TRAVELING WITH (or without!) BABY

The Nest's Noticings for the Week...

Favorite Product: Today we talked about a few products that are great for travel, including:

Parenting Resource or Tip: Today I showed you how I pack diapers with a ziploc bag, wipes, and a disposable changing pad inside for easy airplane travel. For lots of other helpful travel tips, check out this great blog.

Baby Signs to Use: Airplane, Car, Train, and Boat

Baby Songs to Sing: The Wheels on the Bus, Row Row Row Your Boat

Developmental Play Tip: If you have a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, you have an easy sensory experience and possibly even art project for your little one! Here are some ideas of easy, mess-free ways that you can incorporate sensory play into your baby’s life. Always watch your baby closely during these activities as baby should never be alone with a plastic bag (or possibly the materials you put inside)!

 Ziploc bag painting and color mixing

Ziploc bag painting and color mixing

  Colored shaving cream  sensory bags from SimplePlayIdeas.com

Colored shaving cream sensory bags from SimplePlayIdeas.com

  Baby Oil Sensory Bag  from PlayCreateExplore.com

Baby Oil Sensory Bag from PlayCreateExplore.com

Today's Topic:  TRAVELING WITH (or without!) BABY

Today we talked about Traveling. Whether you’re traveling for work or for fun, staying overnight with local grandparents, going on a long car drive, or traveling internationally on an airplane, travel can be intimidating! Try to focus on enjoying your time, don’t worry too much about packing everything that you own, and remember that at the very least, you will have some great stories about surviving travel with OR without your baby! ;)

Traveling for Work

1) Do I even travel / Should I tell my employer no?  

This is truly a personal decision and you ultimately have to do what feels best to you but it's important to consider all the options.  

  • Is your employer willing to offer any accommodations?  Some will pay for a companion to travel with you (nanny, grandma, etc) so that you can bring baby with you.  Some will also pay for breastmilk shipping service - particularly if it's a long trip where you will need to pump and ship milk back quickly for baby to have while you are away.  www.milkstork.com has programs for employees and individuals and companies have been known to pay the individual rates if they don't have a full-blown program in place.
  • If you don't travel - what care will you need to have in place while you are gone?  Can a family member pitch in?  Can you extend hours with your nanny or daycare provider?  Is your husband/partner able to flex his/her hours to handle more childcare that week?
  • What are the implications of your going/ not going?  Think about the opportunities you might miss at work and whether or not it's worth it!
  • If you choose to go, Remember baby WILL be okay without you!  And older babies can facetime and will be so excited to see you when you return 

2) How do I pump enough milk?

  • As soon as you are aware that you'll be traveling start adding in an extra pump session to build up a stash if you don't already have one.
  • Ideally, you want to add pumping after the first feed of the day.  This is typically when you have the most milk.  The first few times you try and pump you may not get much, but you should start to see some extra drops building up as your body realizes it has to adjust to a larger need!
  • Ask around, people swear by cookies, fenugreek, the tea, etc to boost supply.  And remember the biggest key is to drink a TON of water!  
  • Some people may also add in formula.  Any breastmilk is great so even if you are only able to pump enough for part of the day, it's still worth it (as long as its not making mom super stressed and miserable).  At the end of the day fed is best!

3) I have to pump on the plane/airport!

  • Most airports now have nursing rooms including LAX.  Plan to get there earlier so you have time to squeeze a pumping session in before boarding.
  • On the plane - if you prefer to pump into the bathroom, let a flight attendent know. They are usually really nice and will make sure to keep people from knocking on the door every 10 seconds!
  • If you prefer to pump in your seat - most planes now have power at each seat, just look up the plane you are flying before hand.  Bring both a normal charger and a car adapter if possible.  Freemie cups make pumping discreetly easier (you tuck the cups into your nursing bra).  Or bring a cover!  Spectra has a new portable pump - the S9 that is great for travel but slightly less effective then the S1 and S2.  The Willow Pump is like the Freemie but cordless!
  • You can also just use a hand pump and at least do enough to get some relief if you don't want/need to do a full session.

4) Traveling with breastmilk

  • Breastmilk does not count as a carry on and is an extra medical need.
  • If it's liquid, tsa will need to test each bottle
  • If you freeze it, tsa will look at it but will not test it!
  • YES you can bring breastmilk through without a baby. It's helpful to have the tsa page flagged on your phone or printed out, just in case.  But MOST tsa agents are fully aware and you can always just ask for a manager.
  • If you travel with your milk home, you can pack it in dry ice and carry it on, just make sure you look up requirements by the airline (TSA is 5.5 lbs of dry ice, some airlines vary).  
  • Consider shipping it (e.g. www.milkstork.com)

Here is some more details about freezing milk: https://balancedbreastfeeding.com/traveling-with-breastmilk/

Freezing and Flying

You may decide that it is actually best to freeze your milk during your trip. Some donor milk is delivered frozen and some mamas may be away for long enough that they need to freeze their milk so their babies can still drink it later.

