I was alerted to a mummy sharing her experience bringing her frozen stash of breastmilk back from her holiday and I thought it will be a great idea to share REAL EXPERIENCES so mummies who are wondering what to do can learn and be prepared.
This is what Mummy Shuet Ling posted:
Mummy Shuet Ling: Want to share my success story of pumping during on my holiday (without my almost 7mo baby) and bringing back the precious liquid gold.
Before the trip, I did lots of reading on travel while bf. Thanks to all the mummies here that shared their advice and experience. If not, I will never have succeeded.
1) white styrofoam box
2) lots of gel pack from daiso ( i bought variation of sizes, some big some small)
3) 2 lock and lock ( 1 big, 1 small)
4) plastic bag/ziplock to hold the ice cubes
5) cling wrap (from skp) those used to wrap big items like furniture, left over from my house shifting)
6) scotch tape
I had my holiday in maldives, before the trip i emailed the resort to let them know of my intention to store ebm in their freezer and would require lots of icecube on my departure.
When i left singapore for Maldives, i packed all the items in the white styrofoam and cling wrap it up. I printed my name, contact details and “fragile” to paste on the box.
I pump on SQ with no issues, both trip the steward and stewardess are very nice and helpful to chill my breastmilk and later provide dryice/ice cubes to keep my breastmilk cool for me to commute to the resort. I sat at the window seat and my hubby at the aisle seat. We were lucky the row is empty (middle seat left empty for more space). I pump with my nursing cover and then pass the bottles and pumpset for them to chill.
Once at the resort i kept the ebm in the chiller. I pass the resort my bm to freeze after every 2 pump sessions (stored in lock and lock, I even use a clear plastic bag to further tape up the milk bags to prevent tapering). My husband and I requested to see how they store the breastmilk to avoid misunderstanding.
During the days at the resort, i would pump when time and store in the chiller, after 2 pump session I would either call the staff to pick it up or ask my hubby ( to also spot check) to deliver to the freezer. The big lock and lock is permanently in the freezer while we use the small lock and lock to transport the chilled bm to the freezer. We also pass them our gel packs to be frozen.
I brought mama lemon in a small container to wash the pump parts then boil hot water to sterilise the parts. I did not soak the parts, just keep using hot water to rinse through.. After each use put the parts in the chiller in a ziplock bag. Wash once a day only, back in sg i also only wash once a day.
Night before the departure, we told the staff what we require on departure to pack the bm.
After packing the fbm in the lock and lock, (the last day’s milk is stored with the fbm to keep it chilled), we put icecubes in the plasticbag/ziplock, then in the styrofoam box along with the gel packs and cling wrap the box up. Off to check in! When un pack the ice cubes are mostly not melted and ice pack still frozen (about 5 hours flight and 9hrs journey in all). Success!
Special thanks to my hubby who have been very supportive and help me throughout the trip..
Based on my own research (we wanted to bring back my EBM when we were in Korea but decided to bring Meimei along instead)…
(1) Always check with the accommodation on freezing of breast milk. In some countries, breast milk is considered ‘bodily fluids’ and cannot be stored in their freezer! In this case, you might want to try booking apartments with full fridge (with freezer compartment) instead.
(2) Allocate baggage (weight) allowance for your EBM, ice packs and box. You don’t want to get a shocker at the airport. It is very expensive to have to pay for excess baggage!
(3) Check out possible sources of buying ice near your accommodation. I know that I can order ice online in Korea and it will be delivered to our apartment.
(4) Wrapping with towel helps! I’ve tried this before, bringing a frozen bottle of water wrapped in a towel out in the hot sun and you will be surprised what a simple towel can do!
(5) Get a doctor’s letter just in case. To certify that you are a lactating mother. I’ve read about mummies who were forced to throw their precious EBM!
(6) Be mentally prepared on delays & possible lost/delayed baggage. I would prefer the mentality of ‘if it comes back, yay! if not, it’s alright!’.
Now who says nursing mamas can’t travel?
Additional points to note…
How to sterilise? You can choose to get a portable UV steriliser like Hygenie. Or you can simply soak the pump parts and bottles in hot drinking water.
PUMPING WHILE TOURING
I’ve been using Freemie Collection Cups with Spectra 9+ which are portable and have rechargeable batteries when I need to pump on the go. Use a large sweater or jacket to cover and the large Freemies won’t be too obvious! Some mummies use a hands free bra and slot their funnels in and pump as usual under a nursing cover.
I’ve been using Baby One Breast Milk Storage Bags for years (since 2011!). It has been reliable and economical. I normally store 150ml if I’m freezing them flat (to be able to pack them nicely). After freezing them, you can arrange them neatly in a large Lock & Lock container like how Mummy Shuet Ling did. Then you can wrap up the container to prevent tampering.
I hope you’ve gained more confidence and will be booking yourself a trip soon!
Every mama needs a good break and some leisure time!
Mother of 3 & Owner of TLO.com.sg