At Superdrug we’re proud to support all mums: breast feeders and bottle feeders alike! We understand that whether you’re a brand spanking new mum or a champion mother of five, the prospect of feeding your baby while you’re on the go or travelling abroad can be pretty daunting. To help out, we’ve come up with a handy guide of tips and tricks to make it easier for you to juggle feeding the little ones while also enjoying that precious trip away.
Planning a flight? Feeding your baby when you take off and when you land is a great way to calm young babies, but there are a few things to think about if you want to feed your baby pre-packed breast or formula milk on the plane. First of all, you’ll always be allowed to bring enough milk, sterilised water and/or baby food to last the journey if you’re travelling with your baby. This is quite often more than the normal 100ml hand luggage allowance so you should be prepared to have containers of foods or liquids checked at security first. If you’re flying without your baby this time, but want to bring any of these items with you in your hand luggage, then unfortunately you won’t be able to pack any more than the usual 100ml allowance.
Breastfeeding is probably the easiest way to feed your baby on the go for all the women who can and want to do so. It’s a great way to travel light whilst giving your baby all the nutrients and goodness they’ll ever need, and you won’t need any extra equipment to boot! It could also prove to be the safest and most practical option if you’re staying somewhere where the local water seems dirty or unsanitary (although we really wouldn’t advise travelling anywhere like this with a newborn or young infant).
Remember that if you’re travelling somewhere hot then both you and your baby are likely to get dehydrated unless you’re both drinking enough liquids. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water so that you can stay healthy and produce all that extra milk for your baby, too! If you are going somewhere really warm, speak to your GP about how to keep your baby hydrated.
Bring a muslin cloth or blanket if you’re travelling somewhere hot to shield your baby and give yourself some privacy, if you want it. You should always feel happy and able to breastfeed in public but do be aware of any local cultural sensitivities around this depending on where you go.
Vaccines and Malaria Prevention
Both you and your baby should be vaccinated according to the UK’s recommended routine vaccine schedule. Don’t assume that just because you’ve been vaccinated against something, that your baby will also already be immune. They will also need to be protected properly. Speak to your GP or someone at your local Superdrug Travel Clinic about what you and your baby will need before travelling anywhere outside the UK. Your baby can catch infections from local food and water, so may need vaccinations against things like typhoid and hepatitis A, if this is appropriate in terms of age and destination.
It’s always so important to let your midwife, GP or local travel nurse know about your situation and whether or not you plan on breastfeeding your child if you’re getting any vaccines or antimalarial tablets for a trip. There is some evidence that live vaccine viruses like yellow fever can be passed on through breast milk so you should always discuss your options with a medical professional well in advance of any trip that might require you to get vaccinated.
We would always advise against going anywhere with a high risk of diseases like yellow fever or malaria as it could be dangerous for your baby. But if you do decide to have the vaccine or take antimalarials then you may need to consider bottle feeding instead.
For lots of mums, using bottles is the easiest and most comfortable option for feeding their baby. However, if you’re planning on bottle feeding whilst on a trip abroad or travelling away from home, this will take some extra planning and thinking beforehand. Here are our top tips for breast feeding while you’re on the move:
- Be prepared: always bring plenty of formula milk, sterilising equipment and bottles because you can’t be sure you’ll be able to get your normal brands while you’re out there!
- Good hygiene is the most important thing for bottle feeding both at home and abroad. While your baby is young, their immune system is still developing and this means that they have a much higher risk of getting scary infections. Make sure ALL the water you use for your baby’s bottle is 100% sterile and safe. Obviously don’t use any water that looks dirty, but remember that you should even avoid anything from the tap unless you’re boiling or sterilising it first.
- Bottled water is always best to use if you can while you’re abroad. However, it’s important to check that the salt levels (sodium) and sulphate levels aren’t too high before you use it because this won’t be healthy for your baby. Before you use it, always check that the seal is intact, and check out the label on the bottle to make sure that the sodium level (written as Na) is less than 200 mg per litre. The sulphate level (written as SO or SO4) should also always be less than 250 mg per litre.
- Mother knows best! Sterilising the water you use to make the formula milk needn’t be much more difficult than boiling it well beforehand. This is the oldest and best trick in the book!
- Make sure ALL the water you use is sterile: it’s important to know that even though bottled water is a much easier and safer option for making formula milk on the go, it won’t always be sterile. This means you’ll still have to boil it before you prepare the feed. Never re-boil bottled water because this could increase the sulphate and sodium levels.
- There are all sorts of amazing gadgets out there to help you sterilise your water while you’re travelling: look up disposable steriliser bags, sterilising tablets and travel sterilisers online to check out your options! For general tips on water purification, check out our travel page on safe drinking water.
We hope that our guide on breast and bottle feeding while travelling away from home has helped! In addition, we would recommend that it’s always a good idea to see your midwife, GP, or one of our friendly nurses at a local Superdrug Travel Clinics well in advance before travelling to make sure that you and your baby stay healthy while you’re out there.