Is there anything more relaxing than a good vacation? The best vacations are full of poolside lounging, trying new and tasty foods (and drinks!), and going on exciting adventures. So, when you’re a breastfeeding mom, it’s important to do a little extra planning before you go so you can truly relax while you’re away. With these tips, you’ll be balancing breastfeeding with your vacation in no time.
- Plan Ahead. While vacation is great, most of us can agree that getting there isn’t as wonderful. If you’re flying with your baby and/or breast milk, make sure you pack everything you’ll need to pump or breastfeed on the plane. And while breast milk is permitted as a carry on through airport security, it helps to know TSA rules before you go. While you’re on the plane, remember this tried-and-true tip: feeding your baby during take-off and landing can help equalize your baby’s ear pressure the same way chewing gum can for adults. And more comfortable your baby is, the more comfortable you are.
- Stay Cool. You’re already super cool. But if you plan to pump while on vacation, make sure you keep your breast milk cool as well; this usually means making sure you have access to a refrigerator in your hotel room. Or if it’s a longer trip, make arrangements for use of a freezer or plan to ship breast milk home. And, if you’ll be pumping away from your hotel, bring a cooler along for transporting it.
- Carry a Catch-All Bag. When you’re traveling, the last thing you want to do is carry around a purse, a diaper bag and a breast pump bag. So consolidate everything into one big bag that you love. Like a cute beach bag, a chic tote, or even a backpack. Don’t forget to toss in bra pads, a light cover up, a water bottle, and a hand pump. Which brings us to our next tip…
- Pack a Hand Pump. If you’re doing vacation right, you’re going to be off gallivanting on all sorts of fun adventures. Or maybe just lounging at the beach all day long. Either way, if you’re a breastfeeding mom, your breasts will eventually need some relief. That’s where a hand pump comes in handy. You can toss it in your bag and pump whenever and wherever you need to. This gives you more freedom to do the things you want to do without having to schedule around going back to your hotel to pump or trying to find an outlet for your electric breast pump.
- Or Just Plan to Nurse! When you’re on vacation, it’s not always easy to stick to your routine. So, if you’re little one is with you and you’re able to nurse them at the breast, go for it. When you’re on-the-go, it’s often more convenient to find a place where you can sit down, relax, and lift your shirt up than it is to bring your pump along.
- Dress Like You’re on Vacation. First and foremost, a good nursing bra is a lifesaver. They’re comfy, supportive, and so practical – even on vacation. But this is a time when you want to dress in fun and trendy clothes that make you feel good. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options that hold your breasts in AND look amazing. Our favorite vacation-friendly nursing pieces are flirty wrap dresses, off-the-shoulder tops, and of course, a supportive bikini or plunging one-piece – because anything that gives you easy access is a win.
- Drink. Drink. Drink. Water that is. As a breastfeeding mom, you’re probably always thirsty. But, when you’re on vacation, it’s especially important to remember to keep yourself hydrated. The combination of hot weather, salty foods, and alcohol can dehydrate you more than usual. So throw a water bottle in your bag and drink up as much of that poolside lemon water as you can. Trust us, you feel better when you’re hydrated, and you want to feel your best on vacation. Reminder: if you’re traveling in a foreign country, just make sure the water is safe for drinking!
- Wrap That Baby. You might use a stroller with all the bells and whistles at home, but when you’re traveling, it’s sometimes easier to pack lighter. And that means trading your stroller for a baby wrap or carrier. Plus, keeping your little one close provides comfort in unfamiliar situations, allows for discreet on-the-go breastfeeding, and frees up your hands.
- Have Fun. This is vacation. There’s no mom guilt allowed. Your routine may get interrupted, but that’s part of what’s so fun about vacations; just remember to relax, laugh about any hiccups, and take lots of pictures. This is all about taking care of yourself, having fun, and making memories.
Want more tips? Medela’s very own Amy O’Malley, breastfeeding mom and nurse extraordinaire, talks about her favorite tips for breastfeeding while traveling over at Working Moms Against Guilt. Check it out here.
Have you been on vacation while breastfeeding? What tips do you have to make it as easy and fun as possible? Share in the comments below.