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8 Tips for Pumping & Storing Breast Milk While Travelling

Hey guys! Okay, I’m SUPER excited to share today’s blog with you! It’s fun when I can be your guinea pig and share my experience and results with everyone! Today it’s ALL about pumping and storing milk while traveling without your BF (breastfed) baby!

So, I booked a once in a lifetime Oprah cruise for my mom and I last June, I was SO excited about it (it was such an incredible experience!!) and when I booked the cruise I was about 6 months pregnant and in my mind, I was likely going to be bringing Annie with me … it wasn’t until I tried registering her for the trip that I realized you actually can’t sail on a cruise with a baby under 6 months old. I was shocked!!

Jillian Harris 7 Tips for Pumping and Storing Breast Milk
Jillian Harris 7 Tips for Pumping and Storing Breast Milk
Jillian Harris 7 Tips for Pumping and Storing Breast Milk

My mom and I talked about canceling the trip but when I talked to Justin about it he was not going to let that happen and told me he would be FINE with both kids, BF baby, and dog (now a new puppy too!) for the week I was going to be away! OMGGG YASSS SUPER DAD!!! LOL!! It was about 3 days after that that he informed me of a guys golf trip the week after my trip so there may have been an ulterior motive there!! HAHAHA!

Before I go on, I’m going to answer the question you ALL are probably thinking … HOW DID IT GO WITH JUSTIN AND THE KIDS??!?!? Well, it went GREAT! To be honest, Justin is amazing with the kids and dogs alone! Everyone is always so well behaved with him (thanks a lot kids … lol) so I wasn’t surprised he nailed it. IN FACT … I think because Annie was getting a full bottle before bed versus my likely low supply (it gets low in the evenings) SHE STARTED SLEEPING THROUGHOUT the night consistently the first day I was gone!! Either that or he just didn’t wake up to her cries but either way … the children are alive and it all worked out!! TIME TO BOOK MY NEXT GIRLS TRIP!?!?!?

Jillian Harris 7 Tips for Pumping and Storing Breast Milk

Once I decided I would go without Annie (at 4 months old) I had to decide what to do about my breast milk. I only BF Leo until 5 months so the thought crossed my mind to just use up the rest of our frozen supply in the garage and that would be it. But I have LOVED breastfeeding this time around (I wish I loved it this much with Leo!) and really didn’t want to go down that path.

My next thought was to just pump and dump to keep up my supply. No tips needed there … just pump, dump it down the drain and pick up where we left off when I got back home. But … that didn’t turn my crank either. So, I started brainstorming with Justin (who has amazing survival/camping skills and that comes in handy in a situation like this!) about how to make it through the week and all the way back home with my expressed milk. PLUS … Carrie from The Mama Coach got in touch with me and gave me SO many tips on pumping/supply and traveling (one of my favourites was to power pump at night to get the stimulation going – see tip 8!). Thank YOU, Carrie!!!

Overall, with these tips below, I found it to be QUITE an easy process and I’m back home with about 20 4oz bags of milk (total of about 80 ounces!!) and I’m actually SO proud of myself!!!! I would highly recommend this to anyone traveling without their babe!  It’s not as daunting as it might seem (only catch is expressing on the plane but I’ll get to that) but I would say TRY IT!!!! OK, HERE ARE MY TIPS!

Jillian Harris 7 Tips for Pumping and Storing Breast Milk

1. Getting Your Let Down

When we were in Hawaii, I was breastfeeding Annie and we were both naked and with the sound of the ocean, the birds and Maui sounds … I was just in heaven. It was one of my favourite moments with Annie and I decided to do a little selfie video of it. The video was about 30 seconds long and I hope to keep it forever!

Well, it turns out this is now also my “let down” video! IF you’re new to this … basically without the baby your body has a harder time letting go of that milk. You still make it but just pumping isn’t always enough to get it to come out. You really have to get in the mode to produce and catch! So, before you go, record your own little video. I have also heard of people bringing a blanket or a piece of clothing that smells like baby!

Even a video of your baby crying can help with let down. I would watch this video every time I pumped and it worked like a charm!

2. Equipment

You’ll need a GOOD cooler, cooler pack, pump, bags (4-6 per day), tiny container of dish soap, baby wipes (or soother wipes), and a sharpie. For a cooler, I used Justin’s YETI cooler and his YETI ice pack. It’s really important that you make sure the cooler is ZIPPED UP TIGHT or closed all the way so that the freezer pack doesn’t thaw by the time you get to security (more on that below).

