Tips for the Traveling New Mom

Sheila Chhutani, M.D., OB/GYN

Being a new mom doesn’t have to get in the way of traveling. Nursing moms have many resources at their disposal to pump or feed on the go.

Sheila Chhutani, M.D., M.B.A., an OB/GYN and physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, recommends many helpful tips for pumping on the go, including:

  1. Pack the essentials. If you’re traveling without your baby, don’t forget to pack your pump, as well as milk storage bags or containers. Bring a permanent marker to label each bag with the date and time. If you’re flying with expressed milk, notify the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent at the gate. The TSA allows you to separate formula, breast milk and juice from other liquids (which are forbidden in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces) and carry them on board. The TSA will still screen these items for safety — usually with an X-ray — but you’ll be able to take them on board.
  2. Plan ahead. Make sure you know how long the flight will take, including any layovers. If you can get away with pumping before and after the flight, try for that. If your baby is with you on the flight, feeding during ascent or descent might help relieve the ear popping associated with pressure changes.
  3. Store properly. Pack a travel cooler that will allow you the option to store milk for as long as 24 hours. Once you arrive at your destination, you can refrigerate the bags or bottles for up to five days or freeze them. Breast milk can be frozen for as long as six months.
  4. Ship successfully. If you’re shipping breast milk home to your baby, pump and then package, seal and date the bags. Frozen breast milk can be packed in a foam container with dry ice and then shipped overnight.

“Breastfeeding your child is a labor of love,” Dr. Chhutani says. “If you have the desire to breastfeed, you will find ways to make it work, regardless of work or travel.”

 

Baby on Board

Traveling with a baby in tow can be a breeze. Dr. Chhutani recommends:

  • Pack what you need and don’t overdo it. If you are packing expressed milk for your baby, bring a cooler to store the milk, in case of flight delays.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Stock your carry-on bag with extra diapers and wipes, a change of clothes for the baby, and any medications your baby might need. Add any essentials to soothe your baby, such as blankets, pacifiers and toys.

“Moms shouldn’t feel housebound while they are feeding their infant,” Dr. Chhutani says. “They can travel, get out and do things, and enjoy life while still providing nourishment for their infant.”

For more tips on traveling as a mom, visit TexasHealth.org and schedule a visit with your OB/GYN.

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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