Pumping & Plane Travel
I have been lucky enough to speak to a member of cabin crew from a very well known UK airline. We chatted babies, pumping and wear to change nappies!
Keep reading for some very useful advice for you to use on your next trip!
What should I do with my expressed milk?
Is breastmilk allowed through security?
Breastmilk is excluded in the 100ml liquid limit in the UK. So you do not need to worry. Continue expressing as normal and place the milk into bottles in a cooler bag or pour into an insulated flask - see this one by Ceres Chill is highly recommended as you can pump directly into it!
You are also allowed to take as much sterilised water as you need to make formula feeds and you can also take baby food too.
The governments website on hand luggage restrictions is the best resource.
When's the best time to feed a bottle of milk?
If you want to help babies with the pressure change and reduce the likelihood of their ears blocking then, if you can, wait until the plane is literally taking off to feed baby so that they are sucking on something to help their ears.
Don't get caught out by feeding during the safety demo as the plane can sit on the tarmac for a while...
Am I allowed to feed during take off?
Yes - babies can be feed during take off as long as they have their seat belt on and are in essentially the brace position
What if baby is hungry before take off?
You could try a half feed prior and then finish the feed for take off. Obviously, no one ever wants a baby to starve so trust your gut on the timing of this one.
What if I run out of milk or don't pump enough for a feed?
Things we carry a limited number of that we don't advertise mainly because we don't carry much of it include: premade bottle of formula so if you're desperate don't let baby suffer, ask for some help and we might have it for you.
What are your best tips for nappy change on a plane?
After a feed, baby often poops. That's natural. Don't sit there and be ashamed. Go and change it in one of the toilets. When it comes to nappy changing usually every toilet has a changing table that can be pulled down. You can ask a member of staff if you're unsure. Nappies go straight in to the bin inside the toilet cubicle. NOT IN THE TOULET.
We ask for hygiene reasons don't change the babies on your seats or the tables at your seats and don't give dirty nappies to the crew as we have to handle food and for God's sake don't leave a dirty nappy in the seat pocket. That's just gross.
What if I need the loo but I'm lone parenting? What should I do?
If you're travelling on your own we are usually more than happy to hold baby while you go pee, just ask! Protocol is that we're meant to sit down with baby incase we have turbulence.
What about babies who are weaning? Do they get a meal?
If the child is under 2 and is sitting on your lap then they do not get a meal.
The rule is: you get one meal per seat so if baby is bug enough to eat but too small for a seat pack food!
If the child is over 2 and has a seat to themselves then you can go on to the airline's website and pre order a childs meal under manage my booking. (Must be booked 72hrs before flight.
Tip: If you booked your flights through a travel agent, the childs meal never works through them so book it yourself on the airline's website!
From my years of flying, I can tell you that you will not have an idea of what the child's meal will be however, it will be child friendly like a cheese and tomato pasta or chicken nuggets mash and peas e.t.c.
Tip: I'd alway recommend buying food in the terminal as back up and bring 3x the amount of snacks you think you'll need as kids get bored and hungry.
If a mum wanted to pump in private is there anywhere she could ask to go?
This is a difficult one... there may be places but I think it would all depend on the crew, how busy the flight is, if there is a service going on and what type of plane it is.
If people ask to pray privately then we will try and find them a door to go to. Some aircraft doors have curtains we can pull across however, (depending on the aircraft type) these doors are also used for cabin crew breaks so may all be occupied.
In all honesty, the best place to breastfeed whether that's nursing or pumping is in your seat, you're usually less noticeable in your seat and I've never had a single passenger complain that someone is breastfeeding next to them. People won't notice as much as you think.
I wouldn't suggest the toilet as they're so unhygienic.
Tip: Pump in your seat its surprisingly the most unnoticeable place for you to pump.
What's the biggest no?
A big no when with your baby or children is bringing items on the plane that haven't been approved by the airline. Our airline has a section on their website which has approved devices section. Anything that isn't on that has to be taken away. We wish some influencers wouldn't advertise these items.
What's something passengers may not have known about safely travelling with baby?
Baby carriers are really useful for travelling around the airport however, you are not allowed to have baby in a carrier attached to you during take off and landing and when the seat belt signs are on. If anything happens to you, we need to be able to remove baby from your lap as quickly as possible so we can give you first aid
And also just in case you need to be in the brace position for any reason
What would you tell someone who's about to take their first flight?
Do not worry about anyone else. I know it's "easy for me to say" but everyone needs to take their first flight and get all the 'firsts' out the way Babies will cry and kids will be uncomfortable. As long as they are safe and strapped in correctly when they need to be then that's all that matters. It may be a long flight but no one will die from a fussy baby!
Thank you to the amazing crew member who took the time to share their advice with me. Could you tell they were a mum themselves?
What are your tips for pumping & flying? Share them on instagram @littlepumpling
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