Thursday, April 29, 2010

Guest Post: Have Breastfed Baby, Will Travel

I'm pleased to present a guest post today by Corinne, a mom of two who writes about traveling with kids on her blog. This post is about her experiences traveling with a breastfed baby.

We didn’t take our first trip with our daughter until she was no longer nursing. It was my decision to wait. Lovingly nicknamed “The Dairy Queen” by my husband, my already well-endowed chest doubled in size while breastfeeding and I wasn’t certain that there was a swimsuit known to man that could contain me. Truthfully though, I wasn’t keen on bustin’ out all over the beach when I was already dealing with body issues as a new mother.  So, in addition to our already stuffed suitcases, I added a few cans of formula and figured out how to sterilize bottles in a hotel room.

Fast forward a little over 3 years and we’ve added a bouncing baby boy to our mix.  This time I was simply too in need to get away to care. By 8mos, my son had been on 4 trips – the first two when he was exclusively nursing – and boy did I learn how little work it is when you’re breastfeeding and traveling. 

Our first adventure as a family of four was an extended long weekend in Quebec City.  At 10.5 weeks, my son was sleeping good stretches of at least 8 hours at night (we’re so lucky, I know) and a pretty contented little guy.  We were *almost* in a routine of feeding every 3-4 hours, so we were able to be out and about, and I just needed to find a quiet place to sit when it came time to nurse.  One time he fussed in a restaurant and I nursed at the table - no one blinked an eye.

Next was a cottage resort a month later... This time there was a beach involved (albeit a lake) but it’s safe to say that motherhood the second time around leaves you precious little time to worry about things like body issues when you’ve a baby to cuddle and a preschooler to admire when she’s swimming with her daddy.  Have I looked better in a swimsuit? Yes. Did I really care? Not particularly.

By the time we visited Gramps in Florida, the baby had just started solids, and I was pumping milk to mix in his cereal and to thin his veggies.  Aside from the odd good natured grimace from my father-in-law about breast milk in his fridge (and the requisite jokes about pouring it in his coffee), I still had no bottles and nipples to sterilize.  In fact, in the shade of our beach umbrella, with the sand in my toes and sea breeze in our hair, I had a moment of pure bliss as I nursed my little sand crab.

That same bliss happened a lot more frequently on our last trip, which was to an All-Inclusive beach resort in the Caribbean. I figured we’d go back to our room to nurse and for naps, but we didn’t bother.  While his sister frolicked with her dad in the turquoise water, my roly poly beach baby would breastfeed under our palapa, before having the naps of his life in his stroller.  At 8mos, he was onto table foods and sippy cups of water, but this time around I didn’t even have the pump to worry about. 

With so many reports of families being kicked off airplanes, or shamed in stores, I’m delighted to report that we experienced nary a stink eye as my son nursed in airports, on airplanes, in restaurants, in parks, on the beach, or by the pool. Now, as our well-traveled 2nd born approaches his first birthday, I can’t believe how much more I’ve learned about traveling with babies.  I never would have believed it with my first, but the younger the baby, the easier to travel with – especially a breastfed one. 

Corinne McDermott is the founder of Have Baby Will Travel – your guide to family travel with babies, toddlers and young children.  Connect with her at or

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