One of the largest challenges while breast/body feeding through an elimination diet is navigating travel. Issues with milk storage, TSA, meal prep, and finding places to pump or feed can be so problematic that many may avoid traveling at all costs. However, this isn’t feasible for most.
Read some tips for successfully traveling with or without your baby!
1) Prep and Pack Ahead of Time:
When it comes to bringing food through TSA, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Generally, solid food items such as fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, and baked goods are allowed through security. Check out the bottom of this piece for a full breakdown from the TSA!
Find a great travel cooler that will transit well, something that you can easily secure or tape shut. Consider how many days you will be gone and prepare to have a protein, carb, fat, and vegetable source for each meal plus some extra snack food. Have enough food for your travel time plus backup for any possible delays. Once you arrive you may have access to a grocery store to stock up on staples, however plain cooked meats can be harder to find. If that is a concern, pack enough protein to last your entire trip.
Meat such as chicken and steak can be pre-cooked, vacuum sealed, and frozen. This serves as double duty by keeping other foods in your cooler chilled. Pull out meat to thaw as needed. Grilled chicken breasts travel well and are enjoyable cold if a microwave isn’t available. The cooler can then be used to transport milk back home.
Keeping yourself nourished during your travels is just as important as when you’re at home. Whether you’re traveling for work or fun, it’s an added stressor but being prepared can help you feel better about it.
Pro tip: A hard plastic cooler with a flat top doubles as a seat if you end up pumping in an obscure location.
2) Finding a Place to Feed or Pump While Traveling:
Many airports now have nursing/pumping rooms available and can be located with a quick google search. Make sure the pump has a battery pack and you bring extra batteries in case you cannot find a good location with an available outlet. An extra Ziploc works great for used pump parts until you can properly clean them. If you're having trouble finding a place to nurse/pump or need assistance with anything else, don't be afraid to ask for help. Many airports and public places have staff members who can assist you.
3) Transporting Your Milk When Traveling:
If you need to travel with expressed milk, consider using the cooler that you packed your food in to transport your milk home. Freeze your milk flat in bags to maximize space and add frozen water bottles or ice packs. Frozen water bottles are allowed if they are solid. Consider also grabbing ice from a restaurant once you are past security.
Alternatively, you can use a handy breast milk chiller such as Ceres Chill to easily transport up to 34 oz! Even if you aren't traveling, this amazing product is a breastfeeding game changer.
It’s likely you’ve heard horror stories of parents having to pump their milk when going through security at the airport. These alarming instances leave behind a devastated family and an outraged public.
This led to the following guidelines for breast milk transportation through the TSA:
Traveling while breast or body feeding on an elimination diet can be challenging, however it is definitely possible with some planning and preparation. By packing the right supplies, finding a comfortable place to feed or pump, and properly transporting your milk, you can have a successful and enjoyable trip. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it and remember to prioritize your own nourishment. With a little extra effort, you can make traveling on an elimination diet a smooth and rewarding experience.