Having two kids, two and under means you have to have a milk strategy for the kids. This applies even more when traveling with kids. For my kids, milk is such a key part of their day, that I need to make sure I am properly prepped for it. Here is my strategy for how I ensure they both get the milk they need while we travel.
1. Milk Strategy – Gear to Pack:
Because I do a mixture of whole milk for my toddler and formula/breast milk for my baby, I need to bring an assortment of items. Here is my checklist.
- Sippy Cup
- Baby Bottles
- Bottle Cleaner and Brush
- Portable Formula Container
- Electric Portable Pump
- Portable Storage Cooler
- Freezer bags
- Breathable Nursing Cover
- Cloth Bibs
2. Milk Strategy – During the Flight:
2a. Taking Pumped Milk on a Flight:
- Pump your breast milk during your trip and place the breast milk in a pre-sterilized storage bags
- Place the accumulated storage bags of breast milk in a portable ice cooler with frozen ice packs so that they will stay cold the entire journey. You can ask the hotel if you can use their mini fridge or main fridge to keep the ice packs and milk even more securely frozen.
- Ensure that the breast milk is in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters onto the plane in their carry-on, as long as they declare it for inspection at the security checkpoint.
- As a reference, the flight will likely not allow you to store the milk in their freezer/fridge due to regulations, so plan ahead for your storage pouch to be the primary source of keeping your breast milks safe and fresh.
- When you arrive at your destination, place your breast milk in the freezer and thaw out as neccessary.
For more information on properly handling breast milk, check out the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Recommendations.
2b. Taking Formula on a Flight:
- Measure out the formula into a portable container, ideally enough for a few bottle feeds. You can put the rest in the carry-on, if you think you will need more.
- When storing the formula in the diaper bag, you are permitted to carry on sterilized water as well. Ideally keep it all together in a Zip Lock bag so that it is easier to take out for TSA security to check.
- When making the formula at the airport or plane, I always ask for just a bit of boiling water, to mix with the sterilized water bottle that I brought, to get the right temperature. I then add the pre-sorted amount of formula from the portable formula container.
- Once the baby is done with the bottle, I like to do a quick clean of the bottle as soon as possible, whether on the flight or right after landing, so that the bottle does not get too stinky.
2c. Breastfeeding on a Flight:
- Get situated in your seat, and, if possible, wear your baby in a baby carrier.
- Nurse directly, and if you feel more comfortable, use a lightweight nursing cover
- Helps the baby’s ears to nurse at take-off and landing!
3. Milk Strategy – During the Trip
3a. Milk For the Toddler:
Our toddler loves his whole milk, at slightly warm temperature. I like to have his preferred sippy cup, clean and ready-to-go, at all times in the diaper bag. We like to get his milk from either the hotel or trust-worthy spots. Often times, in Europe, the milk is not pastureized. Because we are originally from the US, I opt to find him patureized milk. A safe place is always Starbucks, if you can locate one! Many coffee shops in Europe also provide Baby-cinno’s, which is steamed milk with cinnamon or cocoa powder, served at kids temperature. Our toddler is quite the fan of those, and makes him feel extra fancy!
3b. Milk For the Baby:
For my baby, until 10-months-old, I primarily breastfed her directly, and supplemented with bottles of pumped milk or formula once or twice a day.
To me, direct breastfeeding was the easiest, because all I needed was my nursing cover, and I was good to go! It took me a few times to feel comfortable doing this in public, but Europe has a very breastfeeding-friendly environment, and I got the hang of it.
I also carried a small portable pump in my diaper bag. I don’t know if using this manual pump hurt my milk supply, but I do know it made things easy. If my baby was napping or I was in a setting where I did not want to breastfeed publicly, I would quickly go to the bathroom (or use the cover and remain where I was) and pump out some milk to feed her when she was ready.
For formula, I always like to keep a clean baby bottle, formula measured out in a portable formula container, and a sterilized water bottle. When out at a reliable restaurant or coffee shop, I ask for boiled water, which I mix with the sterilized water I already have. I then add the appropirate amount of formula and, voila, baby girl is ready to be fed!
What are some lessons learned you have had while managing your children’s milk situation while traveling? Share below!
For more information on managing the airport process when traveling with kids, visit my full blog post here.