Travelling and breastfeeding – Pt 4

• Any custom/security issues in bringing the EBM through airport security?

In some countries like New Zealand and Australia, it does get a bit more difficult as they don’t allow ‘unprocessed food’ to enter. So, just pump and dump when you are entering the countries to avoid any unpleasant experience, and only bring back whatever you express inside the countries. The rules are only applicable for ‘enter’ not for ‘exit’.

Other countries in our region like Taiwan, Singapore, Laos, Thailand etc should be ok. At the most, you will be questioned after they x-ray the cooler box. Just tell them that it is to store your breast milk. You can also tell them these are ‘for medical purpose’. That’s right, isn’t it? If we don’t express we will be sick with blocked ducts or mastitis.

Travelling and breastfeeding – Pt 3

• How to ensure EBM is safe in the hotel’s freezer?

Get a box from the hotel (since you store EBM in bakery freeze, there should be cake boxes available) or any plastic bag and ask the hotel staff to write your name, room number as well as “Breast milk inside – do not move” – all in their local language outside the box or on a piece of paper to attach on the plastic bag. Whenever you enter the freezer room, always inspect the condition of the box / plastic bag / EBM to make sure no one has touched it. Always insist to bring in/ add in the EBM by yourself, even if you have to be escorted by the hotel staff.

• How to sterilise the breast pump while travelling?

You only need to sterilise once or twice a day when you are in the hotel. Here’s how:
1. Sterilising tablet. You can use the sterilising tablet and soak the pump & accessories in the small cooler box.
2. Boiling. Ask the hotel for big electric kettle, big enough for you to put in the pump and boil it.
3. Anti-bacteria wipe. You can clean the pump with the anti-bacteria wipe from Medela, specially designed for cleaning the pump with no water and followed by soaking in hot water in the small cooler box.

• How to transport the EBM from foreign country back to home?

Before checking out, you’ll need to remove the frozen EBM from the freezer and wrap EBM individually with paper towel (or old newspaper / document paper). Then, line the large cooler box with ice bricks (available from Coleman which can be cut into shape / size of your cooler box). Line a thick cloth towel around the ice bricks, and put in the wrapped frozen EBM. Cover the EBM with another layer of thick towel and add more ice on top of the towel to fill in the space. The ice can be easily obtained from the hotel/restaurant.

Don’t put the chilled / fresh EBM together with the frozen EBM as this will thaw the frozen ones. You can put the small cooler box (with chilled / fresh EBM) inside the large one (with frozen EBM) so they are separated but you only have one cooler box to carry.

Try to negotiate to allow carrying the cooler box as your hand luggage. Usually they will allow upon knowing you have ice in the cooler box, as they don’t want to risk wetting / messing the other luggage. This way, you can remove the ice water and add more ice to the box while you are flying.

Travelling and breastfeeding – Pt 2

• How to store the EBM?

We recommend using pre-sterelized breast milk storage bags. Pump directly into the storage bag, seal it and label the date, time & name. Use a holder or small container to hold the EBM upright to prevent leakage. Use the small cooler box to keep fresh EBM when you are out from hotel. Line the cooler box with ice bricks and keep your EBM & breast pump (in a separate zipper bag) in the cooler box. Do not leave the cooler box in the car under the hot sun. Top up ice cubes from time to time.

• Where and when to express?

Be ready to express anywhere like the toilet, an empty room or even in a car. Have a flexible pumping schedule. Express whenever there is a chance.

Important tip for expressing in the aircraft’s toilet while on-board: express when other passengers are having their meals. You should then have about 30 min to use the toilet undisturbed. Inform the cabin crew that you need to occupy the toilet for some time and ask them to serve your meals later.

• How to keep the EBM in hotel – freeze or chilled?

It is easier to handle and transport frozen rather than chilled EBM. Freeze as much EBM as possible and keep in the large cooler box. Only chill those expressed within 12 hours before departure so theres less chances of leakage.

In the hotel, you can ask (or rather insist) to freeze and store your EBM in the hotel’s bakery freezer room or ice-cream chest freezer. Allow at least 12 hours for EBM to freeze completely. Those you express within 12 hours prior to departure can be chilled in the room’s fridge/ minibar. If the room does not have a fridge/ minibar, you can keep them in the hotel’s chillier – just make sure they only store fruits & dessert, not meaty stuff. Alternatively, you can check with the hotel whether a fridge (1-door or 2-door) is available specifically for hotel guests.