Breastfeeding in an Airport

Kat - posted on 08/25/2011 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I am thinking about traveling to AZ in March. My LO will be 16 months. I dont know why i feel strange about BF in public. I guess im not ready for the glares, and uncomfortbleness. Nowing me i will say fuck you or just cry. Anyone willing to share their BF and Airport flying experiences? I would think during take off would be a good BF time, that and a flight to AZ from where i live is 6 to 8 hours at the least. MAN! I didnt remember if always being that long of a travel day!

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Last time I flew my LO was 14 months old, just recovering from a tummy bug and hadn't really slept all night because we were travelling by car for five hours and she doesn't do car-sleeping. NURSING HER SAVED ME!!! Can you imagine the kind of tantrums that were coming on every twenty minutes or so?! Everytime she started I latched her on - done. Two hours on the airport and four hours on the plane, kids screaming their heads off all over the place, but I had my magic weapon. Don't pump, don't worry about people staring, just concentrate on your LO and do your thing. By the end of the day you will be soooo happy you are still breastfeeding and pitty those who don't.

Laressa - posted on 08/31/2011

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I have never flown with my babies. But i have travelled a LOT with my children. One thing about breastfeeding is that the milk us always ready, always the right temperature and sterile. No worries about the water being pure enough to mix formula. You can't take your bottled water on a plane. You don't have to deal with bottles getting sour either. Even if its uncomfortable to breastfeed in public the convenience of it makes me thankful every time that i have the privilege to bf. And if your child is sensitive to unusual surroundings and schedules he will be happier for the comforting connection with mom.

Lori - posted on 08/26/2011

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Kat - When I've traveled it's been with my husband, and we've always purchased a seat for the baby, so I've never had a stranger sitting next to me. When the baby has the car seat on the airplane it's required to be in the window seat, so I've always sat in the middle seat with my husband next to me when it was the 3 of us, and now that it's 4 I sit in the middle with the baby in the window seat, my 3 year old in the aisle seat, and my husband in the aisle seat right across from my 3 year old.

I try to cover up as much as I can, but sometimes the baby just doesn't want a blanket over or near her face, so I still just take care of the baby, and concentrate on her. Like Daniela said, concentrate on your LO and you won't even notice or care if someone looks your way.

My 9 month old did sleep a bit on each flight. About a 30 minute nap. The naps depend on what their normal nap time is, and how excited about the plane they are. I have a friend who's baby slept through a full 3 hour plane ride, but neither of my girls ever nap that long, so they sure don't do that on a plane either.

Yes, I BF my oldest during take off and landing when she was over 10 months. Even though she always had her own seat, babies are allowed to be on your lap during take off and landing until they are 2 years old. We took a trip with her when she was 21 months old. She was down to only nursing at nap time and bed time, but for the flight, I nursed her during take off and landing, and once in between. No one commented or anything. The only comments we've had about the kids have been about their behavior on the flight, and usually it's something like "I can't believe how good your little girl was". We did however get one crazy lady sitting in front of us once. My older one was 15 months at the time, and she was crying /screaming. I had nursed her not to long before that, and was about to try nursing again when the lady in front of us turned around, screamed at us, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH, I guess we should all just start screaming and yelling then!" It took a whole lot of self control for me and my husband to ignore her. But we did, and I was able to get my LO latched on again, and she nursed happily for a while. OH well, but I mean really, who turns around and yells at a baby!

Lori - posted on 08/25/2011

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I just got home a few hours ago from a 5 day trip. We had a 4 1/2 hour nonstop flight. I have a 3 year old and a breastfeeding 9 month old. We have been doing about 2 trips (flights) per year since my 3 year old was born, and I nursed her till she was 23 months.

The first few times we flew when my older daughter was little I brought some pumped milk with me for the airport or plane because I was nervous about breastfeeding in public. I found however that as you mentioned during take off was a good time to nurse. During landing is also a good time to nurse. While in my seat on the airplane I felt pretty protected from prying eyes, and during take off and landing the only ones to see would be my husband sitting next to me and perhaps a stewardess. I have found that many more people are bothered by a screaming baby than by a baby quietly nursing. (real big shock there right :) ). I ended up not using the bottles I'd pumped for, and just nursed. And what a hassle getting through security with pumped milk. They are required to "test" the milk, or any other fluids you bring for your baby. It's an easy test, you open the bottle, they wave a little stick over it, then they dip the stick into some test kit and check it. But it's one thing that you can avoid by just planning on nursing the baby rather than trying to feed bottles.

