Breastfeeding on the go - Kristin's Top Tips
Kristin writes about her experiences travelling, living and parenting abroad on her brilliant blog; Family Sees World. Unfortunately in this post, I’m not able to share brands that Kristin has specifically mentioned, but you can click the links (words in italics) to her post where she really helpfully provides suggestions. Do click those for some super handy hints! (Some of the links she provides on her blog are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, she will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.) Click here for Kristin's blog post.
I’ve also left in Kristin’s links to some of her other blog posts, so do have a read if you’d like to hear more about her adventures.
But with no further ado, here are Kristin’s travel breastfeeding hacks:
I want to share with you what I learned way too late about breastfeeding on the go. But first I want to tell you that typically I prefer to use a nursing cover when I’m breastfeeding out in public. I fully support women to breastfeed how they feel most comfortable, and would always encourage you to consider the culture you are in when determining whether you use a nursing cover or not. In our experience, sitting on a park bench with a nursing cover on is almost like wearing a big flashing arrow saying “look at me!” sometimes it attracts more attention because it is obvious you are feeding a baby. What I learned while on our jaunt through Europe actually helped me save time and be more inconspicuous while feeding a hungry baby.
My big ah-ha realization came down to these two things… First, you can breastfeed your baby while they are in a baby carrier and second, invest in some flattering nursing tops with easy access, and no one will even know you’re feeding a baby!
Before we moved to #Thailand, I was use to wearing nursing tank tops under whatever shirts I liked. But when we moved and it was hot ALL YEAR ROUND, I knew I needed to figure something else out, because it was no longer comfortable to have 2 layers of shirts on at all times (not to mention nursing tank tops are typically pretty tight – aka sweaty in the heat). So a friend of mine gave me a few nursing tops which I love the tiered flattering layers of the tank tops, and they're super cute! After that I found Latched Mama. You guys…. clothes from these brands are all I've worn for the past year. I literally have only worn their tops, dresses or rompers for the entire last year. I was able to breastfeed my infant with their easy access layering, that didn’t require an additional tank top underneath.
I wish I could show you a video of how crazy we must have looked last October… We were towards the beginning of our trip through #Europe, we had just arrived in #Paris, unloaded our stuff at the hotel and jumped on the underground to see the Eiffel Tower. My youngest was 5 months old and exclusively breastfed at the time. But picture this…. We are in this incredibly long line to get up the #EiffelTower, because we didn’t buy “skip the line” tickets ahead of time (major fail), and so we were relegated to this line which is mostly adults and some teenagers. Maybe there were a few other kids, but either way our family was stealing the show.
The older 2 kids (3 and 5) did not exactly want to stand in line for what ended up being 2 hours, and I don’t blame them! I had the infant and my husband had our 1.5 year-old in the ergo. The baby is screaming and so upset because he was hungry, but there is no way to step out of the line to find somewhere to sit and feed him. So, I awkwardly tried to hold him and nurse him while he’s flailing and everyone just keeps looking at us like we’re crazy. I mean… wouldn’t you be looking too?!?! My husband and I just had to look at each other and laugh. I promise you, laughter is the only thing that gets us through sometimes.
About an hour into waiting in line we were a train wreck… and yet we were too stubborn to leave the line and give up, after all we’ve already spent an hour in line! Although we had already been to the top of the Eiffel Tower many years before having kids, we came to Paris because our children had learned about the city and the Tower. We were not going to leave just because the line was long and our kids were loud. Everyone continued to stare, a few kind people talked to us and tried to entertain the kids, which was really sweet. In the end we made it up to the 2nd floor – because the top level was closed for some reason – and we were able to enjoy the beautiful view of the city at sunset! It was GORGEOUS!! The pink dusk hues turned the city into a place of magic. Even the kids were in awe, and the view made the stress of the long line fade into memory.
The reason I share that story is because I was struggling to find a comfortable way to feed him in a place where I was not able to sit down for several hours. The next day I vaguely recalled someone once saying you can nurse your child while they are in a baby carrier, so I figured I’d try. I loosened the shoulder straps until he was much lower and at the right height, and with the amazing double layer design of the nursing tops, I could discretely breastfeed him without anyone realizing what was happening. It worked brilliantly!
For the rest of our vacation, I could feed my baby while we were walking around on a tour, riding on a boat or visiting castles… I never again was stuck on a bench for 20+ minutes several times a day while we were out sightseeing. I felt free again! Because it was cooler weather, I often just wrapped my shawl around him, just like I did when he would fall asleep as well. Sometimes I didn’t cover him at all because you just simply couldn’t see anything.
This has also been very beneficial when flying as well. However, I often just wear the baby in a carrier for flights that are less than 4 hours. Although it is a little more work getting them lower in the carrier while sitting in the airplane seat, this still works well. For my sanity, any flights over 4 hours we pay the extra money for a seat and bring their FAA approved infant car seat for the flight.
As I mentioned above, I learned this trick when my 4th child was 5 months old! A little late in the game… But at the same time it never was really necessary with my other kids. If you are always on the go with breastfed babies, this tip alone saved us hours of time while traveling.