As I mentioned yesterday, in the past month or so, I have been on 8 different airplanes for a couple of business trips. This meant I was traveling without my family, including babies, and would need to pump breast milk while away. I searched and read all over the internet, and still felt so overwhelmed and nervous before traveling. When would I pump? Would I have a place to pump? Would I have enough time between flights to pump? Would I have a hard time getting through security with my prized "mommy milk"? So many questions, and so many unknowns for this first time traveling pumping momma. But I found that it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd made it to be in my head, and with a little pre-planning and the right supplies, it was fairly stress free.
I previously shared the supplies I found essential to making my experience flying and pumping fairly stress free. Today, I’m sharing a few tips that I hope will help you feel more at ease and answer some questions you may have.
Packing & Supplies │ Carefully think about the supplies that you may need. Depending on where you are going, you may not have access to a store to pick things up. I was in foreign countries, with no Walmarts or Targets, so my packing was checked and checked again then triple checked. You can read the list of must haves that worked for me here.
Be Flexible │ Do the best your best to stick as closely to your schedule as you can but know that traveling is a time when you likely won’t be able to stick to your regular pumping schedule, especially if you aren’t comfortable pumping just anywhere.
Research Airports │ With a simple Google search, I found that the two major airports that I would be traveling through had special rooms dedicated to nursing/pumping moms and families. Miami International Airport had these AMAZING nursing pods for nursing/pumping only throughout the airport. They are private pods located at various gates in each terminal. The pods come equipped with a comfy bench, table, mirror, and outlets. I said it a million times on social media, but these made things so much easier! Since, I’ve seen that other airports have them as well.
Bring a Power Bank │ Not everywhere will have a lactation room, or perhaps you’re on a business trip where you won’t have access to your hotel room throughout the day. You may even need to pump in your airplane seat. A power bank will help put your mind at ease as to whether you’ll have a place to plug in your pump. Having access to an outlet anywhere will be a huge stress reliever.
Call Ahead │ Call ahead to double check that your room will have a mini-fridge. If not, request one. Kindly explain why it is needed, and, most of the time, hotels are happy to accommodate. If your mini-fridge doesn’t have a freezer, the night before departure, ask that your cooler pack be put in the hotel’s freezer for you to pick up before leaving.
Getting through Security │ This was the easiest part for me, and what stressed me out the most. I would be traveling out of the country and the rules aren’t always consistent with the U.S., but I had no problems at all at the foreign airports. I did have to have my milk go through extra screening in Miami. Even so, it wasn’t too big a deal. My biggest takeaways are 1) Make sure that you remove the cooler bag with milk from your other bag. 2) Let the TSA agent know you are traveling with breast milk, all that I encountered simply nodded and we all went on like normal, well because it IS normal. 3) If your milk does have to go through extra screening, ask that the agent doing the check put on fresh gloves. And don’t worry, they won’t take your milk out of your sight. 4) Just relax. TSA is used to this, even if you are not. Most agents will treat you and your milk with respect and care.
I hope these tips will help put your mind at ease about pumping & traveling. Please reach out to me with any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them. Or do you have any tips to add? I would love to hear them!
In the past month or so, I have been on 8 different airplanes for a couple of business trips. This meant I was traveling without my family, including babies, and would need to pump breast milk while away. I searched and read all over the internet, and still felt so overwhelmed and nervous before traveling. When would I pump? Would I have a place to pump? Would I have enough time between flights to pump? Would I have a hard time getting through security with my prized "mommy milk"? So many questions, and so many unknowns for this first time traveling pumping momma. But I found that it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd made it to be in my head, and with a little pre-planning and the right supplies, it was fairly stress free.
Under Plane Seat Rolling Bag │ Baby Onesies │ Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags │ Pump Wipes
Power Bank │ Cooler Pack │ Breast Milk Bags │ Cooler Bag
One of the main things that helped me make it through flying and pumping with minimal to zero tears (I say minimal since of course there were tears being away from my babies overnight) was the right supplies! Without them, it would have been a lot harder than it had to be. In addition to my breast pump, these are my go-to traveling pumping mom's must haves.
Under Plane Seat Rolling Bag │ This was a HUGE help! This rolling bag fit my cooler pack, breast pump, and pump supplies PLUS fit under the seat in front of me! This was huge for two reasons. 1) No need for multiple, cumbersome bags. 2) My milk was in my sight at ALL times.
Baby Onesies │ A couple of onesies or stuffed animals from my babies' closet and photos of them were huge not only for promoting milk production, but for my emotions as well. It was comforting to be able to smell them while away,
Breast Milk Bags │ So now is NOT the time to skimp on cheap milk bags. Good quality milk bags are ESSENTIAL in traveling with breast milk. These are my favorite.
Gallon Ziploc Freezer Bags │ You'll need something else to pump your milk bags in before storing them in the cooler bag to bring them home. Gallon freezer bags are the perfect size, sturdiness, plus great for when you pop everything into the freezer when you get home. I prefer freezer bags since they are not only sturdier, but have a stronger seal, in case of leaks while traveling.
Cooler Pack │ A cooler pack to freeze for transporting milk was a must. Some recommend freezing the milk for transport and allowing the milk to keep itself cold, but I had long travel days and was afraid of the milk thawing. This cooler pack was great, kept frozen all day, and fit in my bag perfectly.
