As I mentioned last week, this week is my first work trip since I had my baby. I’m a little anxious about leaving the Mini Warrior, to be sure. Another big concern is that I’m still nursing. How do I pump and transport an entire day’s worth of milk through the airport, to my client’s office, and then back home? Luckily, I am part of a great mom’s group, and they helped me put together a strategy. (I would like to send a huge thank you to my friend Terri from Finding Drishti, who gave me tons of great advice. You rock, Terri!!)
Pack the supplies! I am bringing my pump (Medela Pump in Style ), a cooler (similar to this PackIt cooler from Amazon), frozen gel packs, dish soap for cleaning pump parts (kept in a contact lens case), milk storage bags, and gallon and quart sized Ziplock bags. It was recommended to bring extra bags just in case.
Make sure there will be a place to pump at the office. I don’t need to worry about it this time, but next time I travel I will have to pump at my client’s office. Even though it feels a little awkward, I will have to ask my contact if there is a mother’s room available.
Request a mini-fridge in the hotel. You can store your milk and cooler in the fridge at the hotel, but likely you will have to specifically request it. Don’t worry about freezing it—as one friend said, “You can always freeze your milk once you’re home, but you can’t refreeze it if something happens and it unfreezes.”
Pump before you leave for airport. This is great advice—I will pump at home before I leave. This way I don’t have to worry about it until I arrive at the hotel.
Plan pumping into the schedule. It’s super important pump regularly, which means you have to build time into your schedule for it. One place where that will be tricky is between my meeting and the airport, when I have a narrow window of time. I am going to try to pump in the car in a parking lot (I have done this before—just cover up with a blanket), but if there is no time I may end up in the airport restroom. Oh well.
Wear something pumping friendly. I had my outfit all planned, and was super excited to wear a dress I got right before I got pregnant, and haven’t gotten to wear much since. Until I realized that to pump I would literally have to take the dress off. No thank you!! I will be wearing slacks, a cute nursing top (similar to this one from Target), and a cardigan. I’ll wear my cute dress when I get back home!
Transporting 101. I’m going to store my milk in 2 and 3 oz increments, so if there’s a leak I won’t lose much. I will put those small bags in a gallon size bag inside my cooler. At the hotel and the office I will put it in a refrigerator. The gel packs will keep everything cold during transport, but just in case I will fill up a quart size bag with ice once I get to the airport. Take it out when you get to the security checkpoint. Let TSA know you have breastmilk and just send it through the X-ray machine, or you can request for them to visually inspect it.
It sounds like a lot of details to keep up with, that’s for sure. But that’s the way it is now! I have to at least try to get this milk home, because the idea of throwing out 30 oz makes me want to cry. After my trip I will let you all know how it goes!
Readers, any advice? Did I cover everything?
ETA: For those of you who are interested, here is what the TSA says about traveling with breast milk.
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