8 tips for breastfeeding on the plane
I was on 42 flights in last 18 months and on all of them I have breastfed. I can then, honestly say I am fairly experienced.
Most of them were short flights up to 4 hours and 3 were long distance (Japan, Canada and Cuba). I have read several web advice but no one will give you a full information.
Breast feeding was the most comfortable and best option when travel with baby- bottle free, additional luggage free and, of course best food for your baby wherever you are.
I have gathered here everything I wish I would know before my first flight.
1. When checking in reserve a window seat. It is a most comfortable seat from my experience. It gives you more space, more privacy and you and baby are not bumped all the time by others. For long flights reserve a baby basin. It usually comes with additional costs but it is so worth it.
2. Always pack a small pillow and light blanket to your hand luggage. This will make you more comfortable when you breastfeed. Some airlines can provide you with pillow but they cannot guarantee one, especially on short flights. Also even if they have one or two you may not be the first one in the queue to get one. Also pack some extra muslim cloth in case of any burping incidents.
3. Check with your airport if you can bring the pushchair to the airplane entrance. This is an airport not airline policy. Most airports will allow you you to drive your own pushchair around the airport especially if baby is less than 6 months old. Pushchair always travels for free. Also check if the airport has a breast feeding station. Most of them have at least one. The most fantastic once are in Zurich.
It is not true they will destroy your pushchair on flight. My pushchair survived all of above flights and barley has a scratch. Sometimes I covered my pushchair with cheap rain protector. It is a good trick.
4. If you travel alone – what happened to me a lot, always inform staff that you are alone and you may need help to get on the plane and off the plane. For example to fold the pushchair etc. Inform the staff during the luggage check in and ask for advice.
5. In most airlines you will be entitle to enter plane first. Do so and prepare everything before all traffic. When entering the plane ask kindly the flight attendance if the flight is full and if by any chance there is and extra free row or two seats next to each other you could use. In my case 80 % of the time there was and extra space I could use or they were arranging it for me. Remember one happy baby makes over 100 people happy:)
6. You can breast feed your baby at any time during flight (taxi, take-off, and landing) as long as your baby wears the belt securing them (Exception : Canadian airline – you don’t use belt for the baby and need to hold baby in horizontal position) It is best to secure the baby before you start feeding. I always tried to start breastfeeding during the taxi since it is calming the baby and also it will help him to undergo with pressure in his ears (which is a common reason for babies to cry). There should be no problem whatsoever to feed your baby on the middle east airlines as well as far as you respect others privacy and cover your breast.
7. In case you are planning additionally feeding with bottle there should not be a problem to warm up baby food. If you are also planing to express milk on a flight – check with your airline if they provide power socket. Unfortunately most of them don’t. In this case it might be useful to bring manual pump or pump it on the airport. If you need to keep breast milk cool you will need a cooling bag.
8. Dear mum always remember about yourself as well. Wear comfortable clothing- something you can easily take off if is to hot. Get yourself a bottle of water before you enter the plane. Try to relax. Your stress can affect the baby. Stay as calm as possible and remember that you can always ask flight attendance for help.
Good luck and see you in the air!