Friday, November 7, 2014

Breastfeeding on the Fly

From Second Life Marketplace
by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

Planning to travel with baby over the holidays? If your little one is nursing, then you need to think about the logistics of traveling with a nursling. Honestly, it really isn't that difficult. It just requires a little forethought and planning. The CDC has some terrific guidelines for breastfeeding mothers who are traveling with or without their babies.

Exclusive Breastfeeders

If your infant is exclusively breastfeeding, then you will need to nurse every 2-3 hours (or more frequently). Take-off and landing are ideal times for moms to be nursing because the sucking helps to equalize the pressure in baby's ears. In light of recent snafus regarding nursing moms, most airlines want to avoid the public relations nightmare that would ensue if they show even the slightest discrimination against a nursing mom. Since infants travel free in their parents' arms, the best place for baby during take-off and landing is at mom's breast.

Whether you use a cover or not is entirely up to you. Some mothers feel much more comfortable with a cover, while other moms can't stand the way baby fights the cover. You need to do whatever works best for you! However, you may find that wearing baby in a  baby sling or soft structured carrier may make your trip easier because you will have free hands, baby will be close to you and less likely to fuss, and a carrier can allow for discreet nursing as you walk through the airport.

Some airlines have specific policies which govern their treatment of nursing mothers. If you are asked to cover up, you do have the right to refuse. If another passenger is uncomfortable with your breastfeeding, you should respectfully discuss options with a flight attendant. Making your baby eat under a blanket is NOT one of those options, however. Perhaps the offended passenger can be moved to another seat. Or maybe they can find a different seat for you. You can remind the flight attendant that a baby who is quietly nursing is much more delightful than a screaming, hungry, frustrated, uncomfortable baby in the cramped quarters of an airplane.

Older Babies
Baby's own homemade photo album is a great travel toy!

If your baby is eating solids, you can take pureed baby food with you. Just be sure to tell the security agents you have medically necessary baby food with you. Of course, you can take Cheerios and other packaged foods as well. When baby needs to nurse, though, feel free to do whatever you need to do. Remind anyone who asks that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies breastfeed at least a year and as long as Mother and Baby both want to beyond that. The World Health Organization actually recommends 2 years of breastfeeding. 

Be sure to pack plenty of age-appropriate toys/distractions. You will be BUSY keeping baby entertained. If you are traveling to visit relatives, create a photo album for baby with pictures of everybody you will be seeing. Also be sure that you bring baby's favorite lovey or blanket. That will make it much easier at nap time. This site has some great tips for traveling with babies of various ages! 

Bon Voyage!

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