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From the practical to the frivolous, the banal to the fun and surprising... I hope these little nuggets will empower you to travel while breastfeeding. It definitely presents some unique challenges but ultimately it’s worth not sacrificing any travel you covet and seeing a possibility beyond ‘pump and dump’...

xx, Jaelle

 

PREPARE

What to bring with you...

 

Pumping while travelling require additional supplies that you may not need while you are at home. While it looks overwhelming at first, over time, you will learn to leave most things in the hotel and only bring a very small part of the items below with you for your daily outings. I am able to fit it in a small MUJI organizing pouch and put it in my large handbag when I travel around daily. I do not carry a separate diaper bag or Medela bag.

 

Here’s a checklist:

Pump and accessories

I use the Medela Freestyle because of its chargeable battery which can last me at least 10 pumps (about 2 days) without re-charging. Remember to bring the charger.

I bring along 2 sets of bottles, pump parts and breast shields.

 

Handpump

If weight or suitcase capacity is not an issue, I recommend bringing along a hand pump for the rare instances you need to pump a little and quickly or as a backup for the electronic pump.

 

Cleaning Accessories

Medela Quick Clean Wipes for cleaning the bottles, adapters, shields and covers on the move. This is super handy for cleaning pump parts and bottles after they are used and you have no proper way of washing until you get back to the hotel. Medela claims that you can use it after you wipe it down and air dry it for 15 mins but I always see some soapy residue after wiping so I strongly prefer to rinse it with water before using.

If in the hotel, I like to do it the old-fashion style of rinsing it with just boiled water (every hotel has a kettle in the room) after the wipes.

Medela Microwave Disinfecting Bags are best for sterilizing the pump accessories. Some hotel rooms, most hotel restaurants, service apartment rooms and offices have a microwave. Throw all the parts into these bags, pop it into the microwave for 2 minutes on high and everything is sterile for their next use. I try to sterilize this way once every day but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it this often if the microwave is not always accessible.

 

 

Milk Storage Bags

On the average, I pump 4 -5 times a day. Please bring at least 20% more milk bags than you expect to use. Milk storage bags are light and there are many reasons why you would need extra: It is hard to optimize the bags capacity because sometimes you pump when it’s convenient rather than the ideal time and you may end up pump more times with less collection each time; you drop or dirty a bag outside unintentionally; you need to extend your trip unexpectedly.

Lasinoh and Pigeon have been my favorite brands because of its durability and genuine ability to store 200 ml of expressed milk. I recently discovered Boots and find them even better and the much more affordable price is a big bonus (less than half the price of Lasinoh/ Medela), however, it is not available in Singapore and I buy it from Boots in Bangkok.

Whenever possible, freeze them flat so you can stack them up on the return trip.

 

Permanent Marker

For labeling date and amounts in the milk bags; and for tagging your box of stored milk when you check in.

 

Shatoosh / Nursing Cover

I dislike pumping in public but have done it on the plane, in a car and even outside this Harley Davidson showroom when I had no choice. (Start imagining the stereotypical Harley burlies, there were 4 of them lingering about less than 50 m from me but then again, they were far more interested in admiring one another’s bikes than gawking at me). A nursing cover is a must for emergencies and for maximizing your time. Take comfort that there is a certain anonymity and you can get away with more things when you travel than when you are at home.

I always prefer to bring less things when I travel so I tend to only use my shatoosh with a tied knot and pump away.

 

Tissue

I always keep packs of tissue handy for emergencies and for wiping any accidental drips or spills.

 

Ziploc Bags

Bring 2-4 large Ziploc bags for packing the milk bags and/ or dry ice so they are not in contact with one another.

Bring some small plastic bags (Ziploc/ sandwich bags) for keeping ice to keep expressed milk chilled when you are on the move during the day. These are also handy when airplane staff give you dry ice or ice to keep any expressed milk fresh for longer.

 

Ice Packs and Small Cooler Bag

To store expressed milk when you are on the move during the day and on long or multi-segments flights before you get to freeze the milk.