Check with the airline about cooler requirements. For example, Southwest will not allow Styrofoam coolers. Buried on their website are the guidelines for Southwest on traveling with frozen items. Their dry ice limit is five pounds, while TSA’s is five and a half pounds. There is always the chance that no one will weigh your dry ice, but it is important to consider both TSA’s guidelines (linked above) and those of the airline you are using, as they may not be exactly the same.

Freeze your milk flat in the bags so that it stacks more easily. Line the bottom of the cooler with ice packs, stack the milk bags, then add one layer of newspaper or similar light barrier on top. On top of the sheet of newspaper, place your bag of dry ice. If there is a gap between the dry ice and the top of the cooler, place more newspaper on top of the dry ice to minimize the empty space so that the bags of milk won’t move around, as the bags can be slightly brittle from the low temperature of the dry ice.

There are some other points to note about dry ice: Dry ice can be bought at grocery stores, so you can pick some up on the last day of your trip. Call the store before going just to be sure they have some in stock. Once you have removed the dry ice from the store’s insulated freezer, it will begin to evaporate. Once the dry ice is completely evaporated, you have at least six hours before the milk starts to thaw. Keep this time frame in mind and consider the length of your flight when planning to travel with frozen milk.

Your cooler of milk will count as a carry-on item. An airline agent or TSA agent should designate your cooler with a sticker to indicate that there is dry ice inside. When you go through security, be armed with your knowledge of what TSA and your specific airline allow. This will help if any agent gives you difficulty about your frozen breastmilk stash.

Remember that frozen milk, ice packs, and coolers are heavy! Purchasing a luggage cart and bringing it with you to the airport may help you wheel your carry-on items on and off the plane.

5) Do you pay a nanny hourly overnight?  

  • Most moms will pay hourly while baby is awake and then a standard overnight fee - e.g. $50-100 

6) How do I store my milk while traveling?

  • Ask the hotel to provide you with a mini fridge in your room.  If not possible, ask if you can have space in a refrigerator or freezer assigned to employees  - again if you get hassled, ask for a manager!
  • At a conference or on client calls, bring a small freezer bag to store your milk throughout the day.  Breastmilk is good for 4-6 hours just at room temp.  Here are the current guidelines from medela (https://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/article/9/breast-milk-storage)
  • Call ahead - talk to the conference organizer or the admin at the offices you'll be visiting.  With a plan, you feel more confident and ultimately find it easier to meet your pumping goals!

Traveling with Baby

-        ASK FOR HELP! People are generally super nice and want to help you! Most flight attendants will be more than happy to hold your baby while you go to the bathroom or help you score that extra seat in your aisle.

-        Try not to pack too much and don’t bring too much on the plane! The more stuff you have to juggle, the harder it’ll be to focus on keeping your baby happy. DO pack a change of clothes for both yourself and baby. Try to keep the change of clothes something very compact, and for your baby possibly even cheap/stained outfits you can throw away if you have a leaking poopy diaper or something! EEK.

-        Instead of packing a nursing cover, think about wearing an infinity scarf that can double as a nursing cover. Also think about wearing chewbeads or another kind of jewelry that doubles as a toy for your little one.

-        If you’re consistently going to the same location (to visit out of town grandparents a few times a year for example), see if you can invest in some baby gear to keep there so that it’s less for you to pack. Having a carseat at your destination, a pack and play, along with some toys/books will be a lifesaver.

-        Think about having a box of diapers/wipes shipped to your destination.

-        Nurse or feed baby a bottle on take off or landing if you find your baby needs it, but don’t stress about it too much. Newborn ears may not yet even be developed enough to feel the pain that we do on take off and landing!

-        There is an Airport Valet Service that will drop you off IN YOUR CAR at the airport curb, park your car at their facility, and pick you up at the curb when you land! Many Nest Moms have used it and love it. It's called Airport Valet LAX (310)348-9612, 8923 S Sepulveda. Make reservations ahead of time. 

-        Bring baby’s birth certificate when you fly as some airlines will require you to show it at check-in. Read more about how to get your baby's LA County birth certificate here.

-        Bring yourself a big bottle of water so that you stay hydrated! Tell the people at security that it is water for your baby. They will test it and you can bring it through. 

- When thinking about toys to bring, think compact and possibly disposable! We talked about lots of ideas in class, some of them were... pack lots of snacks and play with the food so it turns into an activity! Cheerios can be weaved onto a string or stick, goldfish can turn into a pretend swimming game, etc. The Melissa and Doug watercolor book is a great item for travel. Just pack the book and a paintbrush and ask for a small cup of water on the plane. Some parents like getting little trinkets at the dollar store and wrapping them in wrapping paper for another activity!

- For more on if/how to alter baby’s schedule while traveling, check out this article that mirrors what we talked about today.  

- Check out https://www.seatguru.com/ for information about specific seats on any given plane you ride on! Thanks Teddy's mom, Brittany, for the recommendation :)

- Scotland's mom, Ashley, loves the GB Pockit stroller for travel! It folds so small it can fit in the overhead compartment of a plane!