5 Travel Tips: The Pumping Mama's Pre-Flight Checklist
(Bonus: Free Printable Guide with TSA Guidelines)
It’s amazing how things that seemed so simple and straightforward pre-baby seem 10 times more complicated now that your life revolves around pumping and mommying. Little things we once took for granted, like, say, leaving the house, date night, or planning to be anywhere for longer than 3 hours are now massive undertakings that require their own special policies, checklists and procedures. Seriously, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. (Remember when you could just grab your handbag and head out the door? It seems like a distant memory!)
Now layer on something that was always a bit of a hassle to begin with — like traveling — and you’re bound to encounter a little turbulence along the way. If you’ve just recently gone back to work after maternity leave, you may still be adjusting to the new reality of back to work and pumping (pssst, have you snagged our FREE Going Back to Work Guide?). So when that first work trip as a pumping mom pops up on the calendar, it’s totally natural to have a mini meltdown in the lactation room tons of questions.
Sit back, relax, and bookmark this post for your next pumping sesh. I’m here to help you prepare for take-off with confidence and style.
5 Things to Do Before Your Next Work Trip as a Pumping Mom
- Call ahead and request a fridge in your hotel room.
If it’s an overnight trip, call your hotel ahead of time and see if there’s a fridge in your hotel room, and if not, request one.
Pro tip: Some hotels charge a fee for this extra amenity, but most of them will waive it for pumpin’ mamas. If they don’t offer to waive it up front, just ask.
Check your airline’s policies.
Some airlines consider breast pumps “medical devices,” which means they’re allowed as an additional item in addition to your carry-on and personal items. This is good to know if you’re wondering whether or not you’ll have to check any bags. If you have an extra-long flight or you’re flying internationally and you have to (gulp) pump in-flight, you may want to call and ask if electrical outlets are available onboard.
Pro tip: If you’re a frequent traveler, consider investing in a stylish, travel-friendly bag that has a dedicated space for a breast pump and laptop, plus extra space for personal belongings.
- Pack for pumping success.
Do you really want to go through airport security lugging around your manufacturer breast pump bag, a laptop bag and your purse. Can I get a heck, no? The right travel breast pump bag will have a crossbody or backpack option, dedicated space for your pump and accessories, a padded sleeve for your laptop and pleeenty of room for your US Weekly (hey, we don’t judge), tablet and snacks. If work trips are weekly or even monthly for you, it may even be totally worth it to have a dedicated travel breast pump bag packed and ready to go at all times.
Psssst! Check out our FULL packing checklist in the FREEBIE below.
Pro tip: Estimate how many times you’ll pump while on your trip and make sure your cooler is large enough for the amount of milk you plan to bring back. You may want to pack an extra collapsible cooler in your checked luggage, so you have extra storage.
- Set pump reminders in your phone.
When you’re on the go and off your day-to-day routine, it can be easy to lose track of time. Try to stay as close to your regular pumping schedule as possible by setting reminders in your phone and adding it to your calendar.
Know your rights.
It’s important to know that thanks to the The Bottles and Breastfeeding and Equipment Screening (BABES) Act, every TSA agent and screener across every airport in the U.S. has to follow the same screening policies and procedures. That said, the law is still fairly new, so we recommend that you print a copy of the TSA Guidelines (we have a FREE download below) and pack it in the side pocket of your breast pump bag for easy access as you go through security.
P.S. Have we told you lately that you’re an amazing mom? Because you truly are — and don’t ever doubt it, Mama.
Download and print your FREE Pumping Mom’s Guide to Frequent Flying now.
In this guide, you’ll find:
- TSA Breast Milk Guidelines
- Packing Checklist
- Tips for Transporting/Shipping Breast Milk While Traveling