Tips for Breastfeeding on a Plane for a First Time Mom
Aisle seat. Your seat is the best location to breastfeed your baby. I always preferred aisle seats so I could not only get up to bounce my boy, but also have the elbow room I found necessary to get everything maneuvered in order to breastfeed on the plane. That extra space means you won’t nudge your neighbor as much, and you won’t feel as cramped while you try to breastfeed your baby in a tight space.
Bathroom. Locking yourself in the bathroom to breastfeed on a plane is not the best option considering it can take upwards of 20 minutes to feed a baby. You will not win any points with your fellow passengers and the flight attendants may get suspect. Don’t do anything that will get you thrown off the plane! Always check with the flight crew before you breastfeed on a plane in the bathroom.
The Galley. If you have a very nice flight crew, talk to one of the female flight attendants about your breastfeeding on a plane concerns. First time mothers can be nervous as this is all new, and they aren’t very efficient at it yet (I know I wasn’t, even with my second!). Ask if you can at least get the baby started in the galley while they serve beverages. This way you can get yourself situated without worrying people will stare at you as you start to breastfeed your baby. Head back to your seat so your arm doesn’t get tired and you can relax a little while baby is occupied breastfeeding. Understand that post-9/11 flying may prohibit this. If the flight attendant says no, listen to her/him.
Above all else, please know that it is your right to breastfeed your child, and even breastfeed while flying, even if there is no clear policy to support this in the USA or from the airlines. Most people on your flight won’t even notice. If you are worried, call the airline and ask what their breastfeeding on a plane policy is. Even better, email them and get it in writing. Most airlines will just ask that you cover up to make sure other passengers don’t become uncomfortable. You can let your seat mates know that you plan to breastfeed on the plane in case they would like to move to a different seat. Don’t be offended; you may get a row to yourself! Don’t be nervous either. Just breastfeed your baby as you do at home. Be confident and you will do just fine. I have had nothing but positive experiences breastfeeding while flying with both of my boys. I wish the same for all of you.