You can’t take a vacation from breastfeeding, I know because I googled it several times before leaving for a two night trip to New York. But unfortunately breastfeeding is such a perfect system that it would know my baby wasn’t nursing and my body would stop producing milk. So the only way to go away without Grace and still be able to nurse when I got home, was to bring a pump along on my trip and pump while I was away. Let me tell you this is easier said than done. And I was completely unprepared about how to travel without a baby when nursing.
Before I left for my trip I ordered a new pump that was more travel friendly than my hospital grade pump that I got through my insurance after I had Grace. I basically read the manual, turned it on, and threw it in my bag. This was a mistake. My breasts were not ready for this pump and this pump did not have the power to be the only pump I was using while away. I ended up tossing it when I got home.
The other thing I did was take a chance to wear clothes that weren’t nursing bra friendly. I was so happy to wear things that I hadn’t worn since before I had Grace. My boobs were not at all happy about this decision. And when your nursing, unhappy boobs = an unhappy mom.
The other issue which bothered me more than I thought it would was that I had no plan for saving and storing pumped milk, so I just dumped it. Yeah that hurt, probably more than the uncomfortable boobs.
The combination of these led me to hopping an early bus ride home on the last day of the conference. I just couldn’t do it anymore. But I learned a few things about traveling while pumping and hopefully someone can learn from my mistakes.
After I got back from the conference, Evenflo was nice enough to send me a “Mama on the Go” pack of nursing supplies that would help a mom who was traveling and pumping.
Breastfeeding Essentials for Traveling and Pumping
A Great Pump
Evenflo sent me the Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump, which will now be my go-to pump for travel. For starters it has the option to be powered by batteries, so you don’t need an electric outlet to use it. When I was away it was difficult to find a place where I could privately pump that also had an electrical outlet. Batteries allow you to use the pump anywhere. The Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is incredibly comfortable as far as pumping goes. It comes with 3 different flange sizes, so that your able to have the right fit for you. The base of the pump weighs about two pounds, making it a lot more light weight, portable and the bottle holders on the base unit make it possible to pump hands free. The pump comes with a guide for fitting the correct flange and 2 digital programs to help moms continue breastfeeding successfully. This pump is perfect for traveling or as an everyday pump.
The Right Bra
Nursing bras are not just for when you are around your baby and need to quickly access your breasts for nursing. This is something I learned the hard way while away in New York. I forgot to bring my nursing bra that I sleep in and ended up living in a underwire nursing bra for 48 hours. The level of discomfort I felt was so much that I found myself daydreaming about my cozy nursing bra. Next time I travel a nursing bra will be at the top of my list.
Insulated Cooler Bag with Ice Packs
You know what is more painful than 48 hours in a bad bra? Dumping the milk you just pumped because you have nowhere to store it. I didn’t think it would bother me, and I thought it would have been more of a hassle to try to refrigerate it at the hotel and store it while I was out. But it was really depressing to watch all the milk I painstakingly pumped get dumped down the drain. Evenflo included their Cooler Bag accessory kit in my “Mama on the Go” pack and I’m in love with this bag. It includes 2 milk collection bottles and 3 ice packs and can hold as many as six 5 ounce bottles. The ice packs even have positive messages on them, to help pumping moms stay motivated.
Milk Storage Bags
If you plan on being away for a while or want another way to store your milk, make sure to pack milk storage bags. These bags are easier to travel with since you can pack 40 of them in a small box. Evenflo sent me the Advanced Milk Storage Bags, that are ecofriendly, made in the USA and have a dual track zipper so your liquid gold doesn’t get spilled. The bags also have a few different positive messages on them, which is something every Mom needs to see more of.
Pumping while traveling doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience if you plan ahead and pack the right things. I have definitely learned from my mistakes and when we go away at the end of the month I will be packing all of these breastfeeding essentials.
Evenflo kindly provided me with these products to facilitate this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.