I’m a working mom that breastfeeds. Spring is my crazy travel season, so to eliminate a lot of hassle, my husband and baby have been traveling with me for all of my work trips. Until this week. I had to take my first solo trip to Palm Desert, CA. I was a little nervous about how it would all go, but it went fine, and I learned quite a bit!
I was able to store up a small freezer full of milk during my maternity leave, so baby was able to drink that while I was gone.
First off, I made sure to pump before I left home and brought my electric pump and a hand pump in my carry on luggage as well as bottles and milk bags to freeze. I had a tight connection in Chicago but had a spare minute to use the hand pump in the bathroom to relieve some pressure. I also did this on the four hour flight.
I made sure my room at the JW Marriott had a refrigerator when I checked in. I had planned to crank the temperature up so that it would turn into a mini freezer. Unfortunately, there were no temperature controls. I called the front desk, and they told me that I could drop my cooler off at the bellhop stand, and they would store it in a freezer for me.
Working mom life… thankfully I brought two soft coolers in my checked bag, so I was able to leave one in the freezer and use another to transport milk around. This cooler was pretty discreet too!
It was a little hard to find time to stop off in my room to pump and then rush back downstairs to drop the milk off before my next meetings. I definitely got a workout with all that running back and forth.
Everyone at the Marriott was super helpful.
The one thing I was most worried about was flying back with the milk. I picked up my cooler the night before to ensure everything was freezing then added milk to it and took it back down to the front desk to freeze overnight.
All of my milk was frozen before my flight except for what I pumped right before I left the hotel. I separated it into two different containers so it wasn’t more than 3 ounces in each one.
Security was a breeze to my relief. When I entered security, I told the agent that I had frozen breast milk. I put it on the belt, and it went right through- no questions asked. Such a relief! I know that when we flew with baby, they had to test any of the liquid milk that was over 3 ounces, so it was nice to not have to test anything this time around.
Once I got through security, I had lunch at a restaurant and asked for a couple of cups of ice to add to the cooler. Everything stayed cold and mostly frozen until I reached home roughly 6 hours later.
I also had an hour layover in Dallas, so I decided to check out their Mother’s Room. I would have been in heaven if I was traveling with my baby. You do have to use the phone nearby to call and get the code. You also have to give them your name and some other minor details. That was a little frustrating because I was in a hurry, but this beats hand pumping in the bathroom.
I’m glad most major airports have spaces like this now. Phoenix Mesa Gateway had a great little room. Chicago also has some, but I have yet to check those out. Anyways- I just pumped for a quick 10 minutes here, stuffed the milk in my cooler, and headed off to my last plane home!
I was really surprised at how much easier this whole thing was than I thought. I am glad I don’t have to do this very often, but I feel a lot more confident if I have to do it again. Definitely worth it to be able to keep feeding my baby breast milk! So thankful for the women that paved the way to make this more common place! Cheers to you!