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Breastfeeding and travelling

0-3 years

Breastfeeding and planning to travel? It’s good idea to think about attitudes to breastfeeding in other countries, travel medications, vaccinations and illnesses, and breastfeeding challenges like low milk supply. Here are practical tips to help.

Breastfeeding and travel by plane

Sometimes babies can feel pain in their ears when planes are taking off and landing. Breastfeeding during take-off and landing in a plane can really help to ease your baby’s discomfort.

If you’re planning to carry expressed breastmilk onto the plane, check with the airline beforehand about any restrictions on carrying liquids.

Breastfeeding in other countries

If you’re travelling overseas, it’s a good idea to check online, or with your travel agent or travel doctor, about attitudes to breastfeeding in the countries you’re travelling to.

Breastfeeding in public is acceptable in most countries around the world. But in some countries, it’s considered offensive, and mothers are expected to cover up while breastfeeding.

Bring a shawl or blanket for breastfeeding if you’re going to places where breastfeeding in public isn’t acceptable.

Travel medications, travel vaccinations and breastfeeding

Travel medication
If you take medication to treat jetlag or illness, a small amount will transfer to your baby through breastmilk.

If you’re taking anti-malarial drugs, your breastmilk will also be affected. Depending on which anti-malarial you take, this might not be safe.

Your anti-malarial medication won’t cover your breastfed baby. He’ll need to take medication as well.

Talk to your doctor about how any medications will affect your breastfeeding baby.

Travel vaccinations
If you’re vaccinated for travel, it won’t affect your baby – except if you’re newly vaccinated for yellow fever. The yellow fever vaccine is transmitted in breastmilk and isn’t safe for babies.

Travellers diarrhoea and breastfeeding

If you suffer from travellers diarrhoea, keep breastfeeding. This won’t affect your baby. Try to increase your fluid intake, take oral rehydration salts and breastfeed more frequently.

Low milk supply while travelling

Some mothers find their milk supply is affected by stress, jetlag, dehydration and illness.

Here’s what to do if you think your supply is down:

  • Try to get plenty of rest, including during the day.
  • Drink lots of fluids, especially water.
  • Avoid tea, coffee and other drinks with caffeine.
  • Keep feeding, even more often if possible.

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Last updated or reviewed
02-08-2016

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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