I use a Fridge-To-Go or a small Medela (freebie when I bought my Freestyle) cooler bag depending on the length of the flight/ travel intensity.


Packing Tape

For packing and sealing the box or cooler in preparation for check in.

 

Letter from OBGYN

Airport policies must be written by men. Strangely, if you are travelling with your baby (or a baby for that matter), you are allowed to bring your expressed milk with no issues.

However, if you are travelling without a baby, please make sure you carry a letter from your OBGYN stating that you are lactating and need to travel with your breastmilk.

 

Car Adaptor

If you are driving a rental car, consider buying a car adapter so that you can pump or charge the pump in the car if necessary. When I was in LA, I got one for $19 at Radio Shack and I realized how comfortable, discreet and time-saving it is to pump in the car.

 

Galactogogues (Optional)

For a prolonged trip, you may worry about a dipping supply from pumping without latching. Bring your galactogogues tea or pills. I brought 4 packets of Yogi Tea when I went to the US for 12 days, I don’t take it on a regular basis but keep it for standby.

 

Cooler Box (Optional)

To pack the frozen packs of expressed milk and dry ice for packing and checking in.

I have used small boxes from supermarkets or paper reel boxes before. Really, any clean paper or plastic box will do.

 

 

PLAN
what to do before you travel...

  • If possible, choose a flight time that is between your pumping intervals so you can pump before you go and don’t have to pump onboard or at the airport. For my short haul trips within Asia, I do that almost 100%.

  • During check-in, try to charm your way to get upgraded to business class, or a clear row without other passengers or a seat between you and the next passenger. (Yes in that order). I explain vividly how my boobs would be fully employed during flight and how I am so thoughtful about not wanting to terrify any other passenger. Feel free to pepper it with a tale of “I remember the last time when I was pumping on the plane...” when needed.

  • Charge your pump before you leave, especially if you are getting onto a long haul flight.

  • Check that the letter from your OBGYN is kept together with your passport (I staple it behind for the whole 6 months I am travelling and lactating)

  • Call or e-mail the hotel or service apartment to request for a freezer and microwave. Most service apartments have then so that’s usually more convenient option when you are lactating. However, there has not been once where I did not find access to a freezer and microwave in a hotel even if it’s not possible to possess it in the room.

  • If you want to be extra organised and prepared, find out about places that sell dry ice and their opening hours in advance before you arrive. Just use google for this.

  • Dress to pump. Before flying, wear a top that makes it easy and fast to pump. I have a grand total of 2 tops (same tops in black and a blue) that allow me to pump easily and look presentable for a business meeting right after I get off the plane

 

 

PUMP
Where and when to pump...

 

  • Pump in the hotel room whenever possible. Without comparison, the best place to pump is in the hotel. This means getting up earlier to pump before getting dressed and it also means you get to wash up and bring out 2 sets of parts. The second choice places for me is in a private car or in an upscale mall or office because they tend to have nursing rooms or at least clean, large and beautiful bathrooms.

  • Papa’s gotta do work. If you are travelling with you partner, you need to tag team. By that I mean when you are pumping before you are going out, he needs to be changing and sorting out everything else. (Not watching TV, sleeping, lounging...)This means that the moment you are done pumping and are changing, he is ready to jump in to help put it into storage bags, clean the accessories and find ice if required. That way, you can both be ready to go out at the same time. Secondly, it really is important for him to have that psychological buy-in and start to understand how much work you are doing! Otherwise, all he feels is agitation by the amount of hassle and wasted time. By the way, most men are great at logistics optimisation, many of our shortcuts and tricks are conceived by my husband.

  • Be opportunistic at lunchtime. When at a restaurant, to save time, I would order first and then rush to a discreet place to pump and return to my food in 20 minutes’ time. In general, I do long pumps with complete milk removal in the mornings and at nights in the hotel, when I’m outside, I stick to 8 mins each side which means I’m out in 20 mins including organising and washing. Another good thing
    about pumping in the restaurant is that there is always ice there so I get ice only when I need rather than lug it around for hours before.

