Although we are huge fans of breastfeeding, we’re not aiming to get into a discussion of its merits here (mostly to respect those for whom breastfeeding is not a utopian joy, but a lot of hard, painful slog). However, we DO want to highlight its practical benefits: breastfeeding and travel with a baby are often the perfect pair (pun intended) 😉
Why are breastfeeding and travel such a good fit?
It’s portable. It’s typically available. It’s always clean, and for babies under six months old, it’s basically all the food and liquid they need to survive and thrive.
Once your baby is over six months, you’ll likely have him on solids and water as well; so here, breastfeeding is still helpful on the road, but mostly as a portable, convenient addition to other food and liquid (and let’s face it –when you are travelling anything portable and convenient is a winner), and of course, for comfort.
At any age, breastfeeding is also superbly useful on flights – during take off and landing simply put your bub on the breast and the discomfort in their ears will abate.
But what if you’re not used to breastfeeding in public?
It’s true: while travelling you’ll probably find it harder to find private places to feed. If this is a concern for you, try to get used to feeding more publicly before you leave home, rather than the first time you’re feeding in front of strangers being when you are on the road.
You may also find yourself in a culture where pulling out a breast to feed a baby is rarely done. In these cases, like all areas of travel, it’s worth being culturally appropriate. Take a muslin to cover the feeding baby with, or try to feed more often in your hotel room or private spaces like parents rooms (if these exist), or a quiet room at the back of a restaurant.
Cultural sensitivity is important when you’re travelling, however breastfeeding in public is one issue where you don’t have to be in a different culture to get negative feedback from passersby. However, mums vary according to how much this bothers them. There are those who take zero notice of it (like our founder Sue, who will pretty much feed anywhere without caring who is around – except if it’s culturally inappropriate, then she adapts) and others who find this really uncomfortable. It’s good to think about where you sit on this scale before you leave, so you can plan accordingly.