Travel and Breastfeeding Are Intimately Compatible
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6. Routine illnesses – including most travel-related ones – are not transmitted through breast milk. Illness is rarely reason to stop nursing. But do consult your healthcare providers when you are ill. Frequent and thorough hand washing reduces the risk of transmitting respiratory or intestinal illnesses, the leading disease categories associated with travel. If you have diarrhea, increase your own fluid intake and nurse more frequently. If you have nausea or are vomiting, also increase your fluid intake but drink only an ounce or two at a time. Wait 20 to 30 minutes between drinks. Consult your healthcare providers back home when in doubt. Carry their telephone numbers.
7. Some medications – including travel-related ones – do pass through breast milk. Ask a travel medicine specialist when traveling to areas where you may have to take medications to prevent malaria or treat diarrhea. Some medications for these illnesses should not be given to infants. Note that no anti-malarial you take protects your infant. Infants need their own age-appropriate medication.
8. Using sunscreens and insect repellents on yourself has no effect on your infant. Follow the same precautions as if you were not nursing.
9. Never breastfeed unrestrained infants in moving cars. Such infants have been propelled into front seats in sudden stops and accidents. Pull over at a safe place to nurse.
10. Consider traveling with a breast pump. Even if you do not routinely pump milk, you may find that a breast pump comes in handy. Travel may disrupt feeding and sleeping schedules – yours and the baby’s. Hotels and airplanes will generally refrigerate the milk for you. A large variety of breast pumps are available for travel, ranging from inexpensive, small manual pumps to elaborate, portable electric ones. Check the web for “breastfeeding, travel” for resources. Many of these sites have informative blogs from mothers who have breastfed on the go.
KARL NEUMANN, MD, FAAP, runs www.kidstraveldoc.com. He is the director of the Family Travel and Immunization Clinic of Forest Hills and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Weill Medical College of Cornell University.