  • Hand express for the second half. For me, I always find it faster to pump the initial half and then hand expressed the second half when I’m in a hurry.

  • Feel entitled when you fly. If all the plans I mentioned above failed (getting upgraded or getting a clear row without other passengers), there are a few more tips to enhance the pump onboard experience. Ask to go over to the business class section and pump in a comfortable corner, I have done this about 3 times and the flight attendant have always obliged and found me a quiet seat without any passengers in the area. Go to the business class restroom with the changing table, this is usually the largest and cleanest one on the plane, also giving you more ‘table surface’ to lay our your wares. (Warning: mirrors in airplanes’ restrooms tend to be terribly unflattering, try to not stare at the mirror while you pump though it’s right in front of you. It’s extremely depressing.) I have found no difference whether I ask a male or female attendant for any type of ! assistance whether it’s access to better restroom or ice/ dry ice or having my food served at a more convenient time. Females are more sympathetic and males are more embarrassed and want to end the conversation quickly.

 

 

PACK
How to bring it home...

 

Use ice/ ice packs to keep it cool until you reach a refrigerator

I like pumping out 200ml each time because it fills my milk bags in an optimum way but really it does not always happen so ideally every time.

Once the milk is in the milk bag, I can either freeze in the freezer if I have immediate access or I can keep it cool in the chiller bag with some ice or ice packs. This should be kept in this cooled manner as short a time as possible but can be kept for up to 4-6 hours. Logically, if you keep replenishing the ice or get a lot in the first place, you can easily keep it to up to 8-10 hours.

 

Freeze the milk packets in a freezer as quickly as you can

This could mean after every pump or at the end of a day depending on where the freezer is. The key thing to note is that once frozen, the milk packets cannot be thawed until it is ready to be consumed within 24 hours.

Keeping the expressed milk frozen is the most challenging part of the entire ‘travel and pump project’. Most hotels only have mini bars which do not have freezer compartments. I have used the hotel restaurant freezers (I pop my packets of milk once a day), a chef’s private freezer in his office (this is in Uzbekistan where the only clean and nice freezer is his personal one) or a small freezer that the hotel can loan me in my room for the duration of my stay. In Bangkok, I decided that my office is the best ‘base’ since I go in everyday and it has a clean freezer, sink and microwave. In Perth, I walk 10 minutes to a acquaintance’s (barely) everyday to use his freezer for 6 days because I was staying in a house with a broken down refrigerator.

 

I have 30 packets of frozen milk in front of me, now what?

Estimate how much space or how large a cooler/ box you will need to pack your milk packets and the dry ice.

A few things about the dry ice:

  • A kilo of it roughly buys you about 5 hours. That means if you require 20 hours from receiving the dry ice to unpacking the milk into the freezer at your destination, you will need about 4 kilos of dry ice.

  • Never let the dry ice touch your fingers directly, it will cause a ‘burn’ that will damage your skin tissues. Use a cloth to handle it. - Never let the dry ice touch the milk packets directly. That’s why I always put the milk packets into another large Ziploc before packing it with the dry ice in the cooler.

  • I have bought dry ice for USD 1 (Bali) to the most expensive USD 40 (Uzbekistan).= and everything in between. But for majority of the cities, dry ice cost at most a few dollars per kilo.

  • The dry ice should be wrapped in brown or newspaper in several pieces and then packed together with the milk packets in Ziploc bags in the cooler/ box. I do not like the contents swimming around so I like to stuff any leftover space with newspaper or towel.

 

Practise Taboo and Win, Lose or Draw

Because I travel to quite some less trodden country with my adventurous husband, I’ve had to communicate without a common spoken language. In Uzbekistan, I have described dry ice by telling them the context its used in (as ‘smoke in weddings’, to keep ice-cream frozen, to keep fish cold etc) as well as showed them hand-drawn pictures and photographs.

