We have had a lot of great feedback lately and one of our near and dear working mommas asked us to write a blog about how to maintain supply when traveling. As we discussed in last week’s blog, breastfeeding in public can be difficult for many moms. When we talk about pumping in public we definitely up the ante.
With working moms who travel a major concern is often maintaining milk supply while on the road. Recently IBM started a program for their traveling moms where they will expedite their pumped milk home to their babies while mom is traveling for work. Some criticized the company for making moms travel while breastfeeding, while others applauded the company for providing the service. Whatever your stance on the issue, as a working mom it’s important to feel supported and have some knowledge about what you can do to maintain your supply, store your milk, and discretely pump when you are out there on the road.
We found some really great products while doing research for this post and to top it off they are all companies run by women (with the exception of Medela, but they used to have a woman CEO)!
As we discussed in our previous post about pumping, we know it’s important to limit the amount of stress you are under to help support your supply. Pumping in public can be a nerve wreaking thought, so we did some searching and found a great cover up that has multiple functions. The cover up at LaylaBee can be worn as an infinity scarf, used as a pumping/breastfeeding cover, and it can also be used as a car seat or shopping cart cover. We are all about multi-functioning products and who doesn’t love traveling with a scarf on hand to accessorize? The great thing about this cover is that it wraps all the way around your body and provides a lot of coverage so you don’t need to worry about being out in the open when pumping. If you are comfortable pumping in public, more power to you, for the rest of us this is a great option.
For the actual pumping I can’t recommend more highly the Medela hand pump. This thing is so compact, easy to clean, and has great suction. If you are wanting to double pump look for a pump that can be battery operated or has an AC adapter. Whatever you do, don’t get caught without a pump. Hand expression is great in a pinch, but I have found from first-hand experience it can be messy and unless you have a bowel you are pumping into, get ready to change your shirt. We also love the simplicity nursing bra by Lactamed because it is so discrete and if you are double pumping on the go you can wear this under your clothes without much notice. A small hand sanitizer and easy to pack pump wipes for cleaning are also a must while traveling!
As far as storage goes milk storage bags seem to have worked out the best because they are less bulky and require much less space for packing than bottles. If your destination has a freezer they can also freeze flat which is a nice bonus. After a lot of searching we found a great cooler that can be frozen prior to use and keeps items cold for up to 10 hours! The Packit cooler comes in a lot of styles and colors and also folds up nicely for easy packing. When storing your breastmilk remember the “rule of 6.” 6 hours at room temperature, 6 days in the fridge, 6 months in the freezer. If you notice your milk starts to smell a little soapy or ‘off’ toss it!
Lastly, before you fear your milk being confiscated at the security check listen up for the latest on airport security directly from the TSA:
“Medically required liquids, such as baby formula and food, breast milk and medications are allowed in excess of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for the flight. It is not necessary to place medically required liquids in a zip-top bag. However, you must tell the Transportation Security Officer that you have medically necessary liquids at the beginning of the screening checkpoint process. Medically required liquids will be subjected to additional screening that could include being asked to open the container. We recommend, but do not require, that medication be labeled to facilitate the security process. Many airports have designated lanes for families and individuals with items requiring additional assistance with screening.”