Cooler Bag │ I have tried 3 or 4 different bags for my milk when I was working an 8 to 5, this bag is hands down my favorite, especially when traveling with several days worth of milk. It fits my cooler pack, 2 gallon bags of individual bags of milk, AND fits in the rolling bag.
Pump Wipes │ For cleaning on the go, these Medela wipes are excellent! For sterilizing between pumps on fly days, these were huge lifesavers. These were also great for sterilizing after washing with soap as well. I would wash, wipe with the sterilizing wipes, then air dry.
Bottle Soap │ Even though you're traveling, you can wash your parts in the bathroom sink. I brought along a small container of my favorite bottle soap for a good hand scrub scrub of my pump parts. You could also try Medela's no scrub soap for on the go.
Power Bank │ A power bank is a HUGE lifesaver! You may find yourself in tiny airports with no private places to pump other than a bathroom (I know, GROSS! But we have to do our best) or a quiet corner, and you'll need a place to plug in. Then, whomp whomp whomp, no outlet. This will be your saving grace!
I know with this list can seem long and overwhelming, but once you have all of these items working together, you'll find that traveling and pumping isn't quiet as bad as it seems. I hope this list will help you prepare. I'll be sharing my tips for traveling and pumping tomorrow. See ya then!
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Your flight is booked, your hotel is confirmed, now you’re not sure how much cash to budget for when you arrive in New York City. What will I want to buy? What extra activities like museums and shows will I want to do? How much does a meal really cost? Below are some tips and information on planning your budget for when you get there.
I always remind myself when traveling that meals are going to cost more than what I’m used to. I’m also more likely to splurge on a meal when traveling, like trying a fancy steakhouse, seafood, or cuisine I’ve never had. For New York, that is no exception. How do I “alleviate the pain” of the higher cost? Simple. Only one to two meals a day. I have a small meal/snack for breakfast from Starbucks or a nearby corner bakery. Then do one or two bigger meals throughout the day. On one meal days, I’ll usually find a snack around lunch/in the evening depending on when I’m planning for the more expensive meal.
Plan ahead. I know that I really love Gallaghers Steakhouse in Times Square. They were the inventor of the New York Strip Steak. I also know that my steak of choice there is $56, not including sides. This is a price that I would never pay at home, but when in New York, right? By looking at menus and planning ahead, I won’t be surprised by the bill.
I also want to add, the prices at Gallaghers aren’t typical of all NYC restaurants—there are some that cost more and some that cost less. I think you’ll find that most aren’t that far off in price than restaurants at home.
Something I do for all trips is pre-book activities (attractions, museums, shows, etc.) that I know I want to do. Though in all cases it may not be a savings, it does help when budgeting. Plus, when you get there, your activities are paid for, then you have more cash for other extras. Now, you’ll likely find other things you want to do while you’re there, but you at least have most already covered.
Skip the Taxi
Taxis and Ubers in New York City are expensive in comparison to the subway. Take a taxi once if you must, otherwise stick to the budget-friendly subway. I’ve share more tips about using the subway here.
Plan your Shopping Ahead
Do you want to shop at Tiffany’s or Saks Fifth Avenue? Then you know you need a larger budget. Do you want to shop small like at local shops or markets? Then you can make your money go a lot farther. My favorite place to shop for goodies to bring home during the Christmas season are Christmas markets. You can find ornaments, scarves, nick knacks, shirts, and more. You might also consider visiting vintage shops to find luxury brand pieces at great prices. There are great lists of vintage shops on Pinterest. I’ve pinned a few here.
I also can’t resist a visit to Macy’s Herald Square which is much more on my level of department store shopping than Saks Fifth Avenue. They always seem to have great sales as well. I do plan to purchase a little (I reiterate little) something at Tiffany’s the next time I visit New York (something I’ve always said I wanted to do, but never have), so I’ll look at their site online, get an idea of what I want and how much it costs so I can plan accordingly. Shopping wise—it’s about how much you want to spend. In my opinion, pricing is well in line with items at home.
Skip the Times Square Souvenirs
There are vendors on every corner in Times Square (and the Brooklyn Bridge)—just keep walking. Most of the items can be found at markets, Chinatown, or take your own photos for a way better price. There are also hordes of souvenir shops in Times Square filled with cheap t-shirts and post cards. Pop into to American Eagle instead and grab a quality “New York” t-shirt that won’t fade after one wash.
I know there are endless budgeting tips for New York City, but these are just a few to get you started. Do you have any thoughts or questions? Or do you have your own tips to add? I’d love to hear!
Before we know it, the Christmas season will be here! I'm so excited to head to New York City again for a long weekend this December. The holiday spirit in New York is infectious, and I can't wait to immerse myself in it again! For me, it is truly magical that time of year, and I'll never tire of all of the beautiful Christmas hot spots.
To ease the anticipation of my trip, I put together a collection of photos from some of my favorite Christmas spots in the Big Apple. Along with that, I'm sharing a few tidbits/tips/facts about Christmas time in New York City. From a Christmas concert at St. Patrick's Cathedral to giant Christmas ornaments on the Avenue of Americas to Christmas tree stands on corners—Christmas in New York City is everything the ultimate Christmas obsessed dreams of!
Tidbits about Christmas Time in New York City