We also found that a stroller in the airport is such a pain. You're much better off using a sling, or other carrier for your LO.

So your LO is 16 months old and you haven't BF in public yet? How have you avoided it?

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Kat - posted on 09/02/2011

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good to know about the carriers Tanya, thx.

Aleksandra- I feel like in the back makes me feel the worse for flying, ears, and such, with loud mottor. What has your experience been?

Your right Lilliana. I jsut have to focus on us.

Aleks - posted on 09/01/2011

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As any breastfeeding in public I just don't look around at what the strangers are looking at. That way it cuts out all the angst that may occur on my part. I just totally ignore everyone else, and comfort myself in the knowledge that I am doing the right thing and am well within my rights to do this ANYWHERE!
Now, as for the plane journey... is it possible to ask to sit somewhere in the back of the plane? That way you may not have to worry too much about all the other passangers giving you grief, as they probably will be none the wiser. I found that sometimes the airlines put parents with kids towards the back so that the airline staff can be on hand more readily and of course closer to the fascilities! Not to mention most people prefer sitting towards the front of the plane, so that there is a better chance of having spare/extra seats around you as well....
Anyway... just a thought.

Lilliana - posted on 09/01/2011

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I nursed my son when he was 2 in an airport, people look but they're allowed too! Dreamsacks has amazing lightweight soft bamboo tops that are incredible for nursing!
I wouldn't worry about people looking at you feeding your baby, just look at your LO and you won't notice!

Tanya - posted on 09/01/2011

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Kat, I just got lots of really lightweight tops, so that even with doubling up, I wasn't too hot. We had a crazy heatwave this summer and last, and around the house, I was almost always topless, but it was okay wearing the two tops out. :)

My LO is almost 16 months. The Maya Wrap ring sling is a sling, not a wrap (the name is confusing!), but I do have a wrap as well, and I don't wear him (in any of my carriers) facing out, for a number of reasons, the main one being that it puts all the baby's weight on their crotch, which isn't good for their hips, and it puts them in a bit of a "sway back" position, which isn't good for their spines. Plus, it makes them lean forward, which is less comfortable for the parent. There ARE some carries you can do facing out, but I find that in the ring sling, when he's on my hip, that's outward facing enough for him. Even when he's facing in, or on my back, he can see everything! :)

Kat - posted on 09/01/2011

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Thats funny Tanya!!! Pretty name by the way. Great idea with the 2 shirts! Not sure why i didnt think of that. lol Maybe because its summer, but its ending shortly, so layering will work in my favor. How old is your LO? DO you ever use your wrap outfacing? I just saw it. Looks neat! Gonna try to sell my unused baby bjorn, and moby wrap to get one. Thanks for sharing.

Tanya - posted on 09/01/2011

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I nurse in public all the time (and have for the past 16 months), and as far as I know, I have NEVER been glared at. But, even if I have been, I wouldn't know, because I don't look around to see! lol

When I nurse, I either look at my baby, talk to my older son, read, eat, or play on my phone. So people could throw daggers at me, and I wouldn't have a clue.

I think if you nervously glance at everybody who passes by, you are sort of giving the impression that you are doing something wrong, or something to be ashamed about. If you just do it confidently, it's harder for someone to say something, and they might not even realize that you are nursing!

I wear two tops, and just lift the outer one and pull down the inner one. None of my breast is exposed, but I don't have an ugly, awkward cover over us. I also nurse in my Maya Wrap ring sling lots. It's perfect for hands-free nursing! I pull the top of the sling up over his head, and I can walk around and shop while he nurses!

Noreen - posted on 08/31/2011

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I just recently flew to Denver from San Diego a few weeks ago. And... drumroll please... nursed my 23mo during takeoff and landing. If you wear a nursing top or a shirt that is easy to nurse in and descreet (ie. an undershirt you can pull down and an over shirt you can pull up) no one will notice. Especially if your undershirt and over shirt are the same color.

Katrina - posted on 08/31/2011

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Kat- We had to pay for a seat to have a car seat. Sometime you can get lucky if the flight isn't full and get a seat, but that doesn't happen often. Kids seats are sometimes half the cost of the adult seat. Once my son was over a year we bought seats just because of the flight length.