 

The treasure hunt for the dry ice begins

Sometimes, the person who finally gets what you want may not know where to find it. The person who knows where to find it may not know that it’s closed on Wednesdays or it has sold out for the day. I’m not exaggerating but every one of the above scenarios happened to us in Uzbekistan! I don’t have a trick except to pass on some of my ‘eternal optimism’ and some encouragement to start ‘looking for dry ice early’, at least 2-3 days before you need it unless you are certain of getting it from a specific place.

 

If you have 5 dollars, there is always a way to find what you need

So far, I haven’t encountered any big problem that 5 dollars can’t solve - whether it’s ice, dry ice, cooler box, packing tape etc. Ice can usually be gotten from restaurants, supermarkets or ice-making machine on most floors in hotels. And if you are desperate, walk into any cafe or juice store and tip them 2 dollars and get a bag of ice. In Bangkok and Bali, I have tipped the taxi-driver or taxi-motorcyclists who are usually loitering outside the hotel to go get me dry ice. I do try to find the address or number for them unless I have a lot of time for their errors. Hotel concierges are great resources for information on where to get things, also never underestimate hotel staff. I have solved every dry ice issue with no more than $5 no matter where I go.

Don’t give up. If it’s not a supermarket or authorized ice seller, there are also ice-cream shops, fish wholesalers and special effects studios.

 

Getting Ready to Check In the Labor of Love

Once all the contents are in the cooler, you can seal it up with packing tape. I tend to use a a lot of it, packing it up almost like an Egyptian mummy. Remember to label it with your name, contact and “MOTHER’S MILK”. Sometimes, I just tape my doctor’s letter on the cooler. I also ask for “FRAGILE” stickers to stick on as well.

Breastmilk is NOT subject to the 100 ml limitation. You are also not subject to having to taste the milk or pump to prove that you are lactating. But do have your doctor’s letter handy and ready to flaunt

 

Author: Jaelle Ang, mothers of 4
CEO & Co founder, The Great Room Offices

From the practical to the frivolous, the banal to the fun and surprising... I hope these little nuggets will empower you to travel while breastfeeding. It definitely presents some unique challenges but ultimately it’s worth not sacrificing any travel you covet and seeing a possibility beyond ‘pump and dump’...

 

xx, Jaelle

 

PREPARE

What to bring with you...

 

Pumping while travelling require additional supplies that you may not need while you are at home. While it looks overwhelming at first, over time, you will learn to leave most things in the hotel and only bring a very small part of the items below with you for your daily outings. I am able to fit it in a small MUJI organizing pouch and put it in my large handbag when I travel around daily. I do not carry a separate diaper bag or Medela bag.

 

Here’s a checklist:

Pump and accessories

I use the Medela Freestyle because of its chargeable battery which can last me at least 10 pumps (about 2 days) without re-charging. Remember to bring the charger.

I bring along 2 sets of bottles, pump parts and breast shields.

 

Handpump

If weight or suitcase capacity is not an issue, I recommend bringing along a hand pump for the rare instances you need to pump a little and quickly or as a backup for the electronic pump.

 

Cleaning Accessories

Medela Quick Clean Wipes for cleaning the bottles, adapters, shields and covers on the move. This is super handy for cleaning pump parts and bottles after they are used and you have no proper way of washing until you get back to the hotel. Medela claims that you can use it after you wipe it down and air dry it for 15 mins but I always see some soapy residue after wiping so I strongly prefer to rinse it with water before using.

If in the hotel, I like to do it the old-fashion style of rinsing it with just boiled water (every hotel has a kettle in the room) after the wipes.

Medela Microwave Disinfecting Bags are best for sterilizing the pump accessories. Some hotel rooms, most hotel restaurants, service apartment rooms and offices have a microwave. Throw all the parts into these bags, pop it into the microwave for 2 minutes on high and everything is sterile for their next use. I try to sterilize this way once every day but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do it this often if the microwave is not always accessible.

