By Vidhi Beri
Travelling has become second nature for millennials with exploring high on everyone’s agenda. Continuing to breastfeed when women resume travelling whether for work or leisure strengthens the important bond between the mother and baby. With over 40 per cent millennials entering parenthood, there’s a constant tussle between giving priority to motherhood and pursuing self-interests. With adequate support, a balance can be attained between the two.
We list down quick and easy hacks for a millennial family on how to parent and pursue your travelling bucket list simultaneously.
Breast milk, with all its nutritional benefits, is liquid gold for a baby’s development and the safest source of food while travelling. With the world progressing towards acceptance of breastfeeding in public, it is a good practice for mothers to provide food to the baby as and when they need it. A good practice might be to use a nursing scarf depending on how baby-friendly or socially appropriate it might be in the specific country. Fathers need to ensure a suitable environment for the mother.
It is advised to discuss vaccinations for the baby with the lactation consultant and doctors before going for the trip. Ensure all the baby’s medication is with you. Make sure the baby’s skin is well-covered always.
Carry sachets of an oral rehydration product (to treat fluid and electrolyte loss) in case the mother gets diarrhea. If the baby gets diarrhea when travelling, continue breastfeeding to provide an uninterrupted supply of nutrition. To express milk, mothers must carry their own breast pump and a power point adaptor for electric pumps. The easiest travel-friendly containers are pre-sterilised, sealable bags. Nipple cream too is important for mommies. A baby carrier, designed as a sling or backpack, can make it easier to get around in places like airports, train stations and bus terminals.
Travelling for work
One can always consult their manager on work travel on providing feasible alternatives, such as tele-conferencing. One can speak with HR on breastfeeding and travel issues. Try to travel preferably at the end of the week, so that you have the weekend to rest and work on reestablishing the milk supply. One can enquire about child care services at hotels.
When it comes to the baby, parents should put all their inhibitions to rest. One can consult with the travel agency to advise on child-friendly airlines and speak with them for any baby related concerns. While travelling by plane, try to time the baby’s feeds so they are eating during take-off and landing. This will help keep at bay ear pain that’s caused by changes in cabin pressure.
Dehydration and traveller’s diarrhea may temporarily reduce the milk supply. This could also happen due to fewer opportunities to breastfeed but with effective support from the father, the mother can manage that. It is advised to drink plenty of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated fluids, especially on long-distance flights. Avoid smoky environments and drink plenty of water if you get traveller’s diarrhea.
A mother requires empathy and compassion from fellow colleagues and family to ensure she can maintain an adequate balance between work and personal life. What is needed is ideal planning and right resources, for the new mother to get back to her routine without any guilt. It is important to have confidence in your ability because you are doing a wonderful thing for you and your baby.
(The writer is Holistic Health Coach, lactation specialist, Kolkata and part of Medela India LC Club.)