7 Things That Make Pumping While Traveling All the Easier
“I can’t wait to pump!” said no mom ever. Expressing breast milk is a necessary task for many, but that doesn’t make it fun—especially when you add travel into the mix. When you’re gearing up for a trip away from baby, the hassle of figuring out where to pump, how to clean your pump parts and how to safely store and transport your milk can be daunting for sure. Luckily, there are several products out there designed with on-the-go pumping mamas in mind. Here, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite things that help take the stress out of pumping while traveling.
The question of where to pump while traveling can be a real head-scratcher. Finding a clean space with a table, chair and outlet is a tall ask when you’re in transit. Enter: the Willow Wearable Breast Pump. It’s the first-ever hands-free, wireless pump that fits directly into your bra without any attachments and pumps silently. Since there are no flanges, no tubing, no cords and no collection bottles, you can pump discreetly with your clothes on wherever you happen to be. The corresponding app tracks your milk output so you can check on your progress without peeking under your shirt.
Buy it: Willow Wearable Breast Pump, $480, WillowPump.com
A newcomer to the market, the NOONI’s Leak-Resistant Nursing Bra is a serious game-changer. In the early days of breastfeeding, when your body is in milk-making overdrive, leakage is inevitable. But when you’re on a trip, the last thing you want is to show up to a meeting or dinner in a milk-stained shirt. Lots of new moms stuff nursing pads into their bras to absorb any leaks, but you have to continually swap out the soaked pads for fresh ones. Plus, the outline of the pad can sometimes show through your shirt. Which is where the NOONI’s bra comes in handy. It’ll keep you dry and comfy day and night, no pads needed. And when you’re ready to pump, the nursing design gives you easy access.
Buy it: NOONI’s Leak-Resistant Nursing Bra, $50, ShopNoonis.com
Nursing covers aren’t just a handy accessory for breastfeeding in public—they’re great for providing extra coverage when you need to pump in public too. (Hello, long flights.) This long, poncho-style cover from Milkmaid Goods drapes over your shoulders and covers your front and back for maximum privacy. It’s made from soft, stretchy, lightweight fabric to keep you comfy while you pump, and can repurposed as a car seat cover when you’re back home with baby. Best of all, thanks to the stylish cut and trendy patterns, people might mistake it for a chic looking shawl.
Buy it: Buffalo Plaid Black and White Nursing Poncho & Car Seat Cover, $33, MilkmaidGoods.com
Keeping all your pump parts clean is a crucial step in safely pumping milk for baby. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing your pump kit with soap and water as soon as possible after every use and let it all air dry. At home, this is no biggie—but on the road, it can prove a bit of a challenge. The OXO Tot On-the-Go Drying Rack is a travel-size cleaning kit with a brush to scrub your parts and a rack for easy air-drying.
Buy it: OXO Tot On-the-Go Drying Rack with Bottle Brush $15, Amazon.com
If you happen to be in your hotel room when you pump, washing your pump parts in the sink after a session is easy. But what if you don’t happen to be near running water? You use Medela’s Quick Clean Breast Pump Wipes. Unscented and alcohol- and bleach-free, these wipes let you clean your pump shields, valves and membranes in a jiffy, without soap or water. (They’re also great for cleaning high chairs, changing tables and toys once you’re back home.)
Buy it: Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump and Accessory Wipes, $25 for 72 wipes, Amazon.com
After pumping, you’ll of course need a cool place to store your milk. If you’ll be staying at a hotel, call ahead and ask for a room with a mini-fridge. (Insider tip: It may be offered at no charge, since breast milk is considered a medical liquid.) When you’re pumping away from your hotel, a cooler bag will let you safely carry your milk around until you’re back in your room. The PackIt Freezable Baby Bottle Cooler is a standout due to the fact that it doesn’t require any ice packs—instead, it features patented cooling technology built right into the bag. All you need to do is fold the cooler flat and stash in the freezer overnight, and it’ll be ready to go in the morning.
Buy it: PackIt Freezable Baby Bottle Cooler for Breastmilk and Formula, $19, Amazon.com
For trips shorter than four days, it’s best to keep your milk refrigerated instead of frozen. That’s because if your milk happens to defrost on your way home, you’ll have to use it all within 24 hours or toss it. For longer trips, you’ll have to freeze it and pack it up with dry ice (a tricky matter)—or ship your refrigerated milk home with an innovative service called Milk Stork. They ship a cooler (along with milk storage bags) directly to your hotel; you pack it with your breast milk, and your pre-labeled, post-paid package is then FedExed overnight to your home. The cooler provides 72 hours of refrigeration without relying on ice, gel packs or dry ice.
Buy it: Starting at $139 for a cooler accommodating 34 ounces, MilkStork.com
Published August 2018
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.