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How to breastfeed on a plane and sterilse bottles when travelling

Breastfeeding on a plane

For first-time Mums, breastfeeding in public can be a little daunting and perhaps more so when you are confined to a small space like an aircraft cabin. For bottle feeding parents, working out how and where to sterilise baby bottles whilst on the go can be equally concerning.  Here are my top tips to alleviate those worries:

  • Firstly, there are no restrictions on breastfeeding on a plane. However, airlines do not have a dedicated breastfeeding area on board. Crew are happy to cater to specific requests and if available, provide you with a blanket or pillow. Some airline crew may offer the use of their galley, but don't expect this to be completely private as the crew will need to have access.
  • If you wish to maximise your privacy, a window seat is the best option. A window seat is also a better option than the aisle because you will avoid people bumping into you or hot drinks being passed over you.
  • You can feed during taxi, take-off and landing as long as your baby has the lap-belt securing them (the lap belt requirement depends on the airlines aviation authority rules).
  • Bring a bottle of water with you and refill during the flight to help keep you hydrated.
  • Wear layers so you can keep comfortable throughout the flight.
  • If you are expressing on a flight too, check with your airline what power point socket (if any) is at your seat, otherwise plan on bringing a manual pump.
  • If you are planning on bringing your electric pump with you, be aware that it may not work overseas. For example the voltage in the USA means a UK pump will not function there.
  • For sterilising bottles or dummies consider bringing with you some disposable sterilising bags. They come complete with a sterilising tablet so you just need to add water. These are ready for use within 15 minutes. The bags are also suitable for use for water abroad and last for 24 hours. They can get a little heavy so either put them in a safe place on the plane or use at your destination.
  • If your flight is fairly short, bring plenty of bottles (allow for delays) which have been pre-sterilised.
  • Another option is to consider using bottle liners. These are pre-sterilised and you simply replace for the next feed. Several brands liners double up as milk storage bags too.
  • A further solution is to bring a travel steriliser. There are several single bottle travel sterilisers on the market which can work in microwaves or for cold water. They can be used for dummies too.
  • Once at your destination, ask for a large container so you can use the cold water sterilising option. If one isn’t available, simply fill the hotel room sink and use a sterilising tablet.

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