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 ended up not packing very smartly. I was so pre-occupied 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 a lot of extended family and I didn’t feel comfortable nursing in front of them without a nursing cover or proper nursing clothes (which I didn’t pack) that 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. (Contains affiliate links.)
Packing List for Nursing Moms
Nursing Bras. My favorite nursing bra right now is the award-winning Bravado! Designs Women’s Body Silk Seamless Yoga Nursing Bra, which is 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 shirts. Plus, there’s the option to also do a criss-cross back, which makes it versatile for travel. I was also able to wear it during pregnancy because it’s so adjustable.
Nursing T-Shirts. I usually aim for light-weight 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 a bunch of different colors, so it’d be easy to stock up on a few to bring.
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 out your manual pump, unless you are very comfortable with it. And make sure you are packing extra pump parts, in case you aren’t able to wash them properly, and freezer bags and/or bottles.
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 just a bit differently. I also recently started wearing Silverette The Original Silver Nursing Cups instead of ointment, which has helped a lot!
Nursing Pads. I can’t tell you how many shirts I ruined with my oldest when I was breastfeeding him. When traveling, I tend to pack as few shirts as I need. By wearing nursing pads, I extend the life of the shirt to a normal use. Otherwise, I’d need to change my shirt several times a day just for milk stains. I like to leave tee shirt changes for spit up and blow outs! I prefer to pack disposable ones because I hate that sour milk smell and rarely have a chance to wash reusable ones.
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 quite 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.
Baby Carrier. With a bit of 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 as my son is really little. As he gets older, I will nurse in my Baby Tula.
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 along with nipple ointment.
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!