 

 

Milk Storage Bags

On the average, I pump 4 -5 times a day. Please bring at least 20% more milk bags than you expect to use. Milk storage bags are light and there are many reasons why you would need extra: It is hard to optimize the bags capacity because sometimes you pump when it’s convenient rather than the ideal time and you may end up pump more times with less collection each time; you drop or dirty a bag outside unintentionally; you need to extend your trip unexpectedly.

Lasinoh and Pigeon have been my favorite brands because of its durability and genuine ability to store 200 ml of expressed milk. I recently discovered Boots and find them even better and the much more affordable price is a big bonus (less than half the price of Lasinoh/ Medela), however, it is not available in Singapore and I buy it from Boots in Bangkok.

Whenever possible, freeze them flat so you can stack them up on the return trip.

 

Permanent Marker

For labeling date and amounts in the milk bags; and for tagging your box of stored milk when you check in.

 

Shatoosh / Nursing Cover

I dislike pumping in public but have done it on the plane, in a car and even outside this Harley Davidson showroom when I had no choice. (Start imagining the stereotypical Harley burlies, there were 4 of them lingering about less than 50 m from me but then again, they were far more interested in admiring one another’s bikes than gawking at me). A nursing cover is a must for emergencies and for maximizing your time. Take comfort that there is a certain anonymity and you can get away with more things when you travel than when you are at home.

I always prefer to bring less things when I travel so I tend to only use my shatoosh with a tied knot and pump away.

 

Tissue

I always keep packs of tissue handy for emergencies and for wiping any accidental drips or spills.

 

Ziploc Bags

Bring 2-4 large Ziploc bags for packing the milk bags and/ or dry ice so they are not in contact with one another.

Bring some small plastic bags (Ziploc/ sandwich bags) for keeping ice to keep expressed milk chilled when you are on the move during the day. These are also handy when airplane staff give you dry ice or ice to keep any expressed milk fresh for longer.

 

Ice Packs and Small Cooler Bag

To store expressed milk when you are on the move during the day and on long or multi-segments flights before you get to freeze the milk.

I use a Fridge-To-Go or a small Medela (freebie when I bought my Freestyle) cooler bag depending on the length of the flight/ travel intensity.


Packing Tape

For packing and sealing the box or cooler in preparation for check in.

 

Letter from OBGYN

Airport policies must be written by men. Strangely, if you are travelling with your baby (or a baby for that matter), you are allowed to bring your expressed milk with no issues.

However, if you are travelling without a baby, please make sure you carry a letter from your OBGYN stating that you are lactating and need to travel with your breastmilk.

 

Car Adaptor

If you are driving a rental car, consider buying a car adapter so that you can pump or charge the pump in the car if necessary. When I was in LA, I got one for $19 at Radio Shack and I realized how comfortable, discreet and time-saving it is to pump in the car.

 

Galactogogues (Optional)

For a prolonged trip, you may worry about a dipping supply from pumping without latching. Bring your galactogogues tea or pills. I brought 4 packets of Yogi Tea when I went to the US for 12 days, I don’t take it on a regular basis but keep it for standby.

 

Cooler Box (Optional)

To pack the frozen packs of expressed milk and dry ice for packing and checking in.

I have used small boxes from supermarkets or paper reel boxes before. Really, any clean paper or plastic box will do.

 

 

PLAN
what to do before you travel...

  • If possible, choose a flight time that is between your pumping intervals so you can pump before you go and don’t have to pump onboard or at the airport. For my short haul trips within Asia, I do that almost 100%.

  • During check-in, try to charm your way to get upgraded to business class, or a clear row without other passengers or a seat between you and the next passenger. (Yes in that order). I explain vividly how my boobs would be fully employed during flight and how I am so thoughtful about not wanting to terrify any other passenger. Feel free to pepper it with a tale of “I remember the last time when I was pumping on the plane...” when needed.

  • Charge your pump before you leave, especially if you are getting onto a long haul flight.

