Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Travelling with your Baby

on July 15, 2013

I used to travel with my daughter between Vancouver and Montreal several times a year. My surprise for you this time is that a new baby is much more portable than she seems. With a little planning, a vacation is not out of the question in the baby’s first summer:

Flying with your baby *

Flying with your baby *


Don’t get on when they are pre-boarding people travelling with small children. You’re going to be sitting on the plane for hours as it is. Keep walking around and moving for as long as possible.

If you have to change planes, go for a good walk in the airport instead of sitting around the departure lounge.

Use a sling, or your favourite baby carrier in the airport.  Without having to wait for the flight attendants to dig out your stroller, you’ll walk right off the flight. You can send your stroller through as luggage if you want to have it at your destination.

Carry as little as possible into the cabin. Stuff your coat into your suitcase just before it goes on the conveyor belt.

Bring a couple of new small quiet toys that will seem interesting for a bit longer. My daughter fondly remembers wondering what new things I would have for the plane ride.

Be prepared to miss the movie. Feel lucky if you get to read at all.

Bring some dry snack foods that aren’t too messy. Maybe it’s a good time to splurge on a forbidden treat.

To stay hydrated, ask for more than one drink at a time when the flight attendants come around. You can even ask for the whole can.

Your neighbours will appreciate you nursing your baby and helping her stay comfortable and calm. Surprisingly, there is a lot of privacy in the tight seating arrangements. Often the person in the next seat thought my baby was sleeping when she was actually nursing.

You might be able to lay your baby on the floor at your feet. I found that to be a nice break for my arms and shoulders. I put the sling down first as a blanket. Or you might be able to stand at the back of the plane after the food service. All this depends on it being a smooth flight though.

When you arrive at your destination, toss out your pre-baby sight-seeing aspirations. You can get a little bit done each day, but leave time for napping! All the energy to keep your baby happy on the flight and on the trip is coming straight from you. You’ll need some extra rest.

By Cynthia Waiz, La Leche League Leader.

Relax and enjoy!

Relax and enjoy!

Here are more tips for travelling with babies from La Leche League International :

If you fly, take an extra set of clothes for you and the baby in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is delayed (or the baby’s diaper leaks onto your lap). Wear a loose-fitting top you can easily pull up for nursing. A light blanket can help give you privacy in tight quarters.  Your baby may feel some temporary discomfort during the plane’s descent as the air pressure changes. Sucking (more specifically, swallowing) may relieve this discomfort, as it helps the ears to ‘pop’.


Breastfeeding sign *

(Note that safety experts recommend that, to avoid injury, babies and children should stay restrained in their seats for the duration of the flight just as adult passengers are expected to do. They also contend that it’s just as important to properly restrain your child in a plane as it is in a car).  Many mothers find that it is possible to breastfeed their baby in a car seat while remaining buckled in themselves.

Vehicle travel:

On a long car trip, be sure to allow extra time for breastfeeding stops. It’s unsafe (and illegal in most places) to travel with the baby in your arms. If your baby needs to be held, stop the car and take a break. If your baby sleeps well in the car, consider driving at night or during nap times.

Even the most enjoyable traveling can be tiring with a baby. Try to leave plenty of time in your schedule for relaxing and unwinding. Pay careful attention to your own needs for nutritious food, plenty of liquids, and rest. Watch carefully to see that your baby is not overtired from too much handling or stimulation. He or she may want to nurse more than usual. It’s not unusual for a baby’s schedule to change when you’re away from home.

Depending on your baby’s age, bring along a few familiar toys as well as some new ones to entertain him/her. Some babies sleep better in strange places if you bring sheets and/or blankets from home (they’ll smell and feel right to the baby).

Happy holidays!

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking or Internationally .

* flickr CC


3 responses to “Travelling with your Baby

  1. You know I am always so eager to pre board with my little guy, but hanging back seems like a really good idea…The boobs are a Godsend too! Back from a 10 hour flight a week ago, the only thing worse than the journey is a baby with major jet lag that wants to play all night…still!!! Not eager to get on a plane any time soon, but great tips, thanks.

  2. […] Breastfeeding questions don’t just come up when you are at home. Find the contact information for a La Leche League Leader in the community you are visiting before you leave home or while you are away. […]

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