My little one has already traveled to many places (but probably he won’t have any memories of them) by air, by bus, by train, and by water 😊 I will give you an overview on what essentials that you will need when you travel using these transportation. I also have lots of lessons that I learned from these trips that can hopefully improve your travel experiences.
Travelling by air is our frequent choice for long distances because it is faster and safer transportation choice. We traveled to Bohol (within the Philippines) when my little one is just five (5) months old, and it was the easiest travel that the family had. No need for toys, just breastfeeding. It was an hour and a half flight from Manila, and my diaper bag only consists of wipes, diaper, burping cloth, and one set of change of clothes. Also, when my little one is younger than one year, I always use Mustela Skin Freshener to freshen up the diaper area.
The same necessities we brought when we traveled to Boracay, but since my little one was one year old during that time we had to bring extra food. Still, breastfeeding is the best that I had done because my little one just latched on to my breast during the first half of the flight.
The longest travel that we did via Air was when we migrated to Canada. You can see all the necessary items that you need to bring during the flight in my post. My key takeaway though for long flights is timing. I chose to fly at night because this will encourage my little one to sleep mostly during the flight. Flying during the day is challenging because you have to entertain your little one for most of the time.
Now in my little one’s toddler years, we traveled by Air from Toronto to Vancouver for a short family vacation last May 2017. Little one is still breastfed and it was also an easy flight. My diaper bag though is heavier because now I had to put toys for little one’s entertainment, extra food especially snacks, and water. I do not give fruit juice boxes because those are full of sugar and we have to take care of our little one’s teeth. During take-off though my little one does not like to latch on to my breast so I had to bring out the power of toys. Again, the toys should be new or never been played with so that the attention span to the toy is longer.
In summary, travelling by Air is the easiest of all.
Here in Toronto, since we are new migrants with our driver’s license expired we still do not have a car. We had to do the graduated driver’s license so during our first year in the country we had to take the Subway (TTC) every time we travel. One thing I noticed though is that it is uncomfortable to breastfeed in a Subway. There are also no private spots where I can discreetly breastfeed. According to Ontario Human Rights Commission,
“You have rights as a breastfeeding mother, including the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one should prevent you from breastfeeding your child simply because you are in a public area. They should not ask you to “cover up,” disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more “discreet.”
Well, even with this, I think there are still some individuals who cannot help but look at you in a disgusted manner. But this should NOT stop you from breastfeeding!!! For me, the very good investment that I made was to purchase a breastfeeding cover. For your top, it is not needed to purchase those expensive nursing tops. Just look for v-neck/plunging or button-down blouses. I do not use turtleneck when I travel with my little one. My t-shirts are all loose in the neckline because I just bring down my blouse for breastfeeding. You can also opt to use a nursing bra because it can give more access to your breasts but if you find it expensive to buy one then you can use a wireless bra. Why wireless? Well, it does not restrict your breast so milk production is more free flowing.
We traveled by train from Toronto to Montreal and back. We took the Via Rail and the staff were so nice to us because I believe we have a little one with us. We purchased the economy class seats, but having a little one is quite challenging in these seats. Lucky for us we were upgraded during our Toronto to Montreal travel. As seen in the picture below, we got the seats with table in the middle. For more convenience, I suggest that you book this type of seat arrangement in Via Rail. My little one in the picture below is just happily playing with his sticker book.
When we traveled back to Toronto we did not get the chance to get this type of seats. What I did to endure the trip was to make my little one still play with sticker book because there is a tray table, breastfeed, and brought a lot of snacks. In the entire trip my little one slept for 3 hours while latching on to my breasts, and the rest was play and eating snacks. So I can say half of it was peaceful and the rest was a bit of a challenge because of the space of an economy class seat.
For short trips by bus in the City, my advice for you is to basically breastfeed right before you leave the house. I know it is going to be a challenge especially if you are a single mom because no one will help you prepare your things then you still have to breastfeed before leaving the house. The key is to prepare things like the diaper bag the night before you have a trip. The dishes and cleaning of house, let them be until you come back home and your little one is sleeping then you can do your chores. Why do I suggest to breastfeed before leaving the house (or hotel)? This is because in this way, your little one is full and satisfied with breast milk while you are travelling. At least this will give you 1.5 to 2 hours of travel time in the bus without having the need to breastfeed. Please please do not give your little one pacifier, just give toys or books or teether (example, Sophie the Giraffe). Breastfeeding in a city bus is difficult because of the way that the bus is driven it can be rough usually.
For long trips by bus, we have not yet tried this with our little one. But if I imagine myself in this situation, I think it is good to book a sit that is by the window. This will give you more privacy and more space for breastfeeding. Also, if you can travel at night so that most of your trip is just you and your little one sleeping. Of course the more expensive your ticket is the more leg room you have but an economy class will do just fine.
We got the chance to travel by sea, but for a short duration only, when we visited Victoria from Vancouver. It was a short cruise trip but my little one was super entertained will all of the sightings during the trip. But in this trip there were no private spaces to breastfeed. Hence, my breastfeeding cover came again to the rescue. I don’t find the need of bringing toys during trip because the ship itself is like a big play room for little ones.
In a nutshell, a breastfeeding cover is really a very good investment. I have mine for 2 years already and it saved my breastfeeding journey countless of times. A nursing bra is also a travel essential because it will give you more access and more convenience.