Maren - posted on 08/31/2011

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I have a Slingling and it's amazing. She's 2.5 now and I can still use it but don't need to much. I used it when grocery shopping all the time when she was itty bitty. I used it everyday up until she was really walking well then I stopped using it so much. Of course, now, she's so big it really takes a toll on my body to put her in a sling. I will probably still use it to get through security when necessary. It's just so much easier!

I got a Go-Go Babyz thing to make our carseat a wheelie bag and it's AWESOME! They are pricey but SO worth it.

Kat - posted on 08/30/2011

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YEAH Daniella!! Your sooo funny!!



Maren- hold old was your daughter when she was in the sling? What kind of sling do you use? I have a Ergo. I love it! I can feed in it.



Katerina- How much do you have to pay to have your carseat?

Katrina - posted on 08/29/2011

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When my son was ~20 months we flew (other times too before and after) and I definitely nursed when he needed. I wasn't too shy though about breastfeeding, partly because I had some nice nursing tanks. For that trip, we didn't have a stroller in the airport (what a hassle). What we did have was the car seat on wheels. There is a cool attachment you can buy for wheeling car seats around. It has its downsides but I liked it overall. I usually had a window seat as it did feel more private.

Maren - posted on 08/29/2011

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I would have my daughter in a sling (SO much easier getting through security and I still had 2 hands to carry everything and take off my shoes). I got 2 nursing tops so I could breastfeed in public. When in the sling, no one could even tell she was feeding. Just looked like she was sleeping (this is while waiting for a flight in the terminal). On the plane it's much easier to avoid being seen. I took my daughter out of the sling as it was too cramped with it in the plane. I would nurse during take off and landing to avoid ear issues. Of course, she doesn't have problems with her ears in the plane, I have found. You can also cover up with a blanket if you're uncomfortable.

When I first started flying with my daughter I got a manual breast pump and would pump a bottle in the bathroom and immediately give it to her. Of course, this was more of a pain that I wanted to deal with so I quit. This is also an option for you but on the plane for such a long flight, it may be impractical. My husband was with my daughter while I was pumping.

Lori - posted on 08/27/2011

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Time switching depends on how long you plan on staying. I usually try to get my kids on the new time zone schedule, but it takes a few days. Then it takes a few days when we're back to get back to our own time schedule. I just don't want them going to bed at 5 pm and getting up at 3:30 am if we were to try staying on East Coast time rather than adjusting the 3 hour difference. Staying up late (going from East Coast to West Coast) is easier for most people and kids than trying to adjust the other way. Trying to get kids to go to bed 3 hours early is a whole lot harder than letting them stay up late especially when theirs something exciting going on - like vacation!

Jennifer - posted on 08/27/2011

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My daughter still stuck on the same schedule. I thought it would mess her up but it didn't. We were only gone three days though. I just used the sling while she was sleeping later at night. We went about staying up and visiting friends. We were much more than she was.

Kat - posted on 08/27/2011

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What a weirdo! crazy lady! Thanks again so much for sharing your experiences! Does it affect the kiddies naps during the time zone change? I am wondering if i go to AZ if i should stick to my NY time the whole time i am there?

Kat - posted on 08/26/2011

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Lori- Thanks for the stroller tips. I was thinking about pumping milk, but testing my milk seems like a hassle. Can you put a pump in your carry on? Hes 10 1/2 months old. I have nursed in public a few times, but more so when he was a newborn. He usually only nurses before naps now, and bedtime. What about someone sitting in the row with you? Or did you cover up a bit? Did you have the window seat? An aisle seems more convenient, but the window seems more private huh? Did you 9 month old sleep? Did you BF your oldest during take off and landing too when she was over 10 months?

Jennifer- your right there should be a nursing area! Something of the sort. They have smoking rooms in some places. gesh! Thanks for the info. and reassurance ladies :)

Jennifer - posted on 08/25/2011

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I just took my six month old cross country. We flew five hours and two flights. We nursed on take off and landing and a couple times in between. No one had a problem. They seemed happy that I could help her so quickly. The stewardesses on each flight all told me how good she was. I think I was more nervous than my daughter was. What I do have a problem with is the fact that the airports don't have a nursing area. The tiny airport in Knoxville even had a rocking chair. But, not the huge international airports like Ontario or Phoenix. If you stress your kid will stress. Who cares what everyone else thinks. You are doing the best for your child.

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