How to Nurse on an Airplane

15 Jul 2016

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Nursing an infant on an airplane presents its own unique set of challenges. Especially if your baby’s car seat is in the window seat, you are in the middle seat, and a complete stranger is on the aisle encroaching on your shared armrest, breastfeeding comfortably may seem like an oxymoron. Here are a few suggestions that can really help.

One-sided
If the flight is short or you find yourself uncomfortably close to your seatmate, nursing on just one side while saving the other for when you get off the plane may be an acceptable option.

At an Angle
Close quarters can greatly limit a breastfeeding mother’s chance of privacy. Simply angling your body so that you’re facing the window before trying to breastfeed can help minimize your degree of exposure.

Covering Up
For the sake of modesty or convenience, bear in mind how much you want to bare, and wear a shirt you are particularly comfortable breastfeeding in, such as a loose-fitting top layer, a button-down blouse, or custom-designed breastfeeding attire.

Layering
Use your jacket, a blanket, a magazine, or even your baby carrier or sling as a practical way of preventing your fellow passengers from having a bird’s-eye view.

Stalling
Nursing in the lavatory may seem like a reasonable last resort, but it generally poses a huge inconvenience for fellow passengers and isn’t exactly hygienic. In other words, we don’t recommend it.

Sources:
Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP (2015). How to Nurse on an Airplane. Healthy Children [Online]. Available: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/How-to-Nurse-on-an-Airplane.aspx [Nov.21, 2015]

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