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Pumping and Traveling.


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Pumping and planning an overnight stay?


Did you go anywhere over the bank holiday? How did you find it? Pumping and planning a trip can be a tough one and takes a few attempts to find your ideal set up. During my breastfeeding journey we've had several trips to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, visited family who live in other counties and enjoyed hotel stays, these all require long car journeys and staying the night something which initially wasn't pumping friendly but now we've got it! Something which has come about with lots of trial and error! Save yourself some time and learn from me.


Keep on reading to find out what I pack and how I get on when I'm away. It might help when you're preparing for your next trip.


One Night Stay

Sure, before you had your baby, a one night stay somewhere was easy. Pack your pants and a toothbrush and you're on your way. That's not going to happen now and 'packing light' looks a lot different now, you're breastfeeding and that requires you pumping every 3 hours so there's an extra bag coming! \


Planning to pump during a trip away can feel daunting, however it doesn't have to be. All it takes is some organisation and a few products and you're on your way to the fun and relaxation of a holiday in no time.


Let's Write a List

First of all, write a packing list. I always start by going through what I use for my morning pump, afternoon pump and night pump.


Run it by yourself;

Do you use the same products each time?

Do you need one thing one time and another item another time?

You don't want to forget anything so try and walk everything through in your head.


Packing list...

Feeding

So following on from thinking about how you express your milk, you'll need to think about how you're going to feed it to your baby.

Will you be using the same bottles to normal?

How many feeds will you need to have bottles for?

As we're talking about a night away here; I would recommend counting how many feeds you will need to do over the 24-48 hours (by the time you get back home) and pack enough bottles for each.

Example...

"My baby is 10 months so we took 8 bottles, 4 feeds one day and potentially 4 feeds the next day"

Some would say this is excessive and I don't doubt that it is but in my opinion, I've found you can never guarantee any situation so prepare with spares.


Whilst I mention packing items to cater for any eventuality, I discovered that MAM bottles were 'self-sterilising' and ordered a pack of 2 for when lockdown rules would allow us to go out, eat out and stay out. I'm so pleased I did. They have been so handy! Most homes and some cafes have microwaves so you're able to think on your feet and sterilise the bottle and feed baby. I always have this bottle in my changing bag. It is a ride or die!


Packing list cont.


Cleaning

The next thing to consider is how you're going to clean the bottles and pump parts.

Where are you staying?

Will you have access to a sink?

Is there a dishwasher?

Is there a microwave or kettle?


Some hotels have them and some don't so check ahead.

If you're staying at someones house, ask them what's in their kitchen so you can pack less.


Read my blog What Sterilisation is best for you? As there are so many different ways to ensure your bottles etc are safe for baby, this blog goes through all the ways; steam, microwave, sprays, UV and so many more. You can sterilise in a bowl of cold water or you can buy a nifty gadget which clips to your bag and can sterilise a dummy with UV light. There is all kinds of things so give it a read and see if there's anything you hadn't heard of before!


Packing list continues....

  • Steriliser Spray - Vital Baby Spray

  • Wet Bags - Amazon Brand Pack of 3

  • Bottle Cleaning Wipes - Medela (24 pack)

  • Muslins - to wipe you if you make a mess whilst travelling!

Like I said, if you know where you're going this part is much easier.

From experience, this weekend was very simple, we knew the house we were staying in had a drying rack, soap, clean sponges and a dishwasher. We knew we could wash the items in hot soapy water and rinse them in clean water before being air dried ready for baby. I took the steriliser spray for the TT bottles and pump parts. We knew we could microwave the MAM bottle ready for the feed in the car. The wet bags are really useful for storing pump parts in the car, as well as being waterproof, they keep all the parts together so you don't have to worry about bits falling under the seat when they're in there.


If you don't have steriliser spray, I definitely recommend the Medela Steriliser bags or the ones from Boots. Pop the washed bottles/parts, pour in the required water and pop in the microwave! Ping. Done.


Bag

Finally, which bag are you going to store your bits in? You may already have one, if so, great.


For anyone who's interested in a changing bag, I'd recommend the Skip Hop Forma backpack.


Things I like about it:

  • The buggy clips are strong.

  • The changing mat provided is good.

  • The pockets are useful, with two side pockets for bottles, two zip compartments at the front, and multiple pockets inside.

  • The extra bit about this is the packing cubes included.

  • One is a cooler cube so you can put a bottle of expressed milk in it and know it'll stay at the temperature you want. They're also big enough for an ice pack to fit inside. I've used the regular cube to store my manual Tommee Tippee Pump (not the bottle as well).


There will be plenty of others on the market but I found this one ticked so many boxes and I've not been let down once. It fits a lot and is comfortable to wear so I'm very happy with my purchase and hope someone else benefits from me talking about it!


Tips

  • If you're planning on using a battery powered pump, plan the night before to fully charge it. Figure out how many sessions your pump usually lasts on full. Then you'll be able to figure out whether you should take the charger or leave it.

  • I find the spectra s1 lasts around 4 sessions on full charge - sometimes more sometimes less depending on duration and settings.

  • The Medela Swing takes batteries when unplugged. ALWAYS have spare batteries. I kept a pack of 8 in the car door so easy to grab if batteries died mid-pump. Yes. That did happen. No, at the time I didn't know they'd run out so fast. Learn. From. Me.

  • Always have a bottle of water in your changing bag, this way you can rinse anything on the side of the road if you need to, wipe to clean and spray with vital to reuse on-the-go

  • Put all your used pump parts into the wet bags. That way they won't leak breastmilk everywhere and get the place sticky.

  • These wet/dry bags are also useful for when you take baby swimming, switch to reusable wipes or nappies so they are a very useful purchase!

  • Bottle caps and compatible teats to your pump bottles are really handy. This way you don't have to decant milk from one bottle to another whilst in transit. You avoid one bump in the road causing a big milk spill.

  • Download your favourite show before you leave for your trip. This way, if there's any issues with WIFI you've got your pumping entertainment sorted!

  • Save any or all of these recommended products to a baby wish list so you're able to shop as and when you need to.


Enjoy your stay!

Getting away can be very daunting, with many of the 'doom-and-gloomers' telling you, you shouldn't. Don't listen to people who will only tell you about how baby will cry, how they'll do this or won't do that. Spending time out of the routine of home can be very enjoyable and refreshing. Relish in the change. In most countries, if you forget something, you'll be able to buy it. In most situations, you'll be able to wing it. The key is to organise yourself. Lots of packing cubes and lists and you'll be able to find exactly what you need, when you need it. Good luck and enjoy!


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