Traveling While Pumping: Our Daughter's First Trip
January 25, 2016
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My husband and I love to travel, and we knew we would continue to do so after our daughter was born. While pumping is not ideal for travel, we made it work. Here is what our first trip as a family of three was like.

Location: Miami, FL
Miami was a great choice for many reasons. 1. We found very cheap tickets through American Airlines (our preferred airline for mileage purposes). 2. The plane ride is non-stop and under three hours 3. We have been to Miami before and were familiar with the city, getting around, where to stay, etc. We didn't want to experiment too much on our first family of three trip.

Packing
  1. Clothes: I packed about 8 different outfit combinations for a three-day trip. The weather in Miami started out very warm, but a cold front came in toward the end of our trip.
  2. Car Seat and Stroller: Our Car Seat and Stroller are both Graco products, and work together. The car seat clicks into the stroller, which makes transport quick and easy. I would recommend this to any new parents, and especially to parents who want to travel with their babies.
  3. Baby Carrier: We used the Infantino Baby Carrier when a Stroller is just too much. It came in handy when going to the beach. (Sand =/= Stroller).
  4. Pacifiers/Toys: At the time of the trip, Vivian was not into toys much. However, we made sure there was a pacifier around at all times!
Things to Consider
  1. Sleeping: I made sure we booked a hotel that had cribs (pack and go) available. We do not co-sleep, and we wanted our daughter to keep her sleep independence during the trip.
  2. Walkability of your Trip: Our hotel was in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach. It was close to many of the things we wanted to do: eat, go to the beach, repeat. This made our trip a lot easier. Even though we took Uber a lot - the Uber rides were not expensive because of our location. I would advise that you research walkability and the price of Uber/taxi in the areas you are traveling to make sure it will work for the type of trip that you want to have. Miami Beach, relatively speaking, is very condensed, and made for getting around easier than other destinations.

Plane Ride
To make the plane ride is as smooth as possible I did two things - booked early flights and stretched her feeding. I noticed that our daughter is most calm in the morning, so I booked early flights to try and capitalize on this. I also pushed her feeding time to coordinate with the plane schedule. My goal was to feed her as close to takeoff as possible - with the hope that if she had ill-effects from flying, she could take comfort in feeding. On the flight to Miami, the timing was great. She fed as we were taking off, then went to sleep for most of the flight. She didn't seem to exhibit any side-effects from the flight - so we were very grateful!

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Pumping/Food
This was obviously the most tricky part of our travel experience. TSA and American Airlines do not exactly have CLEAR guidelines on traveling with breastmilk. I called American Airlines ahead of time, and the representative literally told me it's a judgment call at the airport as to how much milk you can travel with. Crazy right! Well, this is what I did.

  • Cold Milk:
    • I took all her cold milk (about a day's supply) in 8 bottles. She typically takes 7 bottles a day, 4 ounces in each bottle. This allowed for a little cushion between pumping, airplane ride, spilled milk, etc.
    Frozen Milk
    • Since I would be in Miami, on a mini vacation, I knew I would want to drink more than water and tea. This is where the frozen milk came in. I brought about a day's worth of frozen milk, using Medela Pump and Save. I was then able to enjoy a few adult beverages, pump, and dump, and still, have sufficient milk available for the duration of the trip.


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Things to Consider
  • Frozen milk takes about a day to defrost, then it is recommended that you use it within 24 hours.
  • My process only worked because we had a mini-frig in our room. It was listed as an amenity at the hotel, but I called to confirm (can never be too sure).
  • I tried very hard to help my pump schedule so that my milk supply did not decrease.

Takeaway
Overall, we had a great time in Miami. We aren't sure if our daughter "enjoyed" Miami any more than she would have our house, but she seemed happy. The important thing is we made it work and were all smiles on the plane ride home. One thing I have learned is that being a new parent doesn't mean you lose yourself. It means you find ways to incorporate your new reality with your past passions.

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Written By
Victoria Graham
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