How to Store Breast Milk When You're a Busy Mom On-the-Go

Moms are busy—we're here to help.

Planning a beach vacay or weekend getaway while pumping or breastfeeding? Wondering how to store breast milk on the go? We’ve got you covered. Traveling while pumping or breastfeeding can be stress-free with a bit of planning and prep.

Traveling With Baby While Breastfeeding

Traveling with your baby is great when you’re breastfeeding on demand. But, if you’ll also need to travel with your pump for feeding, you’ll need a pumping game plan.

What to Pack

  • Pump + Parts

    First, you’ll need to grab your pump and all of its parts such as flanges, tubing and cords. To make it even easier, go ahead and pick up a portable pump such as the wearable Willow pump. And if you have extra pump parts, pack those too—you never know when you’ll need them.

  • Covers

    If you feel a bit self-conscious about breastfeeding or pumping while on a plane, in a car or while in public, a cover is a must-have. A wearable pump that fits inside your bra can also help. Find covers to be uncomfortable? Feel your freedom, mama!

  • Pumping Bras

    You’ll want a comfortable and supportive bra for both pumping and breastfeeding. If using a wearable pump, make sure the pump fits snugly inside the bra you choose. It should also be full coverage and have a flap for easier access.

  • Storage for Breast Milk

    You’ll need to pack some type of storage such as milk bags or bottles to safely store the milk you decide to keep for later. Milk bags are great for freezing your breast milk, while bottles are safe for refrigerating or feeding your baby after pumping.

  • Cooler

    And how do you keep your milk cool until you reach a fridge or freezer? By using a cooler or insulated lunch bag. You’ll also want to pack some ice packs that will help keep the milk chilled.

  • Cleaning Supplies

    Mama, you’ve gotta clean that pump after every use to avoid bacteria build-up. So, pack your pump cleaning scrub brush as well as some liquid soap.

Tip: If you’re going on a hike or if you won’t be near a sink or water source, bring a couple of water bottles along too.

Portable Breastmilk Milk Cooler

Portable Breastmilk Milk Cooler

Store up to 16 oz of milk at a safe temperature for up to 24 hours with our new patent-pending Portable Breastmilk Cooler. 
It's the breastmilk chiller you'll bring everywhere.

What to Plan

  • Breastfeeding-Friendly Spaces

    Depending on where you’re going, you’re sure to find some breastfeeding and pumping-friendly spaces. After all, no one wants to pump or breastfeed in a bathroom stall. #Gross.

    Call your destination ahead of time to ask about breastfeeding or pumping areas. If you’re flying, call your airport. If you’re taking a train, call the station. Mapping these spaces out ahead of time will mean less stress for you.

  • Hydration Stations

    Staying hydrated is super important when breastfeeding. Make sure to map out places to grab ice cold water wherever you’re traveling. We also recommend packing some water and a nice insulated cup or tumbler, so you always have hydration nearby.

  • Hygienic Pump Cleaning Areas

    You don’t want to clean your pump in the rest-stop bathroom sink. So, seek out hygienic cleaning areas along your route or at your destination. For example, does that mall you’re going to drive past have a breastfeeding space with a sink? You might add it to your list of stops.

    It’s also helpful to bring along extra pump parts, so you can swap them out when it’s time to pump again. Then, clean them later once you get where you’re going.

  • Hygienic Baby Care Areas

    You’ll want a clean space to also take care of your little one while traveling. If you’re traveling by car, it’s easy to stop and change your baby in the seat. But, if you’re on a plane or out and about walking, you’ll need to find somewhere that’s safe for you and baby.

Tip: Pick up some disposable changing pads or a reusable changing pad to use in a pinch!

Traveling Without Baby While Pumping

What to Plan

  • Pumping Schedule

    Your pumping schedule is important when traveling without your baby. You’ll want to stick to your schedule to keep your milk supply up and provide what your baby needs when you get back home. If you’re not used to your schedule just yet, plug it into the Notes app on your phone, so you’ll have it with you.

    It’s also a great idea to set reminders and alarms for when it’s time to pump. Time flies when you’re having fun and you don’t want to miss a session!

  • Packing & Accessibility

    Grabbing your pump and supplies can be trickier than simply breastfeeding your baby. So, you’ll want to make sure you keep your pump easily accessible, especially while on a plane or in the car.

    Keep your pump and pumping supplies in a separate bag nearby. And if you’re flying, carry your pump on the plane with you. It’s also helpful to wear your nursing bras or even a nursing top for easy access.

Other Things to Prepare For

  • Nursing Rooms Plotted Along Route

    If you’re driving in your car alone, it’s easy to stop off at a rest-stop and pump. But, if you’re traveling with friends or family or feel uncomfortable pumping in your vehicle, plot pumping-friendly spaces to stop along your route.

    If you’re flying and have connecting flights, find out where the pumping or nursing stations are ahead of time, so you don’t waste time between flights. You can sometimes get a quick session in before you board, giving you time to relax during your flight.

  • Sustained Storage

    The milk you pump while traveling will need to be stored properly until you get back to your baby. The CDC says that fresh milk will last in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you’ll be gone longer than four days, you’ll need a freezer for your breast milk. Check with your hotel or the place you’re staying to ensure a fridge or freezer is available.

