Tips & Tricks for Travel with an Exclusively Breastfed Newborn
Whether it’s Christmas, Auntie Edna’s 80th Birthday, or a routine run to the grocery store, at some point in your young motherhood experience, you will need to breastfeed your baby on-the-go (unless of course you aren’t breastfeeding, then obviously you will bring bottles).
Izabella was in her first wedding at the wee age of 6 weeks old, and it was a thirteen hour drive to get there. While I had been pumping consistently in Izzy’s first month of life, I stopped making bottles to help regulate my milk production. Therein began our journey of nursing in public and traveling with an exclusively breastfed baby.
Today I want to share some of my tips and tricks for an easier breastfeeding experience while traveling with your little one.
1. Pump and bottle feed every other nursing session.
If you’re little one won’t take a bottle, struggles with burping, you’re traveling alone with the baby, or your little one is under three months of age, I recommend you skip this tip.
Izzy took bottle and breast in her first month because she didn’t really know the difference yet; nowadays it always comes straight from the source! If your baby takes a bottle, I highly recommend bringing your pump, bottles, a cooler, and a car adapter so you can pump. There were many times on our trip to Georgia when Izzy would wake up to eat, and instead of pulling over to feed her, I would leave her buckled in and give her a bottle sitting upright so we could get a little farther down the road. Also, take this skipped nursing session as an opportunity to pump another bottle.
2. Keep plastic grocery bags in the glovebox and/or doors of your vehicle.
I don't know why, and maybe I'm the only one, but I loathe traveling in a dirty, smelly car; I like to keep all of my things neat and tidy, and keep the confined space I'm stuck in as clean as possible. I cannot tell you how many dirty diapers got stuffed in all four doors of our truck on that trip to Georgia, because I came unprepared. Too many to count for sure! Pack a sack of small grocery bags or trash bags to dispose of these diapers, then throw them out when you stop for gas.
3. Invest in a second nursing pillow exclusively for the car.
Register for two nursing pillows (I use the Boppy pillow)—one that stays at home, and one that stays in your car. It took me forever to get comfortable nursing Izabella in public, mostly because she was still so small and weak she needed help latching on every single time. Plus, it just makes you nervous the first few times you breastfeed anywhere but at home—so if you need the nursing pillow, there’s no shame in that. It takes time and practice to nurse without one, so try not to let the judgmental looks get to you. I seriously have no idea how people breastfed tiny little babies before there were nursing pillows.
4. Mount a phone holder in front of your baby’s car seat.
If you don’t want your baby to have screen time, then you can skip this one too. However, Moana was one of the ONLY things that would calm Izabella down without taking her out of the car seat and nursing her. And up until now (almost 5 months old), Izabella has always despised the car seat. Holding a phone over your baby’s seat at 2 a.m. blaring “You’re Welcome” gets tiring. Get a $10 phone mount to place on the seat and get some sleep while someone else drives, momma! You deserve it.
5. Bring an insulated water bottle.
Water equals breast milk. Plain and simple, if you’re breastfeeding you have to stay extremely hydrated; I read somewhere that it’s recommended breastfeeding moms drink 32 oz more water than the average person, who is supposed to drink 64 oz (eight 8oz glasses a day). If you do the math, that’s 96 oz! I bring my Contigo water bottle with me everywhere, and our road trip was no different. Find a bottle that holds 24 oz or more, and that will keep your water cold for a long time, this way you aren't constantly refilling and your water stays refreshing.
What's a trick you've picked up while traveling with a breastfed baby? Have a funny baby road trip story? Leave a comment and share with us!