I did bring my Willow pumps with me for the plane and to stimulate production at night … but I only used them once. The Willow pumps are AMAZING if you are getting a full feed per breast but because my supply is lower right now, I am only getting a full feed from BOTH breasts which means I’m getting smaller amounts in each Willow pump bag and you can’t combine your pumps with the Willow. So, for me, it was just easier to use the handheld pump (as you know I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Avent handheld pump since Leo days and I’m still using the SAME $50 pump as I used with Leo!). The things I forgot to pack were a small thing of dish soap and baby wipes for cleaning. More on that below! Oh yes, don’t forget to wear a pump friendly shirt/shawl/sweater!

Here are direct links to the products you’ll need:

Yeti Cooler

Ice Packs (1-2)

Medela Bags

Ziplock Bags (2 large ones)

Baby Wipes / Soother Wipes


Willow Pump

Handheld Pump

Breastfeeding Shirts

Jillian Harris Breast Pumping Tips
Jillian Harris Breast Pumping Tips
Jillian Harris Breast Pumping Tips

3. Security

Going through security was WAY easier than I thought. Here is the BIGGEST PIECE OF INFO YOU WILL NEED. Make sure your freezer pack and your milk are FROZEN solid before going into security. If you’ve pumped since taking it out of a freezer, then try to keep those bags under 3.5 oz! You’ll have an easier time getting them through security but bottom line is, even if they are more than 3.5 oz it is your RIGHT to be able to travel with as much breastmilk as you want.

Some security agents were odd about it, but I found that just being nice and gentle typically worked and it all went smooth. What happened to me is … from Kelowna to Seattle I didn’t zip my Yeti cooler all the way shut and by the time I got to the next security stop, the Yeti ice pack had melted and they were telling me they needed to take it. I wanted to cry as it was my FIRST STOP. I explained what it was for and it didn’t seem to matter to them. I wanted to get angry but I calmly asked to speak to a manager and explained that I was really nervous traveling without my baby, that the ice pack was the only thing that would keep my breast milk cold and I don’t know why or how it melted so quick but please could they let me keep it. They ended up doing some tests on it and gave me a nice pat down and I was on my way.

To avoid this, travel with SMALL ice packs or make sure it says frozen! This is why the YETI is so important because they are literally the best coolers on the market and I found it really easy to lug around as well!

Here is some more info on traveling with breast milk!

Traveling within the States
Traveling within Canada

4. Cleaning

So, I kind of screwed this part up but I’ve only ever washed my baby bottles by hand in the sink or in the dishwasher. I never did the whole sanitization boiling water thing. this wasn’t a big concern before I left and I don’t really have any HUGE regrets but if I do it again I’ll bring a little dish soap and soother wipes/baby wipes.

What I did was … if I pumped in the room, I was able to wash my pumps with hot water and soap/body wash and rinsed thoroughly and then put on a clean hand towel to dry. In the airport, I rinsed them under warm water and used a paper towel to dry. It, of course, was not ideal, but it did the trick. If you have any tips or tricks here please use the comment section below!

Jillian Harris Breast Pumping Tips

5. Schedule

I basically pumped as often as I would feed at home. Sometimes the flight schedule or travel schedule or events didn’t allow for this to work out perfectly every time, so I would say I was pumping around every 2.5 hours to every 5 hours.

Once I found out that Annie was sleeping throughout the night back home, I stopped waking up to pump, I just pumped right before bed and right when I woke up. When I was drinking more than 1 glass of wine, I would just pump and dump!

6. Storing

Storing was a tad tricky but once you’re set up you’re good to go! For both our hotel and cruise room I was able to bring my entire Yeti cooler to customer service. Both had a freezer that i was able to use throughout my stay and all my expressed milk stayed there!

What I did was I would pump throughout the day, keep the milk in my room fridge and at the end of the day or first thing in the morning I would connect with guest services and bring my 4-5 bags of refrigerated milk to the freezer and add it to the supply. I didn’t bring a big ziplock bag with me and I would next time to transport your refrigerated milk to the freezer location.

SOME hotels will even put a freezer in your room … so it never hurts to ask!! I also found that the first time I asked the hotel/cruise it was obviously not a common question they got … but as long as you are nice and patient you’ll find that most hotels/cruises/airlines/security are quite accommodating! You are providing for your child and its an amazing thing!!!

