When it comes to my son, my motto is generally don’t stress. But the chaos of taking a big family trip to Norway this summer really hit me a week before departure, when I realized: I had no idea how to handle my feeding routine while traveling.
I generally breastfeed (something that can be done anywhere!), but I express milk and bottle feed when necessary—if we have a babysitter, if I’m away from my son for a few hours and need to empty my breasts, or occasionally, if we’re somewhere I don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding. When thinking about traveling, I knew I’d need to bottle feed here and there, and I totally panicked about how many hurdles I’d face while away from home.
For starters, my breast pump won’t work in a European outlet, even with a converter because the voltage is higher and can damage the appliance. (I’ve fried too many straighteners to attempt this with my pricey pump, adapter and all.) And I knew some of our hotel rooms wouldn’t have mini fridges for stashing expressed milk or microwaves for sterilizing pump and bottle parts, both of which are necessities for preservation and health reasons. So I sent a desperate plea to my Instagram followers for help, and discovered the Kiinde Breast Milk Storage Starter Set.
How it works
The Kiinde Breast Milk Storage set took my stress level down a couple notches right away, because of its convenience. There’s no transferring of milk and no need for carrying around dirty bottles or figuring out how to sterilize on the go—you just do your thing and keep on keeping on. With the set, you pump right into recyclable bags (using any pump), then snap said bag into one of the included bottles, feed baby, then recycle the bag. So I added this kit, plus a manual breast pump to circumvent the outlet problem and Medela cleaning wipes to my cart on Amazon. Two days later, I felt a lot more prepared for my trip.
When I started using the kit, the benefits to the system were immediately obvious. I didn’t have to carefully pour any milk from bag to bottle during the overnight plane ride. I simply pumped straight into the recyclable bag before we left the house, took it out of my cooler bag, popped it into the bottle, and handed it to my son. When he finished, I handed it off to the flight attendant for recycling. Easy peasy!
During a six-hour tour of Oslo, I used my handheld pump and the empty bags to relieve my full breasts. Later that night, I snapped that full bag of expressed milk into the bottle to buy us some time during a particularly lengthy dinner.
The bottles have a silicon nipple that need to be cleaned between uses, but my friends were quick to inform me that, because my son is eight months old and generally healthy, I didn’t have to be quite as diligent about sterilization as I had thought. The cleaning wipes I bought or some hot, soapy water was enough to clean the nipples between uses. (Note: This may vary based on your child’s age and health. Talk to your pediatrician or a lactation consultant to find out what’s right for you.)
Is it worth it?
Yes, you do get a great deal on the Kiinde starter set, but replacement bags are definitely pricier than the regular breast milk storage bags I had been using. Even still, I’m a convert—I use them every day, traveling or not.
I dread cleaning and refilling bottles for daycare every night, and I’ve come close to tears the few times I’ve spilled that liquid gold while transferring from bag to bottle. This kit has essentially eliminated both of those concerns. I use it every day, and I don’t know how I lived without for so long. As for the extra 21 cents per bag? It’s so worth it to me.