Monday, 30 April 2012

Guest Post: Breastfeeding on the go – have baby, will travel

Although breastfeeding can be hard to establish, once you have overcome any initial breastfeeding problems it’s one of the most straightforward aspects of parenting. The beauty of breastfeeding is that it provides a constant for your baby – no matter where you go or how strange your surroundings, your breasts are a familiar and secure source of comfort, with no need to fret about water quality, how you are going to make up bottles or how to carry all the supplies you will need.

There are a few things it is worth bearing in mind when thinking about breastfeeding on the move:

Before you leave

If you are going somewhere where you need vaccinations it is a good idea to talk to your GP about the fact that you are breastfeeding. Most guidance suggests that both live and inactivated vaccines are safe to have while breastfeeding, but do discuss this with a health professional.

On the move
Travelling with your baby in a sling can make navigating airports, train stations or unfamiliar places much simpler and calmer. You can even position your baby in a sling so they are able to breastfeed at the same time, meaning you are hands free to check in your luggage, deal with older children or find your way across a strange city.

Air travel
Being able to breastfeed your baby during a flight is so useful, as it is a great way to keep your baby calm and help them sleep. It is particularly helpful during take off and landing as it can help to alleviate the ear pain associated with changes in cabin pressure. Talk to your travel agent or the airline directly about the support and facilities they will be able to offer you and your family.

Milk supply
It is useful to bear in mind that you may experience some temporary drop in milk supply when travelling. This may be caused by dehydration due to long flights or illness and is nothing to worry about. Keep yourself topped up with plenty of fluids, breastfeed regularly and milk levels will soon settle back to normal levels.

When in Rome…
Be culturally sensitive when travelling abroad. Some countries have different attitudes towards breastfeeding in public and it is wise to find out beforehand what is locally acceptable. Check with the tourist board or your travel agent before you leave so you can be prepared to feed discreetly or in private if necessary.

Do I need to supplement?
For exclusively breastfed babies there is no need to supplement. Even in very hot climates there is no need to give extra drinks of water as breastmilk is designed to satisfy thirst as well as hunger. In hot weather you will probably notice your baby taking more of a ‘little and often’ approach as they will need to have frequent short drinks.

Happy holidays!

This article was written by Jo Middleton a freelance writer, breastfeeding counsellor and mum of two. Read more from Jo at her award-winning blog, Slummy single mummy.


*Disclaimer: I received a payment for publishing this guest post.

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