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Everything You Need to Know About Formula Feeding While Traveling

Everything You Need to Know About Formula Feeding While Traveling

Sasha and I recently went on our first trip together. It was wild to think I hadn’t been on an airplane in over a year and a half when I used to travel every other week. We flew down to Florida to move my brother into college, but planning for this trip was more about making sure I packed well for Sasha than for my brother. Particularly, planning for formula feeding while traveling was a bit scary!

I knew traveling with a baby would be different, but I was really overwhelmed when creating my packing list. Traveling with a baby requires SO much STUFF. We’ll get into that more later but this post primarily will focus on how to prepare for feeding your baby while traveling by plane.

I think one of the most important things while traveling with a baby (and always) is ensuring the baby is safe and fed. Feeding a baby while traveling may look a little different, but maintaining your routine makes it so that baby adjusts well to his or her new surroundings.

There are several steps you can take to make sure you and your baby are prepared to travel while formula feeding.

First up, do the math of how much formula you’ll need.

I know it seems silly but you really do need to do the math if you are formula feeding while traveling. Figure out how much formula you need for your entire trip, overestimate a bit too.

I use a simple equation: figure out the number of ounces your baby eats per feeding, the number of feedings per day, and the number of days you’ll be traveling and multiply. This was the easiest way for me to figure out how many ounces I need for Sasha.

So since Sasha eats between 5-6 ounces each feeding, eats four times a day, and we were going for four days, I’d need 80 ounces of formula. Then I figured out how many containers of formula I would need. My pediatrician had given me smaller sample containers, which made traveling with them easier, as I could put them in several suitcases to distribute weight.

I also have been combination feeding, so I was adding 1-2 ounces of breast milk to each bottle. I’d need 6 four-ounce bags of breastmilk, just to be sure.

Make a List of Any Supplies You Need for Formula Feeding While Traveling

On top of formula, I knew I’d need all of the following things:

  • Bottles (4, in case I can’t do dishes during the day)
  • Drying Rack (comes with brushes)
  • Bottle caps for mixing the bottles
  • 2 Breast Milk Bottles (for when I empty the frozen milk into a bottle for easy pouring) – you can use any but I use these Medela ones
  • Baby dish soap (I actually forgot this and ended up buying some in Florida) but you can pump it into a travel shampoo container for easy transport
  • Burp cloths

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Since Sasha has been eating some purees, I also packed two of these little spoons and an easy-to-clean bib. I ended up buying purees in Florida, instead of dragging them with me or spending time on vacation to make them.

Just so you know, I packed almost everything for Sasha in my checked bag, other than what is mentioned in the next section! I used Ziploc bags to keep like items together but these packing cubes would work too for baby gear.

Next, pack for the airport & plane ride.

Ok, so I have NEVER seen baby formula in an airport store and this makes me furious but also incredibly anxious. What if you’re delayed and you run out of formula? Why doesn’t anyone who organizes these stores think about this?!

Thinking about this while packing, I knew I needed extra formula. I packed enough for three feedings in this super handy container. This container allowed me to pre-measure and keep the three feedings separate, making mixing a bottle on the go a breeze.

In terms of mixing: I bought a bottle of water at the airport to make the milk. Luckily my baby eats cold milk, but if she didn’t, I knew I could ask the flight attendants for hot water. If I was still at the airport, I would have asked for one at Starbucks. Based on experience, my suggestion is to mix the bottle right before you board. This helps eliminate any spilling that may occur from making a bottle in such a tight space. Imagine mixing a bottle while trying to hold your baby.

On top of the four bottles, I’d need for the trip, I decided to bring two on the airplane. I needed one to feed her for sure, and an additional one just in case there was a delay. I also brought an empty gallon size bag to throw the dirty bottle parts into.

Also! So important. In order to reduce your baby’s discomfort from the changes in air pressure, I highly recommend feeding on the way up. On the way down, during landing, I gave Sasha a pacifier since it wasn’t time for her next meal. She did really well in flight, and only cried for a minute or two because she was sleepy!

Last, bring extras.

Extra formula, extra frozen milk, extra bottle parts – in my opinion, it’s better to be overprepared, than underprepared. I was traveling within the US, so worst case I could have gone to a store and bought anything we needed. However, this is extremely important when traveling internationally and you aren’t sure if your baby’s formula is available in local stores.

Side note: I ran out of formula and my dad was joining us later in our trip. I asked him to bring more formula and told him to check it. He brought it in his carry-on, even though he wasn’t traveling with a baby. The only thing that TSA did was check the formula at security. I think if he disclosed he had formula, they may not have even checked it.

Related Previous Post:

I previously described how I had planned to travel while exclusively pumping, but my plans changed when I started supplementing with formula and then started combination feeding. Formula feeding while traveling does take some preparation. If you are prepared, your baby will have a great trip!

To read more about what I packed for Sasha for our trip, check out this post (coming soon).

Everything You Need to Know About Formula Feeding While Traveling
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