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Tips for Flying with the Breast Pump

Posted by on October 12, 2011

Tips for Flying with Breast Pump

My daughter Ella was never that excited about eating. I had to supplement nursing with formula from week 2 but I tried to give her as much breast milk as possible. That means I pumped along with nursing for 10.5 months. I went back to work as a flight attendant when she was 8 months old, so I became very experienced with pumping wherever possible. Flying with the breast pump takes some planning, but is very doable. Here are the products I liked best and a few tips for pumping when traveling.

Disclosure: Although I am mentioning several specific products here, this is not a sponsored post. These products are just the ones that I used personally and liked. For your convenience, I have included links to my Amazon store for you to easily find these products. If you use these links, I may receive a small commission on the sale. Your cost is the same and I appreciate your support!

If I was traveling with Ella by myself, I simply did not pump in flight. I would try to pump right before I left the house and then as soon as we got to our destination. (She refused to nurse in public, so this was challenging, but we managed.) If I was working or if my husband was with me, I locked myself in the lavatory, hung the pump on the clothes hook on the door, then set up. I used the Medela Easy Expression Bustier, attached the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags with Masking Tape, then sat down on the the toilet lid and pumped. Clean up was simple with Medela Quick Clean Accessories Wipes. I marked the bags with date and amount of milk using a Sharpie, then put them in my cooler with blue ice. I did not carry bottles with me, just pumped directly into the bags.

I used the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Backpack. I loved this, but had I known I would be pumping regularly for nearly a year, I would have purchased the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump. So transportable!
It looks ridiculous, but what a help this bustier is! If you’re wearing a button-down shirt you don’t even have to remove your shirt. Hook it up and you have your hands free to check out my blog on your smartphone while you pump. 🙂

Some people have difficulty when away from baby getting their milk to drop. Have a photo of baby in your Pumping Kit and a small lovey or something with her scent on it. That seems to help some people. You could try recording some of her coos and cries on your Smartphone and playing those back.

Using the set-up I have mentioned I have even (out of extreme necessity) pumped in “public” on a rather empty train! I just used the nursing cover and hovered in the corner. No one noticed. I’ve also used a comfortable chair in a restroom (not in a stall). People walked by and even conversed with me and had no idea I was pumping. Actually a time or two I did have to resort to pumping in the bathroom stall. Not ideal, but you do what you have to.

Storing the milk

I brought along a pack of blue ice. It was always a bonus if my hotel room had a fridge and freezer in the room. If not provided they are available on request. Many hotels charge for a fridge in the room, but not when there is medical necessity. Ask for the manager if the front desk doesn’t consider breast milk storage a medical necessity. At times the hotel may be happy to provide a fridge but they ran out of them. Ask to use their private fridge to store the milk. I was never denied this request. Try to have a brown paper bag with you to put the milk in. It’s kind of embarrassing for people not often exposed to this sort of thing. Put the milk in the freezer if there is room so it will stay cold longer. Refreeze the blue ice to keep the milk cold the next day.

Here is a good guideline on safe storage temperatures: