Breastfeeding on a Plane

Updated on May 24, 2011
J.L. asks from Seattle, WA
11 answers

Hi all - We are going on our summer vacation in a couple of months. My little guy will have just turned 1 at that time. He is BF, does okay with solids, but depends on breastmilk for most of his nutrition. Since he was 5 months or so, he has been very very picky about where he nurses. I've just always followed his lead and we now pretty much nurse at home, in his room, in the glider. Except at night - he'll nurse in bed with me. I'm worried that during this trip, he won't want to nurse, he'll be hungry and cranky and I'll be engorged and uncomfortable in many ways. I'm not concerned about feeding him on the plane (there was a time when I would nurse anywhere!), I'm more concerned about his refusal to nurse. The flight is from Seattle to Boston, so 5-6 hours either way.

Any advice on how to manage this or words of encouragement?


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answers from Anchorage on

Bring a small hand pump and if he refuses to feed and you get engorged pump what you can and offer it to him in sippy.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,

I breastfed my daughter for 2 years and I went on 2 trips to Seattle from Chicago before she turned 2. I am very thankful that I brought a huge blanket (cotton blanket, don't use fleece as it can get really hot) to cover the both of us when I'm feeding him. Make sure you sit on the window side so you can turn your back on the person sitting next to you (hopefully you're going with your husband or a significant other. This way, you and your son can concentrate on each other. I know my tips might not work for you because kids have different temperaments but all I can say is that you can do this! I did this twice and it went smoothly. You are doing the best thing for your son which is breastfeeding him. Just don't forget your blanket (you may bring a familiar toy or a blanket that you use at home). Please also bring your breast pump just incase he doesn't want to be fed inthe airplane. Don't be too stressed out about your trip. You will be fine. Good luck and have a great trip! You can do this!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

He will do it ... it may not be on schedule but he will nurse it will be comforting for him ... my son LOVED to nurse on the plane he never ate better!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would try to break his comfort zone a little by nursing when you are out and about. I would also bring a pump (even a manual one) in case he won't nurse.



answers from Washington DC on

check the TSA website about what items are allowed through security. I know that sealed ready made bottles or formula are allowed, but I don't know about bags of breast milk.

My guess would be that you would need to bring empty bags and then pump once you are through security.


answers from New York on

Hi J.,
Its great that you are taking a trip with your son, it will be a great break for you and he should enjoy it as well. I traveled with my 1 year old internationally and he loved it. Many have given you some great advice, I will just add by saying the following:

1) Rent a Medela Pump in Style advance pump if you can - its compact & light weight to carry with you
2) Take a nursing cover up (walmart sells one too) - and start using it from now so your son gets used to it
3) Consult your pediatrician and see if she has useful tips

Interesting articles in relation to flying with an infant on a plane that could be useful reads for you:

Some basic advice for parents traveling with a 1 year old child:

Let me know if I can be of any further help. Happy travels and please relax and enjoy it.




answers from San Francisco on

Take a pump and try to relax. Flying with a little one can be stressful on mama. Be prepared with some snacks for the trip and a sippy cup. Then pump if he refuses to nurse and you are filling up. But..relaxing will help so much for yourself and for him. Have a fun and safe flight. I hope all goes well!


answers from Richmond on

On the offchance he WON'T nurse, bring your pump!!

Good luck :)



answers from New York on

By age 1, your pediatrician is probably going to talk with you about shifting his "primary nutrition" focus from milk to actual foods so keep in mind the fact that he should be exploring lots of different foods now!

Starting now, you take the lead on where/when he nurses. If you start slowly taking that back, he may be better by then. Be prepared, though, with LOTS of snacks, toys and things to entertain him b/c even the "easiest eater" will be completely off-schedule on a plane trip!

When we flew with my son while I was nursing (he was 5 months at the teime), I brought along my breastpump and used it in the family lounge at the airport so that I was "empty" getting on the plane, nursed my son mid-flight and could then pump in the rental car. The airlines are pretty OK with this. If you don't have a pump, invest in a manual one just in case! You can always put a blanket over yourself or ask the flight attendant if you can sit back where they sit for a few minutes.



answers from Cumberland on

If you don't have a pump yet --try the Avent manual pump. Excellent and cheap -40 dollars. Bring some pumped milk in a cooler bag just in case he won't nurse on the plane.



answers from Gainesville on

I BF all 4 of my kids and Also on a plane. I brought a large light blanket to use as a cover up. But like some of the otehr posters have said your going to have to get him used to distractions while nursing and not just becasue of the plane ride, How are you going to nurse him during the trip if he will only nurse at home in the glider? I think you may have indavertently conditioned him to need it this way in order to BF. That said if you work on it a little you can move beyond. At about 9 mos he should be BF after he eats solids. and if he is hungry enough he will nurse! I nursed mine 1 thing in the am, after lunch and maybe b4 nap & at night. But like someone else has already said you should start relying on solid foods more and more!
Good luck!

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