Pumping & Flying Like a BOSS

Pumping is probably the least glamorous thing ever, even more so when you are trying to figure out how to get it done while traveling/flying. But it IS possible! When I was interviewing for new positions after I had my first baby, I took 4 flights in a matter of 10 days.  The nature of the positions I was interviewing for were remote/work from home admission positions for Colleges that were in different states, hence the flights.  So I figured out really quickly how to navigate pumping/traveling with breast milk in airports and flying.  So here are some of my tips!  Keep in mind, this was traveling without baby.


I bought a little mini canvas cooler on my first flight and quickly realized that a hard plastic cooler is better since mine leaked a little. i stored this cooler in my large over size carry on bag, you will need to take the cooler out and put it on the belt by itself when going through security.  It does not count as an extra carry on, but it does need to be separated just like a laptop would. They will then take it out and check it, run tests on the milk.  Sometimes this takes like 2 minutes, one time I was in TSA for over an hour because I had 100oz of milk and they had to test each individual one.

To Bring:

  • Your pump, obviously and maybe 2-4 bottles to pump into at most, I recommend only using bottles while you are actually pumping and bags for easier storage
  • Mini Cooler (size depends on length of your trip)
  • Ice blocks (these will not be thrown away by TSA and will keep your milk cold of course)
  • Breast milk bags:  this is where I stored all the milk I pumped on the trip too, not bottles, bags pack so much easier in the cooler and you can fit more in.
  • Empty ziploc bags:  Just in case your ice blocks melt or are not as cool, you can get some ice from a restaurant or McDonalds in the airport.
  • Little mini wash clothes just in case of leakage or spill etc.
  • Hand sanitizer and/or wipes
  • Portable charge for your pump in case you are not able to find an actual outlet

Pumping during Interviews at the Airport:

  • Airports usually have Mother’s rooms you can pump in with nice sinks, chairs etc.  However, I have had a situation where there is somebody in there for a while and I had a flight to catch to other option is the family restroom, or if you bring a nursing cover to just do it next to an outlet in public (I could never bring myself to do this, but know lots of people that do!).
  • My interviews were about 2.5-3 hours so I did not have to worry about telling them I needed to pump and just made sure I got one in right before and right after, I did not stress about following my normal pumping schedule.
  • Be up front about your pumping needs if on a work trip or you cannot manage to skip one during an interview.  This is important and people understand far more than you would think

Hope this helps! 🙂

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