How to Pack Like a Pro When You're Breastfeeding
Before kid(s), going away for a weekend was easy. You threw your Kindle and a pair of yoga pants in a tote bag and (hopefully) remembered to water the plants. But when you’re breastfeeding, getting away—even for a few days—is more complicated. Don’t worry. Do use this handy guide to get you out the door and onto your adventure.
Pack these breastfeeding essentials.
What to wear? Think uniform and think minimalist. Also: roll clothes to make more room. Whatever activities your weekend may include, the following items will serve you well.
1-2 nursing bras and/or a hands-free pumping bra
A nursing tank or two (for layering and bedtime)
1 sweater or long-sleeved top (perhaps something that looks fancy-ish)
A pair of jeans
Black pants for walking during the day and rocking out (whatever that means these days) at night
A lightweight poncho or shawl (it's both the perfect accessory and a great nursing/pumping/cover)
Breastfeeding moms definitely have more stuff, but simplify your life by packing all your equipment in one bag.
Milk storage bags (plus extra bags)
Batteries (plus extra batteries)
Soft insulated cooler and ice-packs
Power adaptor (for car)
A manual pump (because you never know)
Don’t forget the small things that can make a big difference if you don’t have them when you need them.
Easy healthy snacks (e.g., granola bars, nuts)
Refillable water bottle (breastfeeding mamas need to stay hydrated)
If you’re traveling by car...
It’s tempting to overpack, because why not? But the more you minimize, the less time you’ll spend sorting through bags, looking for things when you need them (like a clean onesie?!) Try to time feedings or pumping sessions with other pit stops. Use that time to rest and replenish. Settle into an out-of-the-way booth at the food court or, if the weather is nice, find some shade outside (both work well for pumping too). In any case, plan to give yourself more time. Maybe you’ll arrive at your destination a little later, but you’ll arrive feeling better and less stressed. Which is why you’re getting away in the first place.
If you’re traveling by plane...
Packing light (see above!) to avoid checking your bag. Hot tip: a stylish backpack can double as a diaper/pump bag and personal bag. Reserve a window seat for more privacy and space and let a flight attendant know you’re breastfeeding or pumping, in case there’s an empty row. The toughest times for babies tend to be take-off and arrival, so plan to nurse to help ease changes in air pressure. If you’re traveling with your robot-baby (pump!), be sure to know your TSA rights before you head to the airport.
If you’re traveling by train...
Again, window seat for the win! You’ll have a bit more room and privacy, plus older babies can watch scenes zoom by. If you’re pumping, be forewarned that trains are notoriously challenging spaces for pumping moms. Your best bet? Pump before you’re all aboard! (Mamava is now in five major Amtrak stations.)