If you’re going on a long road trip or crossing borders by car with a baby, the journey can become challenging. One of the biggest challenges is to carry your breastmilk on those car journeys. This leaves many moms with the same question – how to travel with frozen breastmilk by car? Here we’ll help you explore the different ways on how to travel with frozen breast milk by car while keeping them fresh and ready for your baby. So, let’s get started.
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Keeping your baby’s breast milk frozen during the entire car trip is essential to protect the milk from getting rotten. The last thing you want on your road journey is to throw away your baby’s precious food source! However, investing in a quality cooler or a mini-fridge cooler can help you keep the breast milk frozen or chilled until you reach your destination.
Ways To Keep The Breast Milk Frozen When Traveling By Car
If you’re planning to travel by car with your refrigerated breast milk, you’ll have to determine the best ways to keep it frozen until you feed it to the baby or get the time to keep it back in the refrigerator. However, you won’t have to worry about retaining its frozen state if you plan to feed your baby within an hour or two. (In that case, make sure the milk doesn’t get warm by staying idle in the car.)
The best way to keep your breast milk frozen in the car is using a travel-friendly mini-fridge or a portable cooler. Let’s check how they can help.
If you already have a cooler at home, you’re in luck. If not, you can buy an affordable and good-quality one on Amazon. Generally, coolers are either hard-sided or soft-sided and are made of different materials and sizes.
No matter what type of cooler you choose, make sure that it will fit into your car and keep your breastmilk frozen until the liquid remains stored in it. If buying a cooler, pick the one that ensures maximum cold retention.
To get the most out of your cooler, you’ll have to keep ample ice or ice packs inside it. It’s advisable to follow the ratio of 2:1 of ice and liquid to keep your cooler cold throughout the road trip. Another thing to remember is that you’ll have to fill the cooler to its full capability to prevent air gaps and stop the ice from melting quickly.
2. Travel-Friendly Mini Fridge
Like several breastfeeding moms, invest in a portable mini fridge for breastmilk to take with you on the car trip. This fridge can be easily plugged into your car adapter to retain the frozen state of your breast milk during the whole trip.
However, you should know that these fridges have a smaller capacity. So, if you plan to carry a large amount of breastmilk for a cross-country road trip with your baby, then opting for a high-capacity cooler would be a more sensible decision.
Note: Now, another problem may arise when you plan to visit more than one destination by car. If you’re unsure whether your milk will remain frozen or chilled until you make it to the destination number two or three, you can go with two other options:
3. Dry Ice
Your car trip can take more than 12 hours to reach your destination. What to do then? According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, keeping dry ice inside your cooler helps.
However, your responsibility and need for attention doubles when you handle dry ice while traveling by car. You’ll have to be careful enough to keep the breast milk bags away from the dry ice. If you fail to do so, your bags can get ripped open.
However, if you follow this method, you’ll have to place the sealed breast milk bags into your household refrigerator a night before the trip. Then, wrap the dry ice with newspaper and place them at the top, bottom, and sides of the breast milk bags.
4. Ship The Breast Milk Away
If you become too concerned about keeping the breast milk bags frozen during the car trip, you can choose to ship them away ahead of time.
It can turn out to be a costly decision, but if there’s someone at the destination who can receive it for you, half of your stress will be gone. Today, you can easily find companies like Milk Stork that offer breast milk shipping services.
To conclude, if you’re traveling by car with your baby for 12 hours or less, then a mini-fridge or cooler will do the job of keeping your breastmilk bags frozen. If the trip takes longer than that, you have to consider one of the other two options.
With this valuable insight on how to keep the breast milk frozen during a car trip, you can proceed to know the ways to feed your baby on the trip.
Ways To Feed Your Baby On The Car Trip
Generally, keeping your freshly pumped breast milk at room temperature would be easy. You can feed that milk to your baby within the next four hours. Moreover, you won’t have to stress about warming that milk during a car trip.
However, there can be situations when your baby won’t drink the breast milk from the cooler as they prefer warm milk. In that case, you can go for these few options:
- You can stop at any restaurant and ask them to provide hot water in a cup or bowl. Then, put the breast milk bottle or bag in that cup/bowl for a couple of minutes.
- However, make sure that the cup or bowl has enough room so that the positioning of the bottle/bag doesn’t let the warm water overflow onto the table or your hand.
- Another great option would be to use a portable bottle warmer, which you can easily get on eCommerce sites like Amazon.
- The next best option would be to buy and carry a thermos of hot water to warm the breast milk bottle or bag.
Pumping Breast Milk While Traveling In The Car
Pumping breastmilk while driving the car is very much safe and possible. All you have to do is prepare things right before stepping your feet into the accelerator. You’ll need either a hands-free pump or a hands-free pumping bra. The important thing is that you must stop or take the car to the extreme side of the road to pour the pumped-up milk into the bag or bottle.
However, things become easier when you sit on the passenger’s seat. You can use cup holders to avoid spills and rely on battery operations.
Managing Breast Milk Once You Reach The Destination
One of the most hectic things about determining the ways how to travel with breast milk is pumping at places or spots where you don’t usually pump. The stress can become double when there’s no comfort of a pumping station and no setup to store the milk and wash the pump parts.
In that case, you’d have to consider the following things regardless of where you’re staying.
Storing The Breast Milk
Before getting all set for the car trip, you must ensure that the destination where you’re going has a refrigerator or not. If you plan to stay at a hotel in that destination, ask them if they can provide a mini-fridge in your room or not.
As breast milk is considered a medical liquid, mentioning the need for a mini-fridge to store breast milk would be a smart move as the hotel may not charge anything for that. Keep the sealed breast milk bag with your name tag label on it. If you visit some relative or friend, check whether they have a freezer or fridge.
Washing The Pumping Supplies
Apart from the fridge space, you’ll have to wash your pumping gear and bottles after reaching your destination hotel or guest house. If staying in a hotel, you can tip the room service to do that work or do it yourself in the hotel bathroom. All you need is clean towels, a bottle brush, and dish soap.
Packing for The Trip Back To Home
Lastly, when it comes to the return journey by car, you’ll have to keep your breastmilk frozen for the trip. You can freeze a few ice packs before leaving the hotel or the friend’s house to keep the breastmilk cold for the entire journey back home.
With this comprehensive guide, you must’ve got an idea that determining how to travel with frozen breast milk by car is nothing too hectic. So, get the best out of this guide to enjoy a comfortable and easy road trip with your baby. Use the best ways to retain the frozen state of your sealed breast milk bags and never let your baby compromise on their nourishment needs, no matter where you go.