  • Check that the letter from your OBGYN is kept together with your passport (I staple it behind for the whole 6 months I am travelling and lactating)

  • Call or e-mail the hotel or service apartment to request for a freezer and microwave. Most service apartments have then so that’s usually more convenient option when you are lactating. However, there has not been once where I did not find access to a freezer and microwave in a hotel even if it’s not possible to possess it in the room.

  • If you want to be extra organised and prepared, find out about places that sell dry ice and their opening hours in advance before you arrive. Just use google for this.

  • Dress to pump. Before flying, wear a top that makes it easy and fast to pump. I have a grand total of 2 tops (same tops in black and a blue) that allow me to pump easily and look presentable for a business meeting right after I get off the plane

 

 

PUMP
Where and when to pump...

 

  • Pump in the hotel room whenever possible. Without comparison, the best place to pump is in the hotel. This means getting up earlier to pump before getting dressed and it also means you get to wash up and bring out 2 sets of parts. The second choice places for me is in a private car or in an upscale mall or office because they tend to have nursing rooms or at least clean, large and beautiful bathrooms.

  • Papa’s gotta do work. If you are travelling with you partner, you need to tag team. By that I mean when you are pumping before you are going out, he needs to be changing and sorting out everything else. (Not watching TV, sleeping, lounging...)This means that the moment you are done pumping and are changing, he is ready to jump in to help put it into storage bags, clean the accessories and find ice if required. That way, you can both be ready to go out at the same time. Secondly, it really is important for him to have that psychological buy-in and start to understand how much work you are doing! Otherwise, all he feels is agitation by the amount of hassle and wasted time. By the way, most men are great at logistics optimisation, many of our shortcuts and tricks are conceived by my husband.

  • Be opportunistic at lunchtime. When at a restaurant, to save time, I would order first and then rush to a discreet place to pump and return to my food in 20 minutes’ time. In general, I do long pumps with complete milk removal in the mornings and at nights in the hotel, when I’m outside, I stick to 8 mins each side which means I’m out in 20 mins including organising and washing. Another good thing
    about pumping in the restaurant is that there is always ice there so I get ice only when I need rather than lug it around for hours before.

  • Hand express for the second half. For me, I always find it faster to pump the initial half and then hand expressed the second half when I’m in a hurry.

  • Feel entitled when you fly. If all the plans I mentioned above failed (getting upgraded or getting a clear row without other passengers), there are a few more tips to enhance the pump onboard experience. Ask to go over to the business class section and pump in a comfortable corner, I have done this about 3 times and the flight attendant have always obliged and found me a quiet seat without any passengers in the area. Go to the business class restroom with the changing table, this is usually the largest and cleanest one on the plane, also giving you more ‘table surface’ to lay our your wares. (Warning: mirrors in airplanes’ restrooms tend to be terribly unflattering, try to not stare at the mirror while you pump though it’s right in front of you. It’s extremely depressing.) I have found no difference whether I ask a male or female attendant for any type of ! assistance whether it’s access to better restroom or ice/ dry ice or having my food served at a more convenient time. Females are more sympathetic and males are more embarrassed and want to end the conversation quickly.

 

 

PACK
How to bring it home...

 

Use ice/ ice packs to keep it cool until you reach a refrigerator

I like pumping out 200ml each time because it fills my milk bags in an optimum way but really it does not always happen so ideally every time.

Once the milk is in the milk bag, I can either freeze in the freezer if I have immediate access or I can keep it cool in the chiller bag with some ice or ice packs. This should be kept in this cooled manner as short a time as possible but can be kept for up to 4-6 hours. Logically, if you keep replenishing the ice or get a lot in the first place, you can easily keep it to up to 8-10 hours.

 

Freeze the milk packets in a freezer as quickly as you can

This could mean after every pump or at the end of a day depending on where the freezer is. The key thing to note is that once frozen, the milk packets cannot be thawed until it is ready to be consumed within 24 hours.