Jillian Harris Breast Pumping Tips

7. Pumping on a Plane

This is like the exact opposite of getting your mile high club certification! LOL!! NOT exciting at all but still a bit of a thrill figuring out how you’re going to get your equipment, boobs, and milk out on a plane. I found THIS to be the biggest hassle of the whole process.

On the way to Florida, I was on 3 different flights and traveling for about 12 hours. I would say that pumping in an airport bathroom was easier but depending on your pumping schedule and your comfort level with your breasts this might not be possible. On the way down I used my willow pumps. I put them in right before we boarded and then went to the washroom to take them out and put the milk in the cooler (which I stored in the overhead bin).

On the way back, I wish I would have had a longer convo with the lady sitting beside me because I ended up going to the bathroom to pump (which stressed me out because I knew people were waiting for the washroom and I’m sorry but airplane bathrooms are not the cleanest!). Later on, I found out that the lady beside me was a grandma and would have been totally fine with me pumping discreetly beside her! With the right clothing, you can pump without having to expose your nipples so I would have totally done this. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL for pumping and breastfeeding in public and I’m a pretty open person when it comes to this sort of thing but I’m a little more modest myself about it in public primarily for the fact that I’m on TV and a public figure so it makes me a little shy to whip out the nip! LOL!! However, if you are TOTALLY open to bust out your nipples in public … I’m applauding you!! I think it’s awesome personally!! LOL!

8. Power Pump

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this was one of my favourite tips from Carrie! She told me that a big power pumping session before bed makes a huge difference when a mama is experiencing low supply or a drop in supply. She also mentioned that you won’t see huge volume then as milk supply is at its lowest but the stimulation is what is important! Find out MORE about Power Pumping, HERE!

Jillian Harris Breast Pumping Tips

Ok, so that’s all I’ve got right now!! If you’ve got questions, check out my vlog below for further explanation or write in the comments below and I will continue to update this blog!!!

PS. Carrie from The Mama Coach has GENEROUSLY offered to give away FIFTY 30 minute virtual sessions … 30 of them are going to mamas in need via Mamas for Mamas and she is giving away the remaining 20 to mamas (in Canada or the States!!) who need help with feeding (breast or bottle!). If this is something you would be interested please make sure to go follow The Mama Coach here for details and for your chance to snag one of the sessions!




Leave a Reply to Romina Cancel reply

  1. Hi Team Jilly!

    I’ve been having some problems accessing your blog from external links. It shows only half of the post as if it’s for a computer and not for a phone. I noticed this time when I clicked the second time it was the right format for my iphone. I took some screen shots if you are interested in seeing what I mean. I know that you guys are perfectionists so I thought I’d share. I love all the work that you do!

  2. Medela actually makes sanitizing wipes now. I have to travel to Ireland often without my little and have found these to be amazing. I will wash my parts in water, sanitize them then rinse them. Also….dont hesitate to ask any bar or restaurant where you are staying for a bucket of steaming hot soapy water. They give it to you on a bucket…you wash in your room and then give back.

    You can store your pump parts in the fridge for the day so you only have to wash them once or twice a day. Makes life easier.

  3. Cleaning/sanitizing parts don’t need to be done every time you pump. You can put them in the fridge or cooler between pump sessions and wash them every 24-48 hours. This saved me tons of time and work. . I exclusively pumped for both my babies as I wasn’t able to direct feed.

  4. Thank you so much for this info, Jill! Especially the tip on power pumping. I am having low supply and had no idea about this!

  5. Did Annie nurse ok when you got home since she got used to a bottle nipple and the flow was easier than nursing. Some babies won’t do both.

  6. Jillian, this story is fascinating. I commend you for your dedication to your baby. To do this pumping job whilst on holiday would have been no easy feat. I loved the vlog. I’m not a mum, but was enthralled! I’m a grandma from Australia and have followed you from The Bachelor days. You are a beautiful soul xx

  7. Awesome tips!! I’m flying next month with my 5 month old from Michigan to my in-laws in Tahoe. They are watching our 2 kids while my husband and I go to Napa for the weekend. So I have to bring a bunch of milk with me for her to drink out there, and I’ve been stressing out about it already lol. This was incredibly helpful! Maybe mine will start sleeping through the night too haha. Do you still do a bedtime bottle then, instead of nursing?

