how to: pack for traveling while nursing

traveling while breastfeeding

Heading out on a trip and away from your still-nursing wee one? Need to keep pumping and ship milk back while gone?

I’ve done that, and LOTS of planning around it too. For all mother’s doing the same, I thought it might help to share my process and some tips and learnings. (Or at least to keep it here, in handy reference for all my upcoming trips!)

There is a lot to think about when traveling solo while breastfeeding so in case it helps, I’ve done some of the (over) thinking for you.


For the Milk…

  • Breastpump
  • Extra Parts (shields, inserts etc.)
  • Hand Pump (back-up just in case, and for pumping away from an outlet)
  • Bottles (I take 5, four usually hold a day’s milk and then I have one extra. When they fill up, I shift the milk to the freezer bags.)
  • Milk Freezer Bags (I freeze in 3-4 oz. so I usually bring enough for all the milk I’ll pump + more. Handy expressed milk calculator here.)
  • Milk Carrier and Ice Pack (for keeping milk cold on the plane and in the office/away from the hotel)
  • Pump Cleaning Wipes (for on the plane and times you’ll be away from a sink)
  • Nursing Cover (or ‘titty cave’ as my husband calls it, for pumping in public)

For Shipping the Milk…

  • Boxes to Ship Milk Back (I like these as they have both the foam insert and box and are a good size for 1-2 days milk)
    *Note – I often ship the boxes directly from Amazon to the hotel I’m staying at so it’s one less thing to pack.
  • Extra Duffel Bag (something small-mid size that folds up easily and can hold the dry ice in your hotel room. If there is extra room in the bag once the ice is in there, stuff towels around it to keep the ice compact.)
  • Gloves for Handling Dry Ice
  • Tea Towel(s) (to put between the dry ice and the milk when you ship it)
  • Name of the Nearest Dry Ice Locations and FedEx Locations (one that will ship dry ice – not all do!)
  • Dry Ice Label (or call 1.800.GoFedEx and ask for one)

For your Playlist…

For You…

  • Water Bottle (refillable so you can keep it filled and keep drinking it!)
  • Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks. (These Patagonia Provisions Fruit + Almond Bars are my favorite.)
  • Video and Favorite Photos of your Baby.

Your turn! Traveling while nursing for work? Traveling as a new mother, even if not nursing? Taking the baby on a work trip? I’d love to hear your tips, recommendations, and podcast favorites too.

- amy