How to keep your pumping schedule on track throughout the festivities and fun
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and also the busiest. Between family get-togethers, entertaining, shopping and travel, it can be challenging to keep up a regular breast pumping schedule during the holidays.
But there are some tricks to make it easier. Here’s some guidance from moms who have learned from experience:
We’re Going to a Show. Where Can I Use My Breast Pump?
Whether you’ve got tickets to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, or you’re just going to a movie, you might need a place to pump. It’s a good idea to visit the venue’s website, or call ahead, and find out if they have facilities for nursing moms.
You can also check out Mamava or Moms Pump Here. These apps can help you locate private nursing or breast pumping facilities in public places. Going to an outdoor winter fest? Here’s a thought: Look for a nearby hospital. It probably has private lactation rooms.
Having a baby shouldn’t mean that you have to avoid nights out with your significant other, family or friends…especially at the holidays. It’s good for you to have fun and enjoy yourself!
Don’t Let Nursing Spoil the Party
Consider pumping just before you head out to a holiday party or event. Then plan to pump when you return home. Hopefully, you can either skip pumping while you’re out, or only do it once.
Keep in mind that leaking is always possible. So don’t forget the breast pads, and maybe even tuck away an extra bra somewhere, discreetly…just in case. Just because you’re nursing doesn’t mean your holiday dress or shirt needs to be ruined.
Breast Pumping at 30,000 Feet
Traveling for the holidays can be fun and exciting, but if you’re a nursing mom, it takes some preparation. That’s doubly true if you’re flying. Here’s how to make the trip easier:
- Pack extra supplies. This means extra breast shields, bottles, hands-free bras, a zipped baggie for used breast shields, towels, and everything else you’ll need.
- If you’re going to need to pump at the airport, ask ahead of time about a lactation room or family restroom you could use. Or your airline might have a private lounge or facility, especially if you’re a frequent-flyer member.
- Your breast pump is not considered a carry-on, because it’s a medical device. However, a cooler for bottles of breast milk does count as a carry-on. So you may need to pack carefully. (One tip…don’t forget the ice packs for the cooler.)
- If you’re taking pumped breast milk onto a plane for your baby: Frozen breastmilk packs, and bottles, are allowed to be more than 3 ounces. But you should declare them at your TSA check, even if they’re empty. Ask your TSA agent to use clean gloves before inspecting these supplies.
- The TSA agent doesn’t have to perform any tests on frozen breast milk. However, TSA agents might check thawed milk or fluids for explosives. An agent might ask you to open the container and/or have you transfer a small quantity of milk to a separate empty container. Be patient, and allow extra time for this. It’s federal law.
- If you’re pumping on a plane, it’s okay to do it in your seat. If you’re going to use a bathroom, it might be good to let a flight attendant know ahead of time, so he or she doesn’t potentially start knocking on the door after 10 minutes. But that is totally your choice.
- There might be different rules for international travel. Contact the consulate of your destination country ahead of time to ask about any regulations.
- Check the TSA website for guidelines about flying with baby formula, breast milk and juice.
Observe Good Hotel Hygiene
Ahead of time, make sure your hotel will have a clean refrigerator for storing your breast milk. And be careful about using tap water to clean your breast pump equipment. Tap water might or might not be safe. Consider using bottled water or sterilizing solution.
Take extra care with baby bottles, as well. If you need to clean baby bottles while at a hotel, consider using:
- Disposable bottles
- Disposable bottle liners
- Disposable sterilizing bags
- A single-bottle travel sterilizer
- Microwave steam sterilizer bags
Above All, Take Care of Yourself
The holidays can be draining, especially for moms with young kids. Make sure you eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, take some quiet time for yourself, and keep up any exercise schedule your doctor has approved. You’ll feel better and refreshed as a result.
Keeping up a regular breast-pumping schedule during the holidays can help you avoid mastitis or plugged milk ducts. With a little planning, you can avoid disruptions in your breast-pumping routine, and go back to having fun…while you also watch your baby enjoy the magic of the holidays.