  8. Thank you! Leaving my little one in April for the 1st time & really appreciate this guide. Curious if Annie took right to the breast again when you got home? A bit anxious about that.

  9. Thank you Jilly ! This post came right in time for me! I am going to be traveling without my 4 month old to go to a conference for 4 days. I can’t wait to use all of the tips! Next time you’re traveling you can always bring a small box of Clorox bleach wipes to clean your pump on the go. Question, when you use the Avent hand pump does it take 10 mins per side or for both ?

  10. I use a nursing cover in public when pumping. Allows you some privacy while you pump and you don’t have to hide in the washroom!

  11. Such a helpful list! I’m curious, do you still use your haakaa for letdown while you breastfeed?

    I’m currently researching pumps and was thinking of getting the Willow and the haakaa for use while breastfeeding but your love of the manual advent pump also has me curious.


  12. Re:cleaning… If you have a fridge, or that fancy Yeti cooler keeping your milk cold, you can put your parts in the cooler/fridge so you don’t have to clean them every time you pump. This saves so much time even when you’re at home. Just clean all the parts once a day 🙂

  13. I didn’t notice you were wearing the Willow pump when I saw you boarding our flight from Seattle to Vancouver! But thank you for being so nice to me and my 4.5 month old daughter when we got all emotional saying hi to you in the bathroom in Atlanta. It made my day! 🙂

  14. This is great, thanks! Always like seeing other tips!

    I traveled several times when pumping and have a couple more tips to add! I have the same yeti cooler and ice packs and experienced the quick melting ice pack when it wasn’t zipped all the way back up after security. I traveled with sandwhich sized ziplock bags just in case – and I just went to an airport restaurant and asked them to fill a couple up with ice! Lasted long enough to keep my milk cold until I got to my destination. Also, one of the last times I traveled I let the TSA agent looking at the monitor know that it was breast milk before it went through and they didn’t even unzip the cooler to check it out. I’m TSA pre, but every other time I never mentioned it beforehand and it was checked. So maybe just giving TSA a heads up will help.

    And for carry-on allowance, your breast pump is considered a medical device. Therefore you can have 3 carry ons. I had my suitcase, cooler, and a large tote bag which included my pump and also my purse and travel necessities.

    Also, a lot of airports in the states have pump/breastfeeding rooms or PODS you can access if you want to have privacy and have the time during your layover. Some of the nursing rooms are really nice and even had a sink for cleaning, and one had kids toys and diapers/wipes if you’re traveling with other kids and needed emergency supplies. There was a guest book you could sign too, it was great seeing all the appreciative moms writing in it.

    And as far as cleaning the parts, my lactation consultant said I didn’t need to wash my pump after every session, I could just put the parts in a ziplock bag (completely in tact) and put it in the fridge (or cooler if you have space) until next time. Said I didn’t even need to rinse them!! I of course did unless I was in a pod, but it made traveling and pumping so much easier!

    I hope this helps!! So proud of all you pumping mamas!!

  15. Thanks for sharing this!!!

    As a breastfeeding mama, I found an app that locates breast feeding spots (and mamas can also add in breastfeeding locations). The app is built by an American company who makes feeding pods (lactation spaces). There are many locations that have these Mamava pods in US but also some in Canadian airports (Vancouver and Toronto both have them!)

  16. The medela breast pump wipes are a life saver! They clean your pump parts without water/soap. Perfect for when you don’t have access to a sink and soap. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  17. Thank you for talking about this. As a full time working mom that travels for work it is nice to relate to alllll the thugs going through you mind non stop. Figuring out how to pump ON the plane is the worst! I would recommend finding the pumping pods and rooms in the airport. They usually have outlets and room for you and others traveling with you to sit too.

  18. Thanks for all those tips! Why doesn’t the willow work for both breasts? (I’m currently trying to get it from the US)

    For washing parts I pump at work and what I do is I don’t clean parts while at work I just throw them in a ziplock between pumps and store them in the fridge or in my cooler and then reuse for the day and just wash everything once/day when I get home. If you have a big enough cooler you could throw them in. I did this with last baby and this one and no issues so far (they were not premie!)

    I know it’s TOTALLY personal and respect your choice but I don’t think it is necessary to pump and dump after 1 or more drinks(if you don’t want to). Alcohol in milk is same as in blood so my understanding is legal limit for driving is say 0.05 or 0.08 so even that’s 0.08%alcohol in your milk that baby “drinks”.

