Adult Nursing Concerns: Air Travel, Part II (Tips and Advice)

A little over a month ago, just as Mr. S and I were planning a trip out of town, I posted an article on air travel, and I admit, this was the first time that living everyday life as a nursing wife made me a bit uncomfortable–and very uncertain. Even as a breastfeeding mother, I’d never traveled by airplane with a pump, so I wasn’t very educated on the ins and outs of doing so. My own anxiety, combined with the terrible events that many lactating women have had to endure from TSA, additional airport security screenings, and the fact that, when questioned, my hometown airport wasn’t particularly helpful in regard to the matter at hand, led us to feel that flying just wasn’t right for us at this particular time. Mr. S, bless his heart, once again put my needs and comfort ahead of his own, and agreed to make a nearly 15-hour road trip when we could have reached our destination in three hours by plane.

But life is an adventure, right, and there is nothing more adventurous than traveling through seven states with three active children confined to one small space over a two-day period of time. Somehow, a 9-passenger vehicle seems a lot less roomy…especially when the smallest of the three littles feels the need to repeat in 15-minute intervals that one of her brothers is breathing on her again.

Nevertheless, we made it to Florida, unscathed for the most part, and while I was relaxing in our hotel room, I received a message from a nursing wife named Betty, who, as she explained, wanted me to feel more comfortable with air travel, and share a few tips on doing so discreetly. As she said, “Sometimes, a girl just needs to fly, and it’s nobody’s business that she’s a nursing wife!”

I couldn’t agree more! 😊

Since air travel really is a necessity for many women, I decided to share Betty’s advice with others, in the hope that it will encourage you to lactate and fly with confidence!

1. Rather than placing it in your carry-on bag, pack your pump inside checked baggage. It will not be searched in front of you. You won’t have your pump available to you in-flight or during layovers, and there is a risk of your luggage being delayed or lost, but checking your pump ensure complete privacy!

2. Send your pump ahead of time. You can call your hotel to receive more information on this, and they will generally send you proper labeling and shipping instructions via email. Betty recommends UPS as a carrier, and suggests setting up a specific shipping/arrival date that includes a delivery confirmation. She typically arranges for her pump to be delivered to her hotel one day prior to her arrival. You should be able to pick up your package at the front desk during or after check-in. Be sure to print out all shipping and delivery confirmations that are emailed to you and take them with you.

really loved tip #2, so much, in fact, that I phoned our hotel the day after we got home to see if they would be accommodating of this when we stay there again in January. And they were! As a matter of fact, the staff was wonderful about it! It was equally wonderful to know that Betty was right: I do have options! And so do you.

Mr. S and I are now planning our first flight as a nursing couple, and we couldn’t be happier about our decision to travel by plane. Neither could the children.

Now, if I can just figure out how to keep the boys from breathing on their sister during the flight…

Happy and safe travels to all, and many thanks to Betty for reaching out to me!!

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