Hi from the Air + Pumping on a Plane

Hello from the air! I’m currently on my way to Seattle for a blog-related adventure – the annual Brooks running blogger ambassador trip! I’m going out a day early to see one of my best friends who lives near Seattle – it will be a treat to have some time with her today/tonight before meeting up with the rest of the bloggers and Brooks staff tomorrow. This is my first time being on a plane in over a year – wow! It feels weird and familiar at the same time.

Matt and I had a simple dinner last night before I finished packing up – rotisserie chicken with some wilted spinach, sliced green pepper, rice (with chopped cilantro mixed in), and black beans. This combination always hits the spot – I could eat chicken, rice, and beans for dinner all week and never get sick of it! This was also good because now Matt has leftovers to eat while I’m away. :)

chicken rice beans

Matt’s parents are coming into town tomorrow on their way to the beach for our annual Outer Banks trip – they’ll spend the weekend with Matt and Riese before heading to the beach on Sunday. Then we’ll drive down there on Monday morning once I’m back! I’m so glad Matt and Riese will have lots of company while I’m away… I miss them already so, so much!

I was glad that I had my day off from work yesterday to enjoy lots of quality time with Riese before leaving! We took a couple walks, had lunch at my grandmother’s retirement community (Riese is always the star of the dining room there – so fun to show her off and to see how much joy she brings everyone), and did lots of cuddling and playing. I started getting weepy last night thinking about leaving her for the first time, but I know she’ll be in good hands and we’ll be cuddling again before I know it. I took this 7 month picture yesterday afternoon (a few days late)… ahhh, where does the time go?! She looks like such a big girl now that she can so easily sit up on her own!

I don’t have anything to report on the fitness front this week besides some walks (my body was feeling especially tired, so I opted for extra sleep vs. getting in any early morning workout classes, especially since I knew I’d be traveling and super busy at the end of this week). I was going to share some more photos of eats from this week, but internet on the plane is not awesome and I’m having trouble uploading photos so instead I’ll just leave you with a note about a new to me experience – pumping on a plane! I know some of you will not care to read about this/not be interested, so feel free to skip the rest of this post, but I had a lot of requests from readers on Instagram to share more details about logistics of pumping on a plane/what I packed for the trip away from Riese in terms of pumping stuff, so I wanted to share more about that quickly! Thank you so much to those of you who gave pumping while traveling tips per my request – super helpful. And now I’m happy to pass them on to those of you who might find them relevant, either now or later!

what to bring with you when pumping on a plane

Okay! Here’s what I packed with me for this trip to pump on the road/in the air and to bring the milk back with me… hopefully I didn’t forget anything!

  • Electric pump (duh) with flanges and bottles, power cord, connector tubes, etc. (I have the Spectra s2)
  • Pump battery pack to use with electric pump in case a plug was not available (the battery pack is for the Medela pump, but it is also compatible with the Spectra) + extra AA batteries just in case
  • Backup hand pump to use if absolutely necessary: the Haakaa
  • Nursing cover (to use while pumping in public)
  • Pumping-friendly tank top (I wore this on the plane under another shirt – worked well to already have it on) and pumping bra to use during the rest of the trip
  • Motherlove nipple cream – I put this on right before pumping and it makes it wayyyyy more comfortable
  • Breastmilk storage bags (I counted how many I thought I’d need and then basically brought double just in case since they take up so little space)
  • Pump part cleaning wipes (I actually brought pacifier wipes – I figured same difference since they were food grade/made to clean something a baby would actively be putting their mouth on)
  • Lots of big ziplock freezer bags to put the milk bags in, just in case they leaked. I’ll also use some of the ziplocks for ice when out and about/away from a fridge.
  • Lunch bag/small cooler to keep milk cool while out and about/traveling home. I’m planning to use ice from the hotel or from restaurants since I know I won’t have access to a freezer in the hotel (just a fridge), so ice packs wouldn’t be much help – but ice packs might be a good call if you will have access to a freezer! I’m planning to keep my milk cold but still liquid vs. freezing it – easier logistically and that way I don’t have to worry about it defrosting on the way home. Since I’m only gone a few days it will be just fine so long as I keep it cold. You guys told me that breastmilk can go through security either frozen or unfrozen (but that unfrozen may take longer to inspect, so to be ready for that). Thanks for those tips! I also printed out the official TSA guidelines on traveling with breastmilk and put them in my purse, just in case – thanks for that tip as well.

I put all my pumping stuff together in a tote bag (not pictured above) – my electric pump is in there in a plastic bag, and I put the rest of the items together in the little blue zippered bag you see above, then put that into the bigger tote as well. The big insulated lunch bag that I’ll be using to cool milk during the trip went into my checked bag since I wouldn’t need it on the plane.

