Babies, breastfeeding and travel

Your baby is completely portable and so is his food source if you are breastfeeding. This can make travel with a little one much easier and safer than contending with potentially unsafe sources of infant food, formula and water.  It’s also much easier not to have to carry feeding equipment and premixed formula on top of the ‘basic’ baby gear.

If you are planning to travel with your breastfed baby, you may have some anxiety about how this will work in actual practice. So here are a few simple things you can do to enjoy the experience without stress for you or your baby.

  • When booking flights, check with your travel agent  if  you can reserve a  bulkhead seat (which  has extra space) and  a cot. A cot will be much easier and safer than trying to doze or eat your own meals with a baby on your lap during long flights.
  • Although you are only allowed to take small bottles of water on international flights, request extra water on board  (and drink plenty),- so you stay hydrated.
  • Nurse your baby on take off and landing to alleviate ear pain due to cabin pressure in planes.
  • Although you may be concerned about breastfeeding your baby to sleep when you are at home, please throw out the rule books and use this wonderful mothering tool to your best advantage – a nursing baby is much easier to manage than a screaming baby or an overtired irritated baby.
  • Pack some sachets of oral rehydration solution for yourself in case you do become dehydrated or catch a tummy bug. If your milk supply  seems reduced due to dehydration, increase your fluids and feed your baby more often –skin to skin cuddles, rest and extra fluids will boost your milk supply within 24 hours.
  • If your baby is already eating family foods it  would be wise to take some prepacked baby food such as the foods in tubes that can be squeezed out and recapped , avoiding contamination if baby doesn’t finish the entire contents.
  • If your baby gets diarrhoea, you can continue breast-feeding . If he is partially weaned, you can revert to totally breastfeeding. This will keep him hydrated and the breast-milk will kill any ‘nasty bugs’.  Also, seek medical attention as babies can become dehydrated quickly.
  • Try to be prepared for varying cultural acceptance of breastfeeding in public. If you are visiting a country where this is an issue, you can feed discreetly by pulling clothing up or unbuttoning from the waist, rather than ‘flopping it all out’ or you can drape a shawl over your shoulder and your baby.  It’s better to feel comfortable and enjoy your holiday than wasting energy trying to ‘educate’ ingrained cultural sensitivities.
  • Don’t forget a baby carrier or wrap. Explore baby carriers for comfort and ease and check whether you can feed while wearing your baby.  This can give you two hands free while attending to luggage and check-ins as well as site seeing.
  • Pack some Boobie Bikkies just in case you get extra hungry and cant access food as soon as you need it – they are individually wrapped so throw a few in your bag for a ready snack.
  • RELAX – remember, this is a holiday! Laugh, enjoy and create happy memories by taking lots of photos of your baby in the special places you visit.


Pinky McKay, International Board certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and best -selling baby care author as well as the creator of Boobie Bikkies, all natural and organic cookies to support breastfeeding mothers.  To learn the most effective techniques to increase your breastmilk, download our free ebook, “Making More Mummy Milk,Naturally” by Pinky McKay.

  1. Karen Granlund says

    These guys don’l look like they have spent 14 hrs on a flight:) We are now in Doha on a stop over with our almost 6 month old girl. We flew Sydney – Melbourne – Doha and the last flight was 14 hrs. Our little girl is exclusively BF, and we use an Ergo carrier. Both of which are absolute life-savers. That doesn’t mean it is easy going, but I couldn’t imagine doing it with bottles and no carriers…

  2. Luci B says

    Great article. I would add window seats give you a bit more elbow room, request a spare seat next to you if the flight is not full, accept a pillow where offered and place under your arm on the side your baby is feeding and most importantly feed on the descent NOT the landing. This is typically announced by the airline crew or you will start to feel your own ears popping

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