  19. Jillian, thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I am going to Denver for a weekend in May for my sister’s bachelorette party, without my 7 month old baby. I am already stressing about the whole pumping/storing/traveling situation and I don’t want the trip to negatively affect my supply. I’m saving this article for all of your helpful tips! One tip I want to add is for quick and easy cleaning of pump parts, I really like the Medela sanitizing wipes. I use them between pump sessions at work and I honestly don’t know what I would do without them. Link below. Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

  20. Sorry if you’ve answered this before, but what bottle do you use with Annie? With my first I wanted to breastfeed but stilll have my hubby do some feeds with a bottle, but my son very quickly decided he preferred the bottle and would refuse the boob after that. With my next (due in a couple of months) I would really like to breastfeed a bit longer but still want to have my husband involved if I can!

  21. Ahhh!! I travelled not too long ago without my babe and had to pump. Pumping on the plane was the worst. I pumped in the bathroom (it was a full flight, and I was in the aisle otherwise I would’ve pumped in my seat) and after coming out of the bathroom after like 25 minutes, there was a line up halfway down the plane and everyone looked at me funny and thought something was seriously wrong with me ??SO embarrassing but if anyone said anything I told them I had been pumping and they were super understanding. Way to go, Momma!

  22. Thanks for sharing! I had to travel for work twice while I was breast feeding and I have a few other tips! I just put on a cover and used my manual pump to pump at my seat on the airplane. I don’t even know if the person next to me noticed what I was doing! Also I started getting some hard spots/clogged ducts while away and massaging the spots while taking a bath/shower helped to unblock. Also if you have the funds or your company will pay for it Milkstork is a really cool service that ships breastmilk in a refrigerated container!

  23. This is helpful! I will be traveling soon and I feel like I forgot everything! Is there a max amount of milk you can travel with? I suppose I should just google this haha And, I totally did the whole sanitizarion thing every time (omg so stressful) with my first and ditched that with my second! 😉 He is healthy/survived

  24. Thank you so much for sharing all of this info. It helps so much! Even the little things like Ziploc baggies. My gf and I who are BOTH breastfeeding are taking a 48 hour girls trip to NY and we were wondering what we were going to do. Thankfully, we’ve got a YETI… so that part is taken care of! xoxox

  25. You mentioned that your supply decreased after you got home. How did you increase it? You also mentioned Domperidone. My lactation consulant recommended it, but it’s not available in the states. I am curious about your experience!

  26. Traveling to London in 2 weeks without my 5 month old and just started researching how to go about all this-perfect timing and so helpful!! Still nervous about the pumping on a plane but I’ll have to suck it up. Thank you!

  27. There is a great app for nursing/pumping mums called Mamava.. The app tells you where nursing/pumping friendly pods or locations are near you (airports, convention centers, etc). The pods I’ve used have been clean and comfortable, and have power sources and ambient sounds. Some even have a water supply. They remain locked, but once you get close to one, the code is provided to you in the app.

  28. Just wondering how you got your willow pump (through a customs broker or other) as they currently don’t ship to Canada . Thanks!

  29. Medela makes these “breast pump wipes” that I use to quickly clean my equipment! They dont leave any weird residue, and clean my pump parts super well when I don’t have hot water and soap nearby! Great for travel.

  30. I travel and pump a ton for work, and often get stuck with the challenge of: AM pump and midday flight after a meeting or two. I have found filling my bags to only half way (Medela), freezing over night while laying flat, filling them each to the top and popping back in the freezer while I get ready does the trick! It sounds like a hassle but it’s really not that bad and genuinely makes TSA a breeze.

  31. Thanks for all the great tips! I travel quite a bit for work and take a lot of similar steps you did, but thought I would add a couple that might help some mamas out there! One, I’ve used Milk Stork a couple times and it’s been amazing – it’s not cheap, but if you’re traveling for business many companies will foot the bill. Secondly, in a pinch I’ve used the Medela sterilizer bags in my hotel room – just pop it in the microwave and voila! After a quick wash and then the sterilization, good to go! Finally, I can attest to power pumping…it really helps to boost supply. Thanks again for sharing!!

  32. Thanks for sharing Jillian. I had to travel for work for the first time last week and it was so hard not being with my 5 month old girl. Although that was my first time traveling, I normally have to work long days and am away from her for long periods of time so I have found a great system.

