Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pumping & Airports

Breastfeeding is going very well for us so I continue to pump while at work and if I'm out of town so Graham can remain on breastmilk for as long as possible.  Less than a week after I returned to work from maternity leave in November, I had to travel to Wisconsin for work.  This meant my trusty pump was coming along for a getaway.  I was nervous, I'd never had to travel when Addie was nursing so I never had to experience it.  This was a first.

My flight from Columbus to Wisconsin wasn't a direct flight.  No, it was a flight that would connect through Chicago O'Hare.  One of the busiest and largest airports in the US and somehow I had to not only navigate the airport with enough time to catch a connecting flight but to also somehow pump.  I was overwhelmed.  I don't really enjoy nursing in public so pumping in public is basically not an option (of course I'd do it if I absolutely had to).  So here are some tips:

1 - Bring your nursing cover.  In the event you have no option but to pump in the middle of the busiest airport in the US, be prepared with a cover.

2 - Ask employees, the ones who look like they have answers, if they know where a mother's room or family restroom are.  If they don't have a mother's room, the family restrooms have outlets.  The one in Chicago even had a bottle warmer!

3 - Pack a large ziploc bag.  I used this on my way back to put all my milk in it then inside my pump bag so that in the event one of the bags leaked, I didn't have milk on everything.

4 - Ice.  You're going to need ice or an ice pack.  I've heard some people say TSA doesn't allow ice packs but I've read they're okay with it.  In the event you don't want to risk it, just ask a restaurant for a cup of ice after you've passed through security.  You may have to empty at your connection as it'll melt fast but you can get another cup at your next destination.

5 - TSA.  When we traveled with Addie a couple years ago, we had milk with us for her to drink on the flights. TSA has no issue with that but will test the milk to make sure it's not any crazy substance.  Be prepared for TSA to do the same to your breast milk.  Surprisingly, when I passed through security in Milkwaukee, no one tested it.  They just asked if it was breast milk and I assume because I also had the pump, they were fine with that.

Pumping in the airport wasn't as bad as I'd thought it would be.  Like I mentioned before, the most difficult thing for me was if I would have enough time to pump during my connection.  For me, even if that was a 5 min pump it was something so do what you can and don't stress over it.

Anyone have any great pumping stories while traveling?


  1. I had a not so great experience while pumping in JFK!

    1. Hilarious and so unfortunate that airports don't offer a more friendly place to do this.



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