and Traveling Abroad with Kids… while Pumping
I’m not going to sugar coat this, traveling can be stressful enough as it is, even when you don’t have two young children in tow. But try adding in the fact that you are traveling abroad and need to arrive 2+ hours earlier to the airport, you have to go through customs, there are time changes and currency exchanges, etc… and your head may feel like it’s going to explode.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that you are going to have to travel home with 200+ ounces of milk that you pumped while “on vacation” (like I recently did), and it almost seems easier to just stay home… [Except not really because I absolutely loved our trip and wish we could have stayed longer!!]
While I can’t promise you that it’s all going to be cake, I can at least give some helpful advice when it comes to traveling abroad with breastmilk, or even flying with breastmilk, in general, since I’ve done it multiple times – and how to make it all as seamless as possible.
Before I get into the actual tips, I’ll give you a little background on my latest trip: It was our 5th Wedding Anniversary and we decided to go back to where we spent our Honeymoon – Grand Cayman. We stayed in the same hotel (The Caribbean Club), but this time brought our 2 kids (our son is 3 ½ and daughter is 13 months). We also brought my MIL, which was great because we stayed in a place where she had her own room, and my husband and I actually got to go out to dinner by ourselves one night without having to worry about our littles.
I still nurse my daughter (and plan to until she is at least 18 months, as I did my son). I make a very large quantity of milk and so also provide it to 2 other families, and have for their entire lives, thus far. Since these babies rely on me to [literally] feed them, I don’t ever get a break from pumping, and in fact need to make sure I always eat, drink and pump enough as to keep up my supply. This is the reason why “pumping and dumping” on vacation is never an option, and adds an extra element of things to worry about while traveling with kids.
So again, having traveled many times while still needing to pump and save, these are my biggest tips and things I wish would have been spelled out for me.
Advice and Tips for Traveling with Breastmilk:
I will say, I was very anxious and hesitant about having to pump and then bring home so much breastmilk on the plane, but am pleasantly surprised at how much of a non-issue it really was. Granted, I was thoroughly prepared and have shipped more boxes of breastmilk than I could ever count. But still… This was my first time traveling abroad with breastmilk and I am happy to say that it was a success!
Plus, our vacation was absolutely incredible and worth every little “inconvenience” that my pumping may have caused ;). And most importantly, I have 2 [other] babies who are happy and well fed as well - along with my daughter, of course ;)