Sunday, November 28, 2010

International travel while breastfeeding

I'm heading to Paris and London in a week for work and am worried about managing pumping breast milk.

First, I am anxiously eying my freezer supply to make sure there is four days' worth of milk for the time I am away.   Then, I am uneasy about the flight there, during which I will most certainly have to pump in public.  Breastfeeding in public is one thing, but the almost bovine aspect of pumping is altogether another.  I will need to get over this unease, fast.  Next, once I arrive at my destination, I will either need a power adapter or a boat load of batteries to keep the pump running for four days.  I started looking into the power adapter option but it's so complicated that I think I'm better off buying a big pack of batteries and hauling them in my suitcase.  I'll also have to bring supplies to wash parts in the hotel.

But the biggest worry is what to do with all the pumped milk, probably 80-100 oz.  The most sensible and convenient option is to dump it.   But can a breast milk fanatic mom like me actually bring herself to do this?  I am imagining complex ways around dumping: I could buy a good cooler bag, milk storage bags, and lots of Ziploc bags, continually refresh the ice from the hotel ice machine, assuming my room has no refrigerator.  Then there is the matter of getting back through security with the milk.  (I should be thankful that it's not 2004, when the TSA barred more than 3 oz. of breast milk unless you were traveling with a baby.  Except if a mom is traveling with her baby, she wouldn't need to bring a pump and all the pumped milk!)  And what if after all this the ice doesn't hold up for the 12-hour trip?  I would probably just check the baggage and hope for the best.

What would you do?


  1. Oh man, dumping that much milk would make me cry, even if I had enough in the freezer. Any orphanages you can donate it to abroad? ;) It holds up better than regular milk without being in fridge or freezer, so I would be the crazy one constantly replenishing the ice in the cooler. Any international milk shares to give it to? Hmm...good luck!

    On another note...I have to you get comments about still pumping, much like the rest of us do about "still nursing"??

  2. @Krysten, I knew you'd be right there with me on this one!

    Comments about "still pumping?" Yes, but I don't take it as a judgment--it's just unusual, so people are interested.

  3. i'm anxious to hear how you made out and what you ended up doing??

  4. The result: The trip was OK, though it was very hard being away. One hotel had a fridge, the other did not and I had to request ice several times a day. They kept bringing me like a drinking glass full until I finally had to spell it out for them what I needed it for. Arrived home successfully with a cooler full of cold milk!

  5. Catching up on your blog. I am impressed you made it to Europe and back pumping. I traveled to Seattle and back when I was still breastfeeding Riley, and that was tough enough. But I admit that I dumped it and was just pumping to keep supply up. Good for you!