When we first took the boys on holiday Toby was only 6 months old and still being breastfed. When we went on holiday to America and Edith was 18 months old, I was still breastfeeding her too, so I feel like I’ve had a good few years of experience under my belt! I have to say I felt so at ease with feeding the kids never really concerned me at all, but a friend of mine who was also feeding at the time was concerned. Did she need a cover? Would she be well received and so on.
All silly worries, but genuine nonetheless, so I thought I would put together a list of what you need to take on holiday as a breastfeeder and a few top tips too. I also felt that while this is a much easier list to do than a bottle feeding list and I didn’t want to share a bottle feeding list and leave out breastfeeding!
What to take on holiday if you are breastfeeding:
- A cover – only if you are nervous about feeding in public or usually prefer a cover. Please remember breastfeeding is a normal thing and you do not have to use a cover. I would also like to point out that when you are on holiday it is incredibly hot, so if you do choose to take a cover, I would recommend something that is made from muslin and is totally breathable. Big, thick covers (especially in black) are a no go for hot countries. Also it’s worth remembering that if you want to use a cover then why not use a sarong that you have taken for the beach? Saves you taking two pieces of cloth! I’m not in any way trying to preach or demonise using (or not using) a cover – I’m a firm believer in choosing what works for you, but if you do want to feed your baby under one then it’s worth considering the heat.
- Breast pads (enough to see you through the holiday and travel either side) – I don’t know if it is the places that I have visited but breastpads seems few and far between and when I did find them they weren’t the brand I wanted or liked. I honestly found it much easier to just take my own, they take hardly any space and weigh next to nothing.
- Nipple cream – it can get very dry in hot countries (or very cold countries!) and I would always recommend that, to avoid soreness, you take nipple cream. This can also double as a dry lip remedy, and if you are using Lansinoh this can be used as nappy cream!
- Nursing bras/sleep bras – this one is a little obvious, because you will no doubt be taking bras with you and if you are breastfeeding then you will be taking nursing bras, but just in case you were thinking of only taking bikinis or swimwear I really would recommend nursing bras incase your breasts become sore or there is any change in your body such as leaking if baby maybe starts feeding more or less due to weather change. I hadn’t leaked in an AGE when we went to America, but after feeding for 9 hours on the plane on and off (and on and off and on and off…) I did leak when I got to day two or three.
- Easy to nurse in swimwear – this is again a bit obvious and I apologise, however I do have a friend who bought herself a beautiful swimsuit to celebrate her getting back into shape after baby, unfortunately she was breastfeeding and the swimsuit was a high neck halter with a keyhole. It was the least worn swimsuit in her suitcase!
My top tips for breastfeeding on holiday:
- Find somewhere shaded to feed baby. It is tempting to enjoy that wonderful sun I’m sure, but the problem is it isn’t always great for baby and they may well fall asleep before they have finished their feed, or worse over heat which could be very dangerous for them.
- Find somewhere a bit quieter to feed baby/toddler if they are prone to distraction. Toby was so easily distracted by everything when he got a bit older, if you are feeding a toddler it might be an idea to sit a bit further back than that toddler play pool! Nothing we make you squeal quite like a toddler still latched and wrenching their mouth away from a nip.
- Be conscious of where you are feeding. But don’t ever feel afraid. In some countries there are certain laws that prohibit discrimination of breastfeeding mamas, but in some there are not. Potentially being discrete would be a good idea if you are unsure of where you are feeding. That being said I have found that it is a complete misconception that certain areas will treat you badly or differently for breastfeeding, especially european countries. I can’t express how supportive and welcoming the majority of places I have been have been. I was anxious in the US – they have a bit of a reputation for being a tough country for breastfeeders, but there was absolutely no issue – and I was feeding an older child so I was really pleased!
- Drink plenty of water. One of the most important things for keeping breast milk supply up is drinking plenty of water. I can’t stress enough how you need to keep drinking water, and if you are indulging in the odd all inclusive cocktail then remember that dehydrates and you need to replace the water!
- Make sure you eat well. When I was on holiday with a breastfeeding Toby I would often find myself indulging in snacks. I say often, but everyday Reuben and I would head up to the snack bar and get a plate full of chips, chicken nuggets and other terribly bad for you treats to share with our clan. While this is fine because you are on holiday it’s important to remember to eat proper meals as well, not masses, but consistent meals to keep your energy and supply up.
- For the plane: Feed baby to stop any ear ache during take off and landing. I know I have mentioned this elsewhere, but I think that it is really useful to know, regardless of breast or bottle feeding. Feeding baby stops their ears poppy (which can be very painful) and helps to soothe them during this time.
The main thing to remember when being on holiday is to keep calm and roll with it. Enjoy your holiday!