Traveling, with or without kids, is one of the most difficult things for breastfeeding moms to get used to. Especially when it comes to efficiently pumping to maintain you supply while away. Add in the idea of traveling abroad, and there's a whole new level of uncertainty. Learning how to use your breast pump abroad may seem difficult at first but, like most things, a few good tips and gaining enough experience can make it second nature.
Although pumping while traveling may seem like a hassle, overwhelming, or uncomfortable, many moms work to get past the struggles because it's important to them that their children continue to receive breast milk. In order to ease some some of the insecurities while traveling abroad, it's important to plan ahead, prep for every scenario, and utilize tips from moms with experience.
According to Lactation Matters, it's important to create a breast pump checklist for traveling abroad and make sure you're prepped with the additional supplies you may need. There are the obvious items you need to keep in your pump bag, which include storage prep, cleaning supplies, power cord, and pump parts. There are a few items, however, you might not normally keep with you that are important for traveling abroad. A battery pack, extra batteries, and a power adapter are appropriate for wherever you're traveling. Additionally, it's important to make sure your battery pack is working ahead of time so you don't get stuck somewhere without an outlet or way to pump.
After you've gone through your checklist, Medela suggested calling ahead to the airport or airline to make sure you can bring breast milk, and if so, the amounts and stipulations. It's also important to mention whether or not your baby is traveling with you, because that may affect the information you receive when checking into an airport outside the United States. It's also important to remember that your breast pump will be considered a carry-on bag. Additionally, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), you need to inform your TSA officer before the screening process if you're traveling with more than 3.4 ounces of breast milk.
Once you've been through the process a few times, it won't seem as overwhelming. To further simplify pumping and traveling abroad, having two pumps may be a good idea as well. One breast pump can stay at home and another, more portable pump, can travel with you. This way there's less chance of leaving something behind because you're not having to use travel pump supplies at home. Instead, you'll be able to keep your travel pump prepped with its own supplies.
Although pumping while traveling abroad can present some interesting challenges, they are ones you can easily overcome. Mostly, it's just an area that's out of the norm, and once you've been through it a few times, it won't be as daunting anymore.