Let me preface this by saying I feel incredibly blessed to be able to feed Graham and provide for him, but I'm not a lover of breastfeeding (totally being honest!). I don't think it is "best" because I believe it is best that your baby be fed, however that needs to happen. But, since I have a good supply and have no reason to stop, I needed to figure out how I'd pump while away from my baby for four days.
After reading different blogs, and now going through it, here are my tips for successfully pumping while traveling without your little one.
1. Pump and dump. I know some people really need to save their milk, but I have over 200 bags stored up, plus I was drinking wine all day, so pumping and dumping was the most logical thing to do. And, it made it so much easier. If you need to save your milk, you need to make sure the hotel has a fridge, make sure you have ice packs to travel back with, and be ready to disclose everything to security at the airport. Honestly, I pump about 12oz in 8 minutes, so I'd need a freaking Yeti to get my milk back and that just was not going to happen.
2. Bring along a cardigan or a nursing cover. I have a nursing cover and it was so easy to put that on and be covered up. I was pumping at a wine tasting and the ladies didn't even notice...until they heard my pump! Ha! My nursing cover goes all the way around my body, so I didn't have to worry about my back hanging out.
3. Be willing to whip it out anywhere. I literally pumped across the Golden Gate Bridge, in the Uber, at a winery, in a restaurant bathroom, on a ferry, on a wine tour bus, and all over the airport.
4. Store your pump in a big bag or backpack and keep the battery pack and tubes hooked up. I kept my pump all ready to go that way I only had to put on my cover, put on my hands-free bra, and hook up. Having the tubes and battery all ready to go made it easy to just turn the switch and start. I didn't even have to get the pump out of my bag.
5. Make sure you have a battery pack. You won't always be near a plug!
6. Be okay with all your parts getting dirty, and staying dirty. I texted Chris the first morning I was gone and told him to get on Amazon and order me all new parts. I was sitting in the family bathroom at DFW, pumping, and realized there was no way to keep all my parts super clean. Knowing I had all new parts when I got home made me feel better about times when I didn't have a place to wash them.
7. Buy these wipes. Even though I'd prefer soap and water, these wipes helped keep things from getting really gross.
8. Find the nursing rooms in the airport. Almost all airports have them and SFO has really nice ones everywhere! It was a luxury being able to sit in a recliner and pump before we got on the plane.
9. Bring lids to the bottles you pump in to. When I pumped across the Golden Gate, I didn't have any place to dump my milk because we were on a bus, so I just capped it and dumped it out later on.
10. Bring several gallon size bags. I didn't want my purse or backpack to get milk drops all inside, so each time I rinsed out or wiped down my parts I'd just throw them into a gallon size storage bag. Then, when we got back to the hotel, I'd clean them with soap, let them dry, then the next morning I'd store them in a fresh gallon bag and toss the used one.
11. Bring the cream. I use this kind and it was a life saver. I'm not used to pumping so much and it was so painful!!
12. Wear a nursing tank or bra all the time. These are my favorite! Wearing a tank is so much easier than having to pull up or push down a real bra. Personally, I wore a nursing tank everyday and it was really easy.
13. Wear nursing friendly outfits. Even though you aren't nursing, you are still having to whip them out frequently. You can read all about my nursing friendly (and cute) wardrobe here!
14. Don't let it stop you. I was bound and determined to not miss out on anything because I had to pump. It was not convenient bringing a giant purse everywhere, but I was able to make it work without always having to excuse myself to a bathroom.
Do you have any additional tips for pumping while traveling? I'd love to hear!