I went away in January for 5 days sans baby. I was nervous leaving my Sugar Plum for such a long time, and I was also fearful my supply would suffer. Before my trip I researched online about other moms, mainly moms who traveled for business, maintaining their supplies while away from the baby for days at a time. I did not come across many who left for a period longer than 2-3 days, but, any insight into the matter helps.
What I learned that helped me?
–Pumping consistently & as frequently as you would if you were nursing your child
–Drink lots of fluids, water especially.
–Take galactogogues (fenugreek tea or capsules, Mother’s Milk tea, More Milk Plus)
–Relax & try not to worry
–Carrying pictures of the baby
–How to storage the milk to bring back
What hurt the most?
Being away from her wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. I was sad of course the first few days. I wasn’t at all worried because I knew she was in good hands, that is, of course until two days into my trip we learned my Father had passed. That is when I began to worry. Good thing I have a pretty good network of family and friends who were able to step up, and step in when I was out of the country.
Back to what hurt the most… Throwing away over 40 oz per day of milk!!! There were times I hesitated pouring the milk into the sink after I had pumped. Before I had left, I searched to see if I would be able to donate my milk while in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and was basically shut down. When I find the content of the email I will post.
How did I manage to pump so often & where?
Okay, in the beginning I tried sticking to our normal schedule, which is 7 a.m., 11 a.m 2 p.m 5/6 p.m and so on. When you are out and about, and there were sometimes nowhere I would be able to pump in peace, I’d have to wait until we returned to our condo. Otherwise, I would pump in a bathroom. I’d say I didn’t go more than 4 hours in between each session. Thankfully, my supply did not suffer (too much).
On the plane I used my Medela Harmony. Lord! Using my Medela Pump Instyle Advance has spoiled me so. The handwork that goes into getting what would normally take me 10 minutes to get out took what seemed like forever!!! I was able to discreetly use the Harmony, hidden under my jacket. It made no noise, unlike the Pump Instyle Advance. Plus, during the early flight everyone was sleeping. Also, sitting near the window helped with the level of discretion.
Bringing Milk Back
I was nervous about bringing milk back. I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to bring, and whether or not the TSA would give me trouble. Fortunately, I ended up bringing back a ton of milk. I would say I saved milk from the last 2 days in Puerto Vallarta, as well as the day we spent traveling back. I had a lot!
Storing the milk was pretty easy. Instead of leaving them in the bottles, I brought storage bags with me since they take up less space. I had a cooler and two of the Medela icepacks, as well as some ziplock freezer bags just incase I needed to fill them with extra ice.
I placed the milk in between each bag, making sure the bags stayed as close to the icepacks as possible. Added some ice to the ziplock since all of the milk wouldn’t fit into the bag. After it was packed I put it in my carry-on. We were off.
I had no trouble at the airport. I had written a note on my cooler bag that read “Esto es la leche de materna.” That’s it. The only issue I had was at LaGuardia airport when the TSA agent wanted to look through my pump bag. That’s when I made him change his gloves. He obliged. No sir, you are not touching what I make my daughters food with, with those gloves you’ve touched who knows what else with.
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Important Information on Traveling With Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice
CDC Breast feeding recommendations
P.S. Remember I was worried I wouldn’t have enough milk at home for her. I had more than enough stashed 🙂