My husband and I used to joke that for the first year of their lives, our kids saw every vacation destination as the background behind my breast :) I have nursed in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and the Caribbean. Each time, I wondered if I was going to be hassled or treated rudely, but it never happened. I personally think that travelling is one of the hidden benefits of breastfeeding; something my friend obviously didn't know...
- You don't have to pack bottles, formula, bottled water to mix with powdered formula, etc.
- You don't have to worry about how you will sterilize (or even clean) bottles on the road or at your destination.
- Unlike my neighbor, who was laid over at an airport for seven hours with a small baby and ran out of formula, you won't have to worry about bringing enough formula.
- When you are in a strange environment, your baby will have her greatest comfort with her to soothe her.
- When you lie down to sleep in a hotel, your baby will have his favorite "sleep aid" at hand. He will drift off to sleep just like he's at home.
- If you are travelling to a different country, you don't have to worry about the water's effect on your baby.
- When you are out and about on your trip, you always have something at hand to calm, distract, feed, your baby when she needs it.
- Your baby will be better protected from all of the germs he will encounter on vacation.
We love road trips and have taken many a year since becoming parents. It took a bit of practice, but I figured out how to nurse a baby in a rear-facing carseat without having to unbuckle anyone. That was great with a small baby who nursed and slept frequently. If we stopped for me to take the baby out, he or she would nurse to sleep, and then wake up frantic when I transferred them back into the seat. If I nursed them while they were still buckled up, they drifted off and stayed happy for an hour or two. That doesn't work once the baby is facing the front, but at that point, they aren't nursing as often anymore.
I believe that breastfeeding has helped us enjoy our vacations more because we don't have screaming, unhappy babies/toddlers with us. They go with the flow because they are being treated as well as they are at home.
Until my oldest was two and a half and weaned, she never had any trouble on vacations. The first trip we took after the birth of her little brother was a shock to us. She had a great time every day (we were at Disney World) and screamed for home every night at bedtime. We'd had no experience with that before because on every other trip with her, she had nursed to sleep beside me wherever we were. I felt such a weight of guilt settle over me while she writhed and screamed because I had taken away her source of comfort. She had weaned without a single tear, but months later I was seeing a sweet girl who still needed it. She fell asleep beside me at home every night without nursing, but in the unfamiliar surroundings of the hotel she was beside herself. Meanwhile, her seven week old brother was sleeping just fine. We took turns walking her around until she fell asleep, and she was fine by morning every day. We didn't have that experience after our son was weaned, but he was a whole year older (3 1/2)by that point.