Breastfeeding is hard, traveling while breastfeeding shouldn’t have to be. As a traveling Speech Language Pathologist with my second baby, I spent almost 3-4 hours of my 8 hour work day driving. Yikes, that is a lot of driving for anyone, let alone a newly breastfeeding mama.
You may be wondering to yourself “how on earth did she find the time to pump”. Truth be told, I struggled daily. Since I was a traveling therapist, I struggled to find a designated place to pump. “Where does a traveling mama pump” you may ask? Anywhere you can find a plug! I was forced to pump in my car (hello, get a car charger), in the bathroom, in the gymnasium storage closet and even in several work meetings. I literally pumped everywhere.
This as you could imagine was very challenging. Despite all the laws that are in place by congress, employers rarely place any sort of emphasis on following or implementing them. Thankfully, breastfeeding apps like Pump Hero and lactation Pods such as Mamava are being placed in airports and shopping stores around the country! These breastfeeding locations are so important for a mama to maintain her milk supply.
Within 4 weeks of returning back to work from maternity leave, my once over-abundant supply of breastmilk dipped to almost an astounding 40%. I was devastated, but I didn’t let the fear of my supply dropping get me into a panic. I found a few resources that really helped me out.
- I sought support from friends and breastfeeding-friendly Facebook groups.
- I searched mommy blogs such as “Motherly”, and soon found amazing resources that would help complement breastfeeding and my busy work schedule.
- I found a breastfeeding schedule and followed it with little deviation (put reminders in your phone or work calendar if you need to).
- I also found and invested in a few books to read while pumping. One of my favorite breastfeeding books is Pump Mama Pump. This book is awesome and provides so many relatable breastfeeding events.
Although I hadn’t transitioned back to work as well as I had hoped, my breast pumping at work improved significantly.
There are also mamas who travel more than just driving - they are flying! There are also resources that are available for state-to-state traveling mamas.
- Ship your breast milk home with Milk Stork.
- Plan ahead and see if the state your are traveling to has a local milk bank. You can look at websites like The Human Milk Bank of North America and find a milk bank by state. You should contact the bank ahead of time to get pre-screening information to become an approved donor.
- While this option should be exercised with caution, Human Milk 4 Human Babies is a global network of families that have chosen to share their breast milk via Facebook groups. Cofounder Jeannie used this group to donate her breast milk while traveling to Tennessee for the Business Boutique Conference.
- When flying on a plane with your breast milk, be sure to read what TSA's rules are and tell security that you have the milk with you. If you're in the US, containers of frozen milk may be checked by just looking at them. Fresh, thawed, or slushy milk may be further examined. You may be asked to open the container of breast milk and pour some out to test for explosives.
The journey through breastfeeding varies from person to person, and is undoubtedly difficult at times, but true consistency will help you succeed in accomplishing your breastfeeding goals!
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