Tips for Flying and Traveling with a Breast Pump
The key to easing and helping with the stress associated with traveling and breastfeeding is preparation. Here are some tips to help.
When traveling with your breast pump – with or without your breastfed baby – you might feel anxious and have questions leading up to the trip. The key to easing and helping with the stress associated with traveling and breastfeeding is preparation. Here are some tips to help.
Traveling With a Breast Pump: Before You Fly
- Know the rules. Review TSA guidelines on traveling with a breast pump and/or bringing your breast milk on a plane.
- Contact the airline and let them know you will be breastfeeding and/or pumping while on the plane. They may be able to make special arrangements for you, or offer recommendations for your trip.
- If staying in a hotel, call ahead and request a refrigerator in your room in order to store your pumped breast milk. Keeping a copy of current breast milk storage guidelines in English or Spanish on hand can help you stay organized and remember when to refrigerate and/or freeze your pumped milk, so none of it goes to waste.
Traveling With a Breast Pump: At the Airport
- If you’re bringing pumped breast milk on the plane, tell the security inspector at the security checkpoint and present it for inspection.
- Since breast milk is considered liquid medication, you can carry on more than 3 ounces. Frozen ice packs used in your cooler bag are also allowed under this exemption.
- Security cannot ask to taste your breast milk, but they can ask you to open bottles.
- If you’re traveling with a breast pump, it may be carried on and stowed under your seat as a personal carry-on item.
Check if the airports you're flying through offer Mamava pods. To do so, visit the Mamava website and download their mobile app so you can easily locate and unlock these private lactation spaces where and when needed while traveling. Depending on the length and timing of your flight, you may wish to pump or nurse just before boarding your plane and right after disembarking. These convenient lactation spaces can help you do just that (with total privacy!), so you don't have to worry about pumping in a restroom or other area not meant for expressing or feeding breast milk
Traveling With a Breast Pump: On the Airplane
- Pack everything you’ll need for breastfeeding or pumping on the plane. An insulated cooler bag, extra pump parts, and cleaning wipes or sanitizing spray will help you be prepared for any situation while in the air.
- Speaking of the “stuff” you’ll need, choose a carry-all bag big enough for everything you’ll be bringing with you (but small enough to fit in your overhead bin or under-seat storage!).
- Consider wearing your baby in a sling or wrap. This provides comfort for your little one, frees up your hands, and allows for discreet nursing in-flight.
- If you’re worried about how the changing air pressure during take-off and landing will affect your little one, nursing your baby during those times can help equalize ear pressure and ease any discomfort.
With a little preparation, you can take the stress out of traveling and make your final destination more fun and relaxing for you and your family!