Thursday, October 4, 2012

Travelling with EBM (Expressed Breast Milk)

Been meaning to update this blog with other entries before this one but didn't seem to find the time to. I don't even remember when was the last time I cooked dinner. Hmmm....

Okay, back to the main subject. During my 3 months maternity leave, my boss called me to tell me that the company will be sending me for a 4 days course in Indonesia. Told me to bring my little one along. Well, no need to tell me that...of course I will have to bring him. My hubby won't be able to handle him alone.

My little precious is 100% breastfed. Alhamdulillah (thank God) that so far the supply is sufficient and I pray it will continue until he is two years old. :) by the time the travel date to Indonesia comes, he's 3.5 months. Since this is the 1st time travelling with infants, I asked around to get more info about it especially about safety. Apparently there is nothing to worry about. We even went to see a doctor before we flew, and the doctor said since Wildan is 100% breast fed, I don't need to worry too much and he seems to be a healthy baby.

Now, that's settled. The only thing I will have to think about is transporting EBM with me. I will be attending a course and hubby will be taking care of Wildan in the hotel room while I'm gone. Of course I will have to bring EBM with me and not to forget my pump. The EBM will only be for the 2nd & 3rd day usage. Thawed EBM can only be used within 48 hours. At that time, I was thankful that I have just redeemed a cooler bag that is just perfect for this from a loyalty card points.

Our flight was at 9.15am so I booked a taxi to come at 6.30am. Don't want to be late. It's about 1 hour drive to the airport. Since this is the 1st time for me to transport EBM, I decided to put the cooler bag inside my luggage to be checked-in. Although I have read that EBM are allowed to be brought up to the cabin but I don't know for sure. I packed 6 bottles EBM at the very last minute at around 6.15am just to ensure that it stays chilled as the icepack will only last about 8-12 hours. Our flight will arrive at 12.15pm (6 hours later) and I think we should be able to be in our room latest by 2pm. And I was right! So, I quickly took out the EBM and transfer them into my hotel room mini bar. However, to my surprise..the EBM and my ice packs are still frozen. I think as they were packed inside my luggage, my clothing and other thing compressed the cold and keep them in stable temperature so they didn't thaw or melt. It was good because that way, I can just put the ice pack in the small freezer space inside the mini bar that they usually put small ice cubes and continue to freeze it.

I still direct feed on arrival day but hubby started his full time baby sitting job on day 2 and 3 and those were my full day course days. I would go back to our to during tea break to pump. Day 4 am back to direct feed. On departure day, I pack the frozen ice pack & chilled EBM into my cooler bag. This time, I did not pack them inside my luggage but hand carry them instead. Yes, all airport allow EBM to be transported on board. However, you may want to ask the airport staff once you arrive to ensure there is no problem during your departure. This way, you can plan on how to pack your EBM for transportation on the way back.

This is how I pack my EBM

This is my suggestion or tips if you are planning to travel with EBM.
  1. Take out/pack your frozen EBM at the very last minute before you depart to your destination. This is to make sure your ice pack can last as long as it can.
  2. If possible, put your cooler bag inside your luggage so that you can retain the temperature so that your ice pack will stay frozen (this will depends on how long your journey is, mine was about 9 hours till we reach hotel room). This will help to avoid complication for you to refreeze the ice pack especially if you are staying at a hotel.
  3. Once arrive, transfer the EBM and ice pack into the mini bar (if hotel) and make sure the mini bar temperature is at high. Most hotel will set it at low. Most minibar will have small freezer poket inside the mini bar. You can place your ice pack there.
  4. You can pump new stock while you are travelling but make sure the EBM age is not more than 72 hours once you reach back home to freeze it.
  5. Most airport will allow you to bring EBM aboard the cabin but you might want to check with the airport security the day you arrive to prepare for your departure on your way back. This helps you to plan on how you should pack your stuff. Especially for international flight.

I was also relived that Wildan behaved on flight. Just make sure you nurse your baby during take off and landing to ease off the pressure. If he's full, a pacifier would help.

Wildan happy in flight. :D

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