To pump on the plane this morning, I used my nursing cover and pumped at my seat so I wouldn’t be monopolizing one of the plane bathrooms for ages. It was awkward but I made it work, and there was a plug at my seat so I didn’t need to bust out the battery pack. Wearing my pumping tank top under my regular shirt was a great tip from you guys – a lot easier than trying to put on the pumping bra awkwardly over my clothes with people watching, or than trying to just hold the pumping bottles on the whole time. The hardest part was pouring the milk into the storage bag without spilling it after I was done. After putting the milk in the storage bag, I asked one of the flight attendants for ice, which I put in a ziplock. I then put my bag of milk in another ziplock, and then put that ziplock inside the one with the ice. I put all that back into my bag – it would do the trick until I was near a fridge! To clean the bottles and pump parts, I went to the bathroom with my water bottle that was filled with bottled water from the flight attendant, rinsed the bottles with the bottled water, and then wiped them down with a cleaning wipe and dried them with bathroom paper towels. Done and done!

I won’t be posting tomorrow as I’ll be out and about with the Brooks gang in Seattle, but you can see what I’m up to on my Instagram page and on Instagram stories! I’ll be back with a new blog post either on Sunday evening from the plane or on Monday morning. Have a great weekend everyone!

Please note there are affiliate links in this post.


  1. 1

    Way to go pumping on the plane, mama! I’ve really only ever had to do at my desk, in the car, and at a concert (thanks to a Mamava pod!), so I can’t imagine the planning and doing of it on a plane. Well done and good job helping to normalize it for all of us!

    • 2

      Thanks Stephanie! I have so much respect for pumping moms who work in offices now – pumping all day is really hard logistically!

  2. 3

    Have a great trip! Random question–how do you prepare your black beans? Just from a can, or do you add any spices?

  3. 5

    Wow! Impressive! Was there someone sitting next to you on the plane? Did you get any stares or questions about what you were doing?

    • 6

      Yeah I was in the aisle and there was a guy next to me in the middle and another person at the window – the first time I pumped (it was a 6 hour flight, so timing worked out that I had to pump twice) they were asleep. The second time I told them beforehand what I was doing just so they weren’t weirded out/trying to figure it out by staring lol. They were super nice about it!

  4. 7
    Elizabeth says

    Just a tip for the way back — put pumped milk in a soft cooler with ice packs and check your suitcase. It’s so cold in the cargo hold that it will keep everything cool until you get home, and you avoid dealing with TSA inspecting your milk at security (eg having to open every single bag of liquid). I once brought back over 100 oz from a work trip to Asia this way. Milk was still nice and cold after a 14 hr flight. One of my proudest pumping accomplishments! Good luck – you’ve got this!

    • 8

      Thanks Elizabeth! This is a great tip for another time if I have a roomier suitcase… and a more sturdy lunch box/cooler to put the milk in – mine is kind of soft so I’d be worried it would smush and compress the milk bags so they exploded! I didn’t have any ice packs with me either unfortunately since I didn’t have access to a freezer – just got ice from a restaurant and wouldn’t want it to melt in my suitcase at all! :)

  5. 9

    I am not a mom nor have I ever breastfed BUT you could use a funnel to pour the milk into the bottle. I use funnels for mixing my protein powder into a bottle so I figure the same logic could be applied :)

  6. 11

    You are awesome! Enjoy your trip !

  7. 13

    Nice job pumping on the plane! Enjoy your trip! I had the picture of your daughter from this post on my computer screen and my 10 month old daughter just started laughing and waving at the screen, it was too funny!

  8. 15
    Roadrunner says

    Enjoy the trip. Hard to believe it has been a year since you have been on a flight! Long time. And love the photo of the 7-month old! Time is flying!

  9. 16
    Susan Ammons says

    Riese is so cute!!! I love her smile! She looks so much like Matt!!

  10. 17

    Wow now I see why breastfeeding moms don’t travel much, yikes! Glad you are so organized!

  11. 19

    I am breastfeeding and pumping too. I never thought of using nipple cream before I pump. Do you think it makes a big difference? And you don’t have to wipe it off before you pump?

    • 20

      It makes a big difference in comfort for me! Definitely don’t wipe it off before you pump – having it on there makes your breast more slippery so you aren’t chafing. Try it!

  12. 21

    Hi Anne. It was a great trip. I haven’t had such an experience on the plane. I am a new mom and still learning all new things about mom and baby including breast pumping. I found that I got a bit result from pumping, so I’m finding breast pump to help me. I visited this website Could you give me suggestions about breast pumps? Thank you in advance for your kindness.

    • 22

      I really like the Spectra breast pump that I have – I haven’t tried other ones but I’ve heard it’s one of the best because it’s less painful and quieter!

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