The pros, cons and tips for feeding a baby while traveling. I’m honored to be a Similac Strong Moms Ambassador, a sponsored blog partner, this year.
It just so happened that my husband and I got adventurous while Liam was a baby. We traveled quite a bit that first year (at least more than I had imagined with an infant). We regularly traveled to Charleston from Columbia (2 hour drive each way) on weekends to visit family, took Liam to Asheville, North Carolina to see the fall colors and hike, I flew by myself with Liam to Dallas, Texas for a blogger conference, and made the long trek to Disney World for 4 days…all before Liam was one year old. Call me crazy, but we did it.
To top it all off Liam wasn’t a good car rider until he was older. He would scream until we let him out of the carseat. Really the only thing I could remember to get him to calm down was feeding him. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible while driving until we started supplementing his eating with formula. Boy, was that a life saver in the car!
Let’s dive into the pros and cons of both breastfeeding and formula feeding a baby while traveling:
- No clean up and as long as you’re with the baby, it’s instant mealtime.
- Little supplies – Just need your nursing bra and possibly a cover if you’re in a public setting.
- Brilliant for taking off and landing when flying. Keeps baby calm and their ears from popping.
- You can go anywhere.
- You can’t feed while driving. You must make those 20 minute stops to feed and then put said screaming baby back in the carseat.
- May be challenging when flying to time breastfeeding with take off and landing, as well as doing it all in confined spaces.
- You can feed while driving in the car.
- The car rides will be quiet while the baby is eating. Ahh, real adult conversation!
- Your spouse can help feed to give you a break.
- You have to have a method to packing your formula, storing your leftover formula, retrieving warm water and cleaning bottles.
- It may be challenging to find a warm, clean water source.
- When flying, once your baby sees the bottle, they may instantly want it instead of waiting for take-off/landing. You also have to ask for warm water on the plane during a busy time when they typically don’t offer beverages.
As you can see, there are numerous pros and cons to both breastfeeding and formula feeding a baby while traveling. When I flew with Liam, I breastfeed him at take-off/landing and that helped a lot. But since it was a new environment and we were on the tiniest plane ever, it was very challenging to get him in a good position to breastfeed and not make my neighbor uncomfortable. Timing was also an issue too. Since latching on took a minute or two, due to distractions, you had to time it just right while you were taxiing, but before lift off. And if you’ve ever flown before, you know how unpredictable the duration of taxiing can be.
I’ll admit, when we were driving to travel, during the bulk of the trip, breastfeeding was really nice. There was no clean up and no prep work. However, during the car rides, it was lovely to supplement with formula like Similac and have a quiet and happy baby without having to stop. This is where being prepared helps a ton. I came stocked with a little kitchen in the backseat, with coolers and ice packs for leftover bottles, clean bottles, and formula either pre-measured and in small containers or just the big container and would measure right there.
The biggest hurdle to overcome while driving and formula feeding is finding a warm water source to make the formula. We’d use our smart phones and find the nearest reliable fast food chain, where we’d go through the drive through and order a large hot water (the kind they use for tea) and another large cup of ice. We’d also order a little snack so we didn’t feel like we were using them for free. 🙂 This way you’d have a pipping hot water source that would likely stay warm for a while. If you needed the warm water right then, I’d pour the warm water in and fill the bottle 3/4 the way. Test the temperature and add ice to cool it down to the correct temperature. Tada!
It all works out and whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, you make it work while traveling.