Navigating Breastfeeding During Holiday Travel
By: Erica Levine Weber, creator and author of The Worldwide Webers family travel blog
My boobs are quite the adventurous bunch, anxious to get out there and see what this world has to offer. They explored 40 countries when they were young, wild and free. And once they were saddled with the responsibility of keeping other beings alive, they got to see 42 more countries along the way. I think it’s safe to they’re the true Mrs.. and Mrs. Worldwide.
So what was it like to breastfeed in 42 different countries across 4 continents? Drafty! From nursing in front of family members over the holidays to mosques in Oman, I learned quite a bit from exposing myself in various environments and cultures where the end goal wasn’t the acquisition of Mardi Gras beads.
Going Under Cover - like Smokey the Bear, my boobs are all about enjoying the environment while not starting fires, cultural or other. I don’t cover up to nurse all the time, but I definitely found it helpful to use a nursing cover in religious environments such as mosques or churches, countries where women were more modestly dressed like in the Middle East, and on Football Sunday where my dad would love to see a little more NFL and a little less NIP. So I’m all about freeing the nipple, but also freeing myself from potentially offending others in cultural settings that are unfamiliar to me.
Reality Bites - liquids go in and out of babies at the most inopportune times. So, while I’ll avoid flashing the masses by using a cover, the reality is that when the baby’s hungry, I’m going to nurse and I’m not going to feel bad about it. Whether it be in a stall at a Moroccan souk or midway up a hike in the ancient city of Petra, there’s never a time I’ll refuse some calories being sucked off me. Getting over any level of embarrassment or awkwardness about the situation was key to ensuring the baby stayed full and my boobs stayed empty, regardless of time zone.
The Two Musketeers - all for one and one for all. Motherhood is as uniting as it is dividing, isn’t it? You may not raise your kids the same as your sibling or as the mothers in your neighboring country, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t relate to one another. We’re all knee deep in keeping mammals alive using any methods we see fit. This newfound common bond with other mothers who are so different from myself is something I love to experience. At the end of the day, hungry babies transcend all languages and time zones, and we can all unify under an umbrella of exhaustion and a single-minded focus to soothe a screaming child.
Luckily, my boobs have never been weighed at the airport check-in counter and I’ve been able to carry them on to all our adventures without baggage fees. That being said, I feel my rack should be allowed to rack-up airline miles given all their time in the sky! So don’t be afraid to take your girls out for a spin this holiday season, whether it be to far away family or far away lands. There’s plenty of ways to enjoy breastfeeding on the go!