My First Long(ish) Trip Without Baby: Pumping + Working Out

Leaving your baby for the first time is HARD. The second time, you’re excited about sleeping but dreading the pumping game if still breastfeeding. You know how much of a pain it is when traveling.

I was presented with a really cool opportunity to work with a brand I love in Los Angeles this week. I had the option to bring Tommy along but chose to leave him at home for a variety of reasons, mainly, “Who wants to fly 6 hours with a baby that just learned how to crawl?” Luckily, Nick’s mom and sister were available come down to Boston to help out during the day while he was at work.

I scheduled my flights around Tommy’s sleeping schedule. I put him to bed Sunday night and headed to the airport afterwards. I also scheduled myself for a red eye back so I’d be home when he woke up Thursday morning.

My flight on JetBlue did not have any outlets to pump on the 6 hour flight! I was nervous but it ended up being OK even with an hour delay. I slept the whole way thanks to upgrading my seat to an Even More Space seat, which means I paid $20 bucks each hour I got to sleep. Worth it.

I got in around 1am, and after driving to the hotel and pumping before bed, I was finally asleep by 2:30am.

I did not workout in the morning as I was being picked up at 8am and wanted at least a combined 8 hours of sleep. It felt weird not doing something since the video was about how I balance my schedule when traveling.

I SnapChatted throughout the day so if you follow me @OfficialSFit, you know what my day was like!

Campbell and Tyson SMoothies

We shot all day at my brother’s house so I got to see my favorite little munchkins! We played in the backyard and made smoothies together. I pumped every 4 hours during the shoot and stored the milk in the fridge and brought it home in an insulated lunch box.

Mich Ultra COmmercial

I hung around after the shoot to spend more time with my brother, sister in law and the boys. I didn’t get home until 8:30pm and was dead. My Milk Stork box was in my room waiting when I arrived.


My plan was to pump and try to ship 2 days worth of milk back home overnight and travel with one day’s worth of milk on the plane home. I’m going to do a separate post about my Milk Stork experience.

Tuesday’s call time was 6:45am. So again, no workout beforehand. I had to get up an hour early to pump and shower. Shooting in LA Fitness Look

We shot outside first and then moved to shoot in my hotel room at the Hotel Erwin in Venice. Again, every 4 hours I was pumping and since we were only outside for a couple of hours, I comfortably pumped in my hotel room and was able to put the milk directly in the refrigerator.

Shooting in Hotel Room

We wrapped up around 4:30pm and I had energy from a late iced coffee so I went for a run! I love the beach boardwalks and ran 4 miles at a fast pace. I ran to grab dinner at Lemonade and then chilled out back at my hotel room waiting for The Hills special! I loved it and was worth staying up.

On Wednesday, I got my hair and makeup done in my hotel room but still with an 8am call time, I didn’t workout before hand. I had to pack for my flight home, and get my Milk Stork box prepped which took longer than I anticipated due to the NUK breast milk bags leaking!!!! I had other bags (from Target) that didn’t leak so transferred all 72 ounces of milk into new bags. I woke up at 6:30 and while I could have probably fit something in, I valued my sleep on this trip.

I checked out ClassPass to see if there was something near our shooting location since I’d have time after wrapping up but before my flight. I didn’t make any reservation however since none of the options looked exciting.

I packed up the Milk Stork box and had extra bags that couldn’t fit. I sadly left 12 oz behind in the hotel room.

Pumping on day 3 was a bit harder. We shot at a farmers market and then headed to a fitness studio.

Farmers Market Santa Monica

I pumped at 6:30am when I woke up and then around 10:30am when we got to the fitness studio. I put the bags into my insulated lunch box with ice in a ziploc bag. A production assistant dropped off my Milk Stork box at a nearby FedEx but it could have been picked up at the hotel.

We finished super early and I realized I might be able to avoid a red eye flight and fly stand by.

I hopped into an Uber and arrived at the airport at 2:30pm with an hour until departure time. If I didn’t get on, I’d have to wait 6 hours! I know I wanted to pump at 2:30 but with security and flying stand by, I didn’t want to risk anything and just wanted to get to the gate as fast as I could.

I only had 6 oz of breast milk going through TSA security. I dumped out my ice and just sent the one baggie through the XRay machine. I just told one of the agents that I had 6 oz of breast milk and she said I would be fine. I have TSA pre-check and walked right through. No testing milk or anything.

I ran to the gate which was really far away and luckily got a seat, middle of course, in between two older dudes in suits.

The American Airlines plane had outlets at each seat, too! Thank god!!!!!

I think they were both dads by their phones so when I pulled out my breast pump before take off they weren’t offended.

The flight attendants gave me more ice for my ziploc bag/lunch tote when I boarded. I tried to wait until after take off to pump but we sat on the plane for an hour! So, I pumped in the middle seat of coach between two guys.

Pumping on an Airplane

Happy breastfeeding awareness week, boys! I covered myself up and no one knew what was going on. It did suck that I didn’t have time to change and was wearing a sports bra and workout top. But I was fine. It worked. I pumped again an hour before landing so I wouldn’t have to at 2 am when I arrived back at home.

I brought back 21 oz of milk from my last day in LA, not bad. I’m hoping that my supply hasn’t gone down at all but I guess we will find out in the next few days.

By the time I got downstairs this morning, my box from Milk Stork had already arrived and the milk was still cold! I immediately put it into the freezer for my next work trip.

Pumping on the trip was not an enjoyable experience and I could have dumped my stash instead of paying the near $200 to send it home but at this point, it’s really hard to build a back up supply since milk production is so regulated by 6 months.

I wish I had pumped more in the beginning when I felt engorged. 

Pre baby, when I would travel, I loved trying different fitness classes and still do. I tried Studio Nantucket in Nantucket on my first work trip without Tommy and I was able to get in a 4 mile run along the beach this time around. But when it comes to sleep verses fitness, I’ll chose sleep every time when I’m away.

Oh, and Tommy slept through the night all three days I was away… I don’t know if I should be proud or offended.

Stay tuned for my Milk Stork review post!


My First Long(ish) Trip Without Baby: Pumping + Working Out

About The Author


  • Nina

    How did you pump on the plane without your neighbors noticing? I have such a hard time getting my pump bra + bottles attached to me without showing a lot of boob! I would have been so awkward -- major props to you!!

    • Sarah

      I did one at a time under my loose tank top. I just pulled my sports bra up. I also wore a drapey cardigan but really everything was under the tank.

  • Miriam

    Hey I’ve pumped with every kid(4). Some tips…I invested in both the car charger for the same pump you have AND the battery pack (takes 8 batteries but worth it if you don’t have access to an outlet). Also, I pump everywhere…the medela handsfree bra is a life saver and because of it I am able to pump while I drive and it’s super convenient. I almost always use my nursing cover over me when I’m pumping too…wether in an airport, car and it covers everything. Good luck with the pumping…it does take SOOO much work but you’ll be so happy you kept up.

  • Lauren

    I love these posts about the reality of having a baby. This was super helpful for me because I will be a working mom in less than 2 months and the idea of traveling with work and pumping is overwhelming. Not to mention having to pump every day at work in a super small office with no where to pump. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • heather

    I;m leaving my son (who will be 9 months) next month for 3 days and the guilt is eating me up. I’m irrationally scared about flying without him — afraid that I will crash and leave him. I never had these fears before he was born ugh. Did you get any of that before you left him or am I just completely nuts?

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.