    You’ll also need to plan for the trip back home. Don’t forget to pack a cooler or insulated bag to keep your milk in as well as freezer packs to keep the milk chilled.

Dapple® Baby Pump Cleaning Kit

Dapple® Baby Pump Cleaning Kit

This bundled trio of Dapple Baby products is designed for cleaning your Willow 3.0 and Willow Go pumps, both on-the-go and at home. Dapple Baby products are specifically formulated to remove breast milk residue.

Breast Milk Storage While Traveling

Proper storage will help you protect your liquid gold while traveling and keep your baby’s tummy happy. The CDC says that breast milk will last for:

  • 4 hours at room temperature (no hotter than 77℉)
  • Up to 4 days if refrigerated
  • 6 to 12 months if frozen

What Kind of Container Should I Use to Store Expressed Breast Milk?

Using those CDC guidelines (and your own mama intuition), you can decide which storage method is best for your trip. If you’ll be gone without your baby for 4 days or more, you’ll want to freeze your milk. And for that, you’ll need milk bags or freezer-safe containers.

If you’ll be with your baby or gone for less than 4 days, storing your breast milk in the fridge using bottles will work great.

Trains, Planes and Cars, Oh My!

How to Travel With Breast Milk On a Plane

Cue “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” Before it’s wheels up, there are some things you should know about breastfeeding on a plane.

First, the TSA will let you bring your breast pump with you onto the plane. You’re also allowed to bring on your breast milk and the supplies you need to keep it cool. We recommend bringing your pump on the plane with you. After all, your pumping schedule is important and you may need to pump before you land.

Tip: It’s important to note that the TSA agent may require additional testing of your breast milk. For example, they may open the bottles or x-ray them. Ask the agent to put on clean gloves or wash their hands before touching your bottles to keep things hygienic.

Put your breast pump and supplies in an easy-to-access tote bag. You’ll want to be able to grab it fast. Make sure to include an insulated bag and some freezer packs you can use to keep your breast milk cool. You might also want to bring a cover (if you’ll feel more comfortable that way).

Some airports offer breastfeeding and pumping areas for privacy. Call your airport ahead of time, so you know where these spots are located. They make it easy for a quick pumping session before and after you land.

How to Travel With Breast Milk in a Car

Going on a road trip? Fun! The good news is that traveling with breast milk in the car is easy with the right supplies and a plan.

Before you leave, you might want to consider scheduling when you need to stop to pump and where. Pull up Google Maps and look for breastfeeding-friendly spots along your route and jot down where you plan to stop.

You can also stop at any safe location and breastfeed your baby right inside your car. And if you need to pump, you can do that too! Bring along a ton of water, so you can stay hydrated as you travel. Oh, and throw some healthy snacks such as granola bars in your car to munch on between stops.

Depending on how long of a road trip you’re planning, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll store your breast milk. Since you’re traveling by car, you can bring along a large cooler with several ice packs pretty easily. Or, you can opt for a smaller insulated bag. Once you reach your destination, you can then transfer your milk to the fridge or freezer.

How to Travel With Breast Milk On a Train

Traveling with breast milk on a train is just like traveling on a plane. You’ll still need to bring your pump and supplies in a separate bag for easy access. And don’t worry about restrictions—your breast pump and breast milk are welcome!

If you’re traveling with your partner, go ahead and grab that window seat. This is a great way to feel a bit more comfortable and private for when you need to pump or breastfeed.

Train travel can often take a bit longer than traveling by car or plane due to the many stops and speed. Before you leave, make sure you have enough storage containers for the breast milk you’ll need to pump on the way. And it’s a great idea to bring along a larger insulated bag or cooler so you have plenty of storage space.

How to Travel With Breast Milk On a Bike or However You’re Moving

Just going out for the day? Enjoying a nice picnic with your baby? How cute! To plan the perfect day out, start by figuring out how much milk you’ll need to bring with you. Consider how long you’ll be gone and how often your baby will need to eat.

Don’t forget to stick to your feeding schedule! This will help you make sure you have enough milk to make it through your entire outing. It’s also important to stick to your pumping schedule while you’re out. Willow makes it easy with hands-free pumping.

Store your breast milk, both freshly pumped and previously chilled, in an insulated bag with cold packs and place that bag inside a backpack. This gives you hands-free access to your bike, wheelchair or stroller.

Need to pump during a long commute to work? Remember that freshly pumped breast milk can be left unrefrigerated for up to four hours, so you’re good to go. Just make sure you put your milk in the fridge or freezer once you reach your destination. And if you don’t have access to either of those, your insulated bag and cold packs work just as well.

Willow Go™ Wearable Breast Pump

Willow Go™ Wearable Breast Pump

Next-level convenience—easy to learn, use, and clean—with a 100% comfort rating from moms.

For Stress-Free Traveling, Try Willow: The Wearable Breast Pump

Whether you’re hopping on a plane with or without your baby, Willow is here to support you! For easy pumping on the go, Willow is the quiet, discreet and wearable breast pump. Learn more about Willow or shop now!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. It should not be used to diagnose or treat medical conditions or problems. Please contact your healthcare provider with questions or concerns.
Which pump is right for you?
Which pump is right for you?

Which pump is right for you?

Which pump is right for you?

Which pump is right for you?

Which pump is right for you?