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Best Packing Tips for Nursing Moms on Airplane or Car Trips

Best Packing Tips for Nursing Moms on Airplane or Car Trips

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Have trouble packing for an upcoming trip? Here are some of my best packing tips for nursing moms who love to travel. Whether traveling by plane or car, there’s always an efficient way to pack.
This Packing Tips for Nursing Moms was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung. It contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

The first time I ever traveled with a nursing baby was when my family went to Thailand when my son was 6 months old. I had no idea what to pack and wasn’t packing very smartly.

I was so preoccupied with making sure I had all my breast pump parts and extra bottles (which I didn’t use once) that I forgot more important things, like nipple ointment. We traveled with many extended families, and I didn’t feel comfortable nursing in front of them without a nursing cover or proper nursing clothes (which I didn’t pack). I ended up sequestered in our room for a lot of the trip. That’s not how I envisioned exploring Thailand.

Traveling while nursing a baby can be a new experience. You may be traveling away from your baby and need to pump on the go, or you may be traveling with your baby for the first time.

There are a lot of items to consider bringing either way. I’ve compiled a list of items that are helpful based on my experience traveling with nursing babies.

Packing List for Nursing Moms

  1. Nursing Bras. My favorite nursing bra right now is the award-winning Bravado! Designs Women’s Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra, a Medela company (that makes breast pumps and breastfeeding aids.) The fabric feels so nice, and the padding is the perfect thickness for a smooth look under the shirt. Plus, there’s the option also to do a criss-cross back, which makes it versatile for travel. I could also wear it during pregnancy because it’s so adjustable.
  2. Nursing T-Shirts. I usually aim for lightweight shirts so I can layer them under a cardigan. Bun Maternity makes a Bun Maternity Women’s Softie Nursing Tee Shirt that is perfect for travel packing because it hardly takes up any space in a suitcase. It’s nice because it isn’t too low-cut, but just the right amount. They have many different colors, so it’d be easy to stock up on a few to bring.
  3. Breast Pump. I tend to bring one and then rarely use it when traveling, but I like knowing it’s there. This is especially important if you plan on traveling without your baby but still need to pump or you are planning on leaving your baby with someone at some point and want to make sure he/she has fresh breast milk. Bring the pump that you are most familiar with. I use a Medela Pump in Style. Now isn’t the time to test your manual pump unless you are very comfortable with it. Make sure you are packing extra pump parts, in case you aren’t able to wash them properly, as well as freezer bags and/or bottles.
  4. Nipple Ointment. I always make sure I travel with at least one container of nipple ointment in my checked bag and another in my diaper bag. I have a fear of running out! There’s usually one in my breastfeeding pillow cover. I often have a few different brands with me because they work differently. I also recently started wearing Silverette The Original Silver Nursing Cups instead of ointment, which has greatly helped!
  5. Nursing Pads. I can’t tell you how many shirts I ruined with my oldest while breastfeeding him. When traveling, I tend to pack as few shirts as I need. I extend the shirt’s life to normal use by wearing nursing pads. Otherwise, I’d need to change my shirt several times daily just for milk stains. I like to leave tee shirt changes for spit-up and blowouts! I prefer to pack disposable ones because I hate that sour milk smell and rarely have a chance to wash reusable ones.
  6. Nursing Cover. I like to bring my Covered Goods Multi-use Nursing Cover with me in my diaper bag because I never know where I might end up nursing. Plus, it makes a nice layer on a chilly airplane or a quiet outfit change to cover up spit up. I’ve also used it as an emergency blanket and burp cloth. It can also fit over my infant car seat to protect my son from rain and too much sun. 
  7. Baby Carrier. With some practice, nursing in a baby carrier can be an easy way to nurse on the go. I’ve been able to nurse in my Happy Wrap Organic Baby Carrier since my son was little. As he gets older, I will nurse in my Baby Tula.
  8. Breastfeeding Pillow. If your baby is really little, make sure to bring a breastfeeding pillow. I’ve had great luck with My Brest Friend Organic Breastfeeding Pillow. It’s great, especially for hotel rooms, so I don’t have to use their pillows and try to figure something out. I like how firm it is and that it clips around my waist for added security and support. There are a few options for covers, but not a large assortment. Mine has a pocket where I can stash a water bottle or snacks and nipple ointment.

To stay organized, consider packing similar items together. Use permanent markers to label your carry ons and pack heavy items at the bottom. Don’t forget to bring extra toilet paper rolls and a foldable hanger for hanging clothes to make your stay more comfortable. Using the same box for different trips can also help you remember what you need to pack each time.

I hope this list helps get you started when packing for your first trip as a nursing Mom. The more trips you take, the more refined your list will be. You will also figure out your own must-have products. Please comment below with any items I may have missed!

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Bravado, Bun Maternity, Covered Goods, Happy Wrap, and My Brest Friend provided products for review purposes.
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