As much as we want to just be by our baby’s side, some circumstances like work commitments could require us to travel and leave our baby for some time. If you’re a breastfeeding mother, it is important that you continue pumping and storing milk for your baby even you’re apart. It definitely would not be easy, but it is essential in maintaining your milk supply so your sweet smelling baby can again enjoy her unlimited-milk privilege once you’re back.
You must understand that our body produces milk because of stimulation. Think of the law of supply and demand! When our babies feed (demand), this tells our body to produce more milk (supply). Therefore, when we are away from them, our bodies need to be told that there is demand so it would not stop producing supply.
It is important that you pump consistently and regularly. The key word here is ‘regularly.’ Maintaining a regular pumping schedule even when we are away from our baby tells our body that there is still a demand. And hence, maintain our milk supply.
Pumping and milk storage tips
Prepare your gear. Double check, or even triple check, the things that you need:
- Breast pump and all its parts
- Charger/battery pack/extra batteries
- Milk storage bags or containers
- Ice or cold packs
- Insulated containers/coolers
- Cleaning supplies
- Hand sanitizer
Know this milk storage guideline by heart.
According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), here are the guidelines for storing freshly pumped breast milk:
- Countertop or room temperature (25°C or colder): Up to 4 hours
- Refrigerator (4°C or colder): Up to 4 days
- Freezer (-18°C or colder): Within 6 months is best; Up to 12 months is acceptable
Check on your hotel and airline prior to the trip.
Different airlines have different policies on bringing expressed breast milk on board. It would be nice to coordinate with them so you can store your expressed breast milk according to their guidelines to avoid hassle and also to avoid unnecessary disposal of your liquid gold.
Inquire with your hotel regarding the availability of a refrigerator or freezer in your room. If there’s none, coordinate with them how they can help you store your expressed breast milk.
It would surely be different traveling without your baby. Your baby would not be there to tell you it’s feeding time. It’s now your responsibility to track the time and pump according to schedule. It is important to be disciplined with this, moms! Again, keep in mind that your breast milk supply depends on the demand.
So remember: pump regularly, keep yourself hydrated, and enjoy your travel!