Travelling with a Baby
The school summer holidays are nearly upon us, with lots of vacations and days out to look forward to and plan, whatever the weather at home or abroad. As a nursing mum with a newborn, baby or toddler it does take some planning to organise a day out, a weekend away or even a 2-week holiday. If you have older siblings too then it becomes a logistical minefield to try and keep the children amused and entertained whilst scheduling feeds, pit-stops and all the paraphernalia a baby needs.
There are so many fun opportunities out there from a picnic in the back garden, a visit to a local museum through to a weekend away or even a two-week holiday. Whatever you choose to do, travelling with a baby and little ones can be difficult, the changing bag not only needs to meet the needs of your baby but doubles up with a first aid kit, waterproofs, and snacks for the older children too.
As a nursing mum what do you need?
The essentials in your bag are the day to day things – nappies, wet wipes, bibs, muslin squares, change of clothes – maybe one or two for baby and a spare top for you too.
You should dress your baby and yourself in relation to the weather, pastels are great to deflect the light and sun rays, you can also take a white towel to drape over the hood of your pram and a parasol to shade your baby. Be cautious about covering the front of your pram with a sheet though – you may think this helps to keep your baby cool but in reality it results in increasing the temperature inside the pram – this needs to be ventilated. Think of the temperature inside a car – how hot it gets because it is all enclosed.
Never leave your baby or children in a car – if you end up in a traffic jam open the windows (safe level in the back) and have plenty of water and drinks for the children and you. Check that your car seat straps / safety belts are covered with fabric – the metal clips can get very hot to the touch, use sun shades and drape the car seat when not in use with a white towel to deflect the sun.
Top Tip: Drape the car seat when not in use with a white towel to deflect the sun
Do I need to give my baby water in hot weather?
Breastmilk has everything your baby needs. Your baby may feed more frequently in hot weather and have power snacks. They can be a little fussier because they get warm and sticky – a tip is to find an area that is cool ideally with a light breeze. Feed your baby in the shade. Have a drink for you to hand and some snacks – melons are refreshing and can be frozen.
You may find that your baby’s nappies are a great indication if you need to give more feeds – heavy wet nappies indicate that they are getting enough. Remember breastfed babies over 4 weeks of age do not soil their nappies as frequently and can go 10 days without having a poo. This doesn’t mean they are constipated but that there is very little waste from your milk.
You may also find that your baby may wake more during the night due to thirst or just restless. Draw the curtains in the day and keep a window on a safety notch to help ventilation. You may find having a fan on a low setting away from your baby helpful to keep the room cool. Just go with the flow – we all sleep differently in warm weather.
Top Tip: Your baby’s nappies are a great indication of whether you need to give more feeds
Travelling with your baby
If you are going abroad or staying in the UK, you may find yourself creating a huge packing list, feeling that you need everything – including the kitchen sink.
If you are planning to express whilst you are away – you can sterilise your milk collection set using a Microwavable Quick Clean Bag – one bag gives you 20 uses that’s 20 days – the Harmony Manual is an ideal choice for flexibility as it has no power needs.
If you are self-catering without a microwave – you can boil parts in a saucepan for 10mins (leave the water to cool before use) or use a dishwasher too.
Expressing Breastmilk Equipment to think about:
- Harmony manual pump
- Swing breast pump / UK adaptor and spare batteries
- Pump and save bags
- Cooler bag and bottles
- Quick clean microwave steam bags
- Calma feeding device
Top Tip: If you’re planning to express whilst you are away, you can sterilise your milk collection set using a Microwavable Quick Clean Bag
When travelling by plane
Be aware that in the UK you can only take 100mls of liquid in each container if you are planning on taking expressed breastmilk on the plane. A cooler bag with a freezer block may be declined as this contains fluid so ideally pack the freezer block and any frozen milk in your hold luggage to minimise it being confiscated.
You cannot take frozen milk as hand luggage on UK flights. Only take what you need for the flight. Your milk may be opened and checked by customs. Read here for more information on UK hand luggage restriction.
Your baby may feed more when flying – as you take off and land nursing your baby can help with equalising the pressure in their ears as they suck and swallow.
Top Tip: Your baby may feed more when flying – as it can help with equalising the pressure in their ears as they suck and swallow.
Alcohol and breastfeeding
The occasional drink of wine is ok but be cautious if you are abroad – their measures are often bigger. If you have abstained, you may find even a small drink goes to your head quicker.
The Breastfeeding Network have released a great fact sheet to discuss alcohol and breastfeeding in more detail.
Top Tip: Be cautious if you are consuming alcohol abroad as measures can differ to those in the UK.
What can I eat abroad?
Follow what you usually eat at home. If you drink more fruit based drinks you may find your digestive system changes a little. Follow the guidance of the local customs and drink bottled water if advised. Be cautious about the use of ice in your drinks and seafood.
If you do fall ill or experience a tummy upset – drink plenty of bottled water, carry on breastfeeding as you need to minimise any engorgement and mastitis. Seek advice from your holiday rep for a local pharmacy and doctor. If it’s a bug you have picked up, you will help protect your baby with making antibodies in the milk too.
Top Tip: Follow the guidance of the local customs and drink bottled water if advised.
Remember it’s a time to relax and spend quality time with your family. Be flexible, enjoy and have a great day out/holiday! Sioned x