Keeping the expressed milk frozen is the most challenging part of the entire ‘travel and pump project’. Most hotels only have mini bars which do not have freezer compartments. I have used the hotel restaurant freezers (I pop my packets of milk once a day), a chef’s private freezer in his office (this is in Uzbekistan where the only clean and nice freezer is his personal one) or a small freezer that the hotel can loan me in my room for the duration of my stay. In Bangkok, I decided that my office is the best ‘base’ since I go in everyday and it has a clean freezer, sink and microwave. In Perth, I walk 10 minutes to a acquaintance’s (barely) everyday to use his freezer for 6 days because I was staying in a house with a broken down refrigerator.

 

I have 30 packets of frozen milk in front of me, now what?

Estimate how much space or how large a cooler/ box you will need to pack your milk packets and the dry ice.

A few things about the dry ice:

  • A kilo of it roughly buys you about 5 hours. That means if you require 20 hours from receiving the dry ice to unpacking the milk into the freezer at your destination, you will need about 4 kilos of dry ice.

  • Never let the dry ice touch your fingers directly, it will cause a ‘burn’ that will damage your skin tissues. Use a cloth to handle it. - Never let the dry ice touch the milk packets directly. That’s why I always put the milk packets into another large Ziploc before packing it with the dry ice in the cooler.

  • I have bought dry ice for USD 1 (Bali) to the most expensive USD 40 (Uzbekistan).= and everything in between. But for majority of the cities, dry ice cost at most a few dollars per kilo.

  • The dry ice should be wrapped in brown or newspaper in several pieces and then packed together with the milk packets in Ziploc bags in the cooler/ box. I do not like the contents swimming around so I like to stuff any leftover space with newspaper or towel.

 

Practise Taboo and Win, Lose or Draw

Because I travel to quite some less trodden country with my adventurous husband, I’ve had to communicate without a common spoken language. In Uzbekistan, I have described dry ice by telling them the context its used in (as ‘smoke in weddings’, to keep ice-cream frozen, to keep fish cold etc) as well as showed them hand-drawn pictures and photographs.

 

The treasure hunt for the dry ice begins

Sometimes, the person who finally gets what you want may not know where to find it. The person who knows where to find it may not know that it’s closed on Wednesdays or it has sold out for the day. I’m not exaggerating but every one of the above scenarios happened to us in Uzbekistan! I don’t have a trick except to pass on some of my ‘eternal optimism’ and some encouragement to start ‘looking for dry ice early’, at least 2-3 days before you need it unless you are certain of getting it from a specific place.

 

If you have 5 dollars, there is always a way to find what you need

So far, I haven’t encountered any big problem that 5 dollars can’t solve - whether it’s ice, dry ice, cooler box, packing tape etc. Ice can usually be gotten from restaurants, supermarkets or ice-making machine on most floors in hotels. And if you are desperate, walk into any cafe or juice store and tip them 2 dollars and get a bag of ice. In Bangkok and Bali, I have tipped the taxi-driver or taxi-motorcyclists who are usually loitering outside the hotel to go get me dry ice. I do try to find the address or number for them unless I have a lot of time for their errors. Hotel concierges are great resources for information on where to get things, also never underestimate hotel staff. I have solved every dry ice issue with no more than $5 no matter where I go.

Don’t give up. If it’s not a supermarket or authorized ice seller, there are also ice-cream shops, fish wholesalers and special effects studios.

 

Getting Ready to Check In the Labor of Love

Once all the contents are in the cooler, you can seal it up with packing tape. I tend to use a a lot of it, packing it up almost like an Egyptian mummy. Remember to label it with your name, contact and “MOTHER’S MILK”. Sometimes, I just tape my doctor’s letter on the cooler. I also ask for “FRAGILE” stickers to stick on as well.

Breastmilk is NOT subject to the 100 ml limitation. You are also not subject to having to taste the milk or pump to prove that you are lactating. But do have your doctor’s letter handy and ready to flaunt

 

Author: Jaelle Ang, mothers of 4
CEO & Co founder, The Great Room Offices