We’ve all been there at some point – a baby on a plane. Delightful for some, not so much for others. Nevertheless, you must be forgiving for, after all, we were all babies at some point. So, cut the mother some slack!She is the one who’s going through the actual stress of managing a fussy, traveling toddler in the first place.Additionally, she has the unenviable responsibility of ensuring her tiny tot is fed periodically as well, which can be an endless struggle!
If you’re the lucky mother travelling with a little one, here are a few tips and trickswe’ve compiled to make your baby travel diaries a smooth sail!
1. Keep Up With Your Breastfeeding And/Or Pumping
The key to good breastfeeding is to make sure your supply never runs out. Try to aim for feeding or pumping 10 to 12 times every single day and you should be fine. So, plan your stops, breaks, layovers, and the journey so that your lactation isn’t disrupted.
If you can’t feed your baby that often, try milking yourself so that the frequency of your lactation isn’t disrupted. The last thing you’d want is to accidentally wean your baby off milk too early. This can be difficult at times, but this is one of the most important steps for a healthy and nutritious baby.
2. Practice New Breastfeeding Positions In Advance
You’re not always going to have the luxury of space that you do at home. And remember, you will be on something moving, not staying still as you would be when you’re at home. So, while you can, practice some new positions. An upright position or ‘koala’ hold has been shown to be most effective. This will keep your baby with you and prevent you from bumping into other travellers.
3. Feel Comfortable Saying No To Well-Meaning Relatives
Everyone wants some time with the newborn – nobody can get enough of that cuteness! But if it’s feeding time, it’s alright for you to say no to even the most well-meaning relatives. Your baby’s nutrition comes first and you should always remember that. If your baby shows any sign of being hungry, you should probably use your politest voice to get your baby back immediately. After all, breastfeeding is more nutritious than giving the baby the bottle (1).
4. If You’re Nervous About Public Nursing, Strategize
If you don’t want to breastfeed in public, that’s fine! However, you ought to look ahead and see where you can get the privacy you need to feed your baby. Does the airport have a nursing room? Are there rest stops on the way along that car journey? Whatever you do, make sure your baby gets its milk; nothing can be more important than that.
5. Keep Up With Your Self Care
Take good care of yourself when you’re on the road. Breastfeeding is hard and can suck the energy out of you. If you need some more food, eat it. Drink 13 glasses of water a day. If you want your spouse to run an errand instead of you, that’s fine. Make sure you’re fit enough and well enough.
6. You Don’t Have To Be Supermom If You Get Sick
Don’t feel the pressure to be supermom all the time. There’s plenty of time to show others how great a mother you are. If you need to take some rest, take some rest. If you’re sick, avoid those chores and errands. Just make sure your baby is with you and gets the milk it needs on time. Nothing else matters.
7. Pack Ice
Frozen milk lasts up to seven days. Milk next to an ice pack can last up to 24 hours. If you feel there is a need to store and carry milk, pack some ice so that it doesn’t go bad in eight hours as it usually does.
8. Count Calories (Not Yours!)
Make sure your baby is getting enough calories. If they decides to sleep through the whole journey, don’t be afraid to wake them up in between for some feeding. Even if a baby is fast asleep, they still need milk.
9. If You Can, Nurse Proudly, In Trains, Planes, And Automobiles
There used to be a time when all mothers were told to formula-feed their babies. But the benefits of breast milk have become evident to everyone, leading to millions of mothers the world over breastfeeding freely. So, if you can, join them! Anyone giving you a sideways look should remember that that’s how they were nurtured in their early years too. 80% of US mothers breastfeed, according to the CDC (2).
So, wherever you’re going, keep the baby in mind, and yourright! – to breastfeed that baby. There’s no shame in it at all. Never wait till your baby has that expression that says, “Got Milk?”