Last summer, D realized we needed a little getaway. Deep down I thought so too, but I was more reluctant than D to leave Lil Bean for more than a day or two. I had many reasons, like, she’s still breastfeeding, she can’t go to sleep without me rocking her, and she’s not the greatest napper. But despite having those hesitations, D pushed us to go on a 5-day trip.
Since we already had Disney Premier passes for the year (we purchased them for our 9-day family vacation trip to Disney World in January 2018), it made sense to take advantage of them again. Oddly enough this trip to WDW, though similar to the ones prior to having a baby, felt totally different post-baby.
Because I had a pump in tow.
Because I was weirdly stared at while pumping on the plane.
Because each stroller, each cry, each child tantrum we came across was a reminder that parents deserve a little more grace, a smile, and maybe a nod of affirmation. We understood their struggles. More than ever.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Yay! You’re baby-free. Go have a great time!!!” And yes, we did have a great time. However, we also learned a great deal from this trip sans baby. Ready? Here we go!
Tips and Tricks for Breastfeeding Moms
You’re going to need to pump. That’s inevitable. If you don’t want your milk supply to diminish too bad, you got to stick to a schedule. How do you keep up with your schedule when you’re on the go AND at a park? Here’s how.
- Each park has a First Aid. Usually it’s by the Baby Center. At First Aid, you are allowed to check-in your electric pump. You fill out a form, a Disney Nurse will sign it, and your pump will be safely stored in their facility. This allows you to enjoy the park without having to lug your pump around. Perfect, right?
- Now, when it’s time to pump just head back to First Aid and check-out your pump, walk to the Baby Center, and ask the attendant where you can pump. Usually it’s a small room next to the nursing area. Sometimes, it’s just the nursing area. It really depends on the park. I will say that the best Baby Center is at Animal Kingdom, hands down. It’s the newest park, so it’s updated, spacious, and more thought-out.
- The downside to all this, First Aid will not store your milk. So you have two choices, pump and dump. Or, put it in a cooler that you’ve got with you. You can always leave the cooler in a locker and just drop the milk off. That way you don’t have to carry the cooler around. I chose to pump and dump.
- When you’re finished for the day, simply head back to First Aid to pick up your pump. If you’re returning to any of the parks, the Disney Nurse will let you keep your form so you can have it for the next First Aid drop-off.
What about pumping on a plane? Or in the car? Yes, sometimes we’re not exactly in the right spot to pump. But here’s what I think was most helpful for us.
- On the plane, I chose to use a Medela hand pump. Like this one. This was a for a couple of reasons. I wanted to travel light and didn’t want my electric pump to get in everyone’s way. Cords can create tricky messes. Another reason, my hand pump is super discreet whereas my electric pump is not.
- Where you sit on an airplane is also important. We travelled Southwest, so we were able to choose our seats. We picked the exit rows because they had the most leg room for D, but also the most room for me to pump. Just politely let your attendant know that you’re not sitting with a baby, but just pumping.
- For the car, I also chose to use my hand pump. However, that’s not to say there isn’t a way to use your electric pump in the car. There’s more room in your car than in an airplane so it’s totally doable to use your electric pump. If you’re worried about batteries dying on you, I suggest taking a look