
  7. Wipes/pump cleaning supplies. It’s so important to take care of your pumping supplies. Always keep a small pack of sanitizing wipes on you, and whatever else you normally clean your pump with at home. All these accessories and supplies should easily fit in you pump bag or diaper bag.
  8. Nursing pads. If you’re traveling recently after giving birth and your milk supply is in full force, you may want to pack some nursing pads. They help clean up leaks and assist you in avoiding embarrassing marks on your top.
  9. Nursing bra. If you want to pump on the plane and you aren’t overly concerned with trekking it into the bathroom and pumping in a confined space, they you’ll want to make sure you wear (or pack) a nursing bra. This allows you to pump easily and discreetly!
  10. Nipple cream. Nipple cream is a great item to pack if you get in a jam and start to experience nipple bleeding, cracking, or pain. Purchase a travel-sized tube so there’s no issues with tossing it into your baby bag or purse.

For more tips on pumping and flying, as well as great rundown of the rights of breastfeeding moms in U.S. airports, read the rest of this article on Maternity Glow.


Kate Trout is the blogger behind Maternity Glow, where she writes about pumping and feeding tips and practical parenting tricks.

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