    I use the Freemie pump system and Love it. It’s compact but robust with great suction. It’s completely concealed under my shirt. I have had to run into last minute meetings in the middle of a pumping session. It also pours out into bags or bottles so I don’t worry if I can’t get a full serving. I just add them together.

    I always carry a small container of dish soap (as you mentioned), a small spray bottle of medela quick clean, a bag of bottle wipes, a sharpie, storage bags, my old aveda breast milk storage cheat sheet guide, and a couple spare nursing pads. All this fits in a small clear cosmetics bag.

    I also use a small cooler made for insulin. I watched a vlog on YouTube and I wish I could remember who came up with this. It’s neoprene and comes with an ice pack. It’s so compact and keeps my full bags cold all day.

    The Best thing I ever came up with is using a piece of Tupperware to store this stuff in. It doubles as a washing sink. I wish I could post a picture to explain this better. I keep my pump and supplies in a square Tupperware and then pull them out to pump, use the Tupperware to clean the parts (very few parts and easy to clean) and then put them back in the Tupperware to go back in my bag. It works brilliantly.

    I also throw a bottle in there as well to measure out how much I pumped more easily and in case of an emergency. For sure nstance if I run out of bags or have my baby and for some reason she won’t latch.

    Last but not least, thank you for sharing about your Free People sweaters. I got two and they are absolutely amazing for work and are easy to get the cups in and out of and they hide the awkward extra large breasts while pumping.

    Keep posting!


  33. That is all very helpful and timely-thank you! I’m going away in a few months and will have to express while I’m gone and I would love to save it.
    Can I ask: how did you know how
    much milk to give Annie daily when you were away?

  34. Pump parts don’t need to be washed after all uses, can store in your cooler or fridge in between pumps to save time. Then just do a thorough wash at end of day. Every minute counts! Keep up all the hard work mamas!

  35. Love love love this post! Did your milk stay frozen solid in transport? Did you just add to your freezer When you got home? This is so helpful. I’m traveling soon and couldn’t find a lot of helpful info online. You’ve summed it all up beautifully. One question tho… What if it thaws slightly during transport? Is that considered refreezing? What would you have done with the baby wipes? Cleaned the pump I’m assuming?

  36. I love the avent hand help pump too, so much more convienient than any electric pump. I just left my 9 mo old for 5 days to go on vacay with my mom! I opted to pump and dump just to have one less thing to worry about (she had formula while I was away), and it was blissful to not have to clean the pump every time, just threw the milk into the ocean and rinsed it with ocean water! My biggest fear was she wouldn’t breastfeed when I came back, but we picked up where we left off like I’d never left!

  37. Whilst away, pumping and freezing your milk and then transporting the frozen milk, did it stay frozen until you got home? If not, did you then refreeze it? I was advised not to add warm milk to a bag that was in the fridge, but wasn’t sure about refreezing previously frozen and thawed breast milk.

  38. I have had to travel often without my little one and have found that keeping your breast milk cold, rather than frozen during your trip is easier. Few reasons:
    -Your milk can stay cold for a few days before needing to be frozen
    -This means you can keep your milk in your room with you, as long you have a mini fridge (any hotel that didn’t already have one, I called and requested one for my room and they took care of that with no problem…even in a tiny room in San Francisco!)
    -If anything happens to your frozen pack durning transportation, or you can’t find a freezer, you didn’t have to worry about your milk thawing (which then shouldn’t be refrozen)
    -Side tip: Bring extra zip locks with you, and if something happens to your ice pack (such a thawing our and security won’t let you keep it as you mentioned) you can have a restaurant put ice in your zip locks to keep your milk cold (which is again why you don’t want to worry about it needing to stay frozen)
    -All the times I’ve traveled with cold milk (not frozen) TSA/security has never had any questions or concerns. They only check the ice pack to ensure it’s frozen, and sometimes have swiped my hands. Only one time at the Denver Airport, they had me open each bag of milk to hold a strip over the top … very easy! (Side tip…I would now combine bags to make this process quicker if they required me to open each one for testing.)

    I also used a Yeti cooler, but the smaller “8 can” cooler for weekend trips, and Milk Stock was great for longer work trips when my supply was high.

    Hope this helps!

  39. Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing, Jillian! This was really helpful and appreciate you sharing with all the mommies out there. You rock!

  40. Thanks Jillian, this was very helpful and I will use your tips when I am traveling in May! I have one other question…what did you do about leaving milk for Annie at home? Did you try to pump extra at home to leave or did you just have her drink frozen milk you already had at home? (Anyone with advice can answer this!)
    Thanks again!

  41. Hi Jillian! I REALLY appreciate all the helpful information you have given us new moms here – thank you so much!! I was wondering how you got your Willow pumps? You have totally sold me on them and I just went to buy them but they only ship to the US it looks like from their website and I am in Kelowna! 🙁 🙁 My heart is breaking, how can I get my hands on these pumps of gold?! Would love to hear how you got yours – and if you have suggestions to help a mama out 😉 Greatly appreciated xo

  42. Carrie from the mama coach saved my life!! sleep, feeding, self-care… and hacks for everything! I’m glad she was able to help you as well!!

  43. Hello,
    As a frequent follower of the blog, I wanted to let you know about a glitch on your new site. The images are distorted on my desktop on the main page photo. This has been happening with each new post. It’s a zoomed in version of the the center of the photo.

  44. One thing to consider – for situations like when your luggage didn’t arrive, you can always hand express. A great skill to have when you don’t have access to the pump or the baby! Important to remove the milk and keep the boobs stimulated rather than waiting longer between expressing. Once you get the hang of hand expression, it can actually be way more effective than the pump. Something about that skin to skin contact!

  45. Bring a warm pack! Especially in those first few months when baby is eating every 3-4 (or more) hours. Pumping is just so much different than actually having the baby suck. I’ve had issues with both of my kids being away and getting clogged ducts. The last time I was away I brought a warm pack with me and when I first felt a lump I popped the warm pack in my bra before my next pumping session and it did the trick!

  46. Medela Cleaning Wipes for Pump parts!!
    Airplanes are so loud that you can’t even hear the pump (I’ve pump on each flight and no problem) I used a cover just in case too. Since traveling out of Canada the water isn’t as clean I brought my sterilizer and would always sterilize the parts. Always have extra parts perhaps half of what you pump so you only have to wash once per day! When freezing breast milk is better to do it right away rather than waiting until the end. Always mention you’re traveling with breast milk or formula.

  47. So I have a few tips for pumping on a plane (I exclusively pump my little one and we went to Paris when she was four months old). I have a homemade pumping bra (nip holes cut in an old sports bra) and I put it on over a nursing tank so I just unclip the nursing tank and tuck it under the bra so I’m never exposed and then I used a light muslin blanket over top while I pumped with a manual pump while in my seat..

  48. These are great tips Jillian! I’m currently in Bali with my 6-month-old and learning all about milk supply and time change (16hrs from Vancouver), which is another crazy challenge us moms face! Kudos to you on traveling without your babe (I think it’s fantastic and very healthy for both mama + babe) and I look forward to any baby advice you give!

  49. Thanks for this article it’s great. I was hoping to find the article about preparing the vagina for delivery. Is there a way I can still see that? Thanks!

  50. Great Post! I travelled a lot with both kids as well and always brought milk home. I find it much easier to transport cold milk instead of frozen. There’s no limit to how much you can take, TSA may ask some questions but I just budget an extra 15 mins in for security. With cold milk you don’t need to worry about it thawing (and having to re-freeze it) , and you don’t need an ice pack (TSA took one away from me years ago), you can just use ice, and then refill the ice as you go. Flight attendants are always happy to top you up with ice, as are any fast food restaurants on the road or at the airport. The only downside to cold milk is that you can only keep it for 5 days before freezing it, but my trips were never longer than that anyways!

  51. Thank you for the great article! Another tip for sterilizing on the go is to use the travel sterilizing bags. I have ones from Medela. They are reusable, so you would only need one for every time you pumped … for the whole trip! Our oldest plays hockey, so when we had our baby I didn’t want to have to travel with so much stuff and found these bags. You just throw all the peices into the bag with a bit of water and put it in the microwave.

  52. Jillian; in the big picture of Annie’s life ( 80 -90 yrs) it won’t matter to her how long you nursed her, it will matter to her the time and quiet moments you give to her .

  53. Hi Jillian! Thank you so much for this very useful information! I just wanted to ask which size yeti you used? We are traveling for 4 nights without our 2 month old and I am wondering which size we need to transport the frozen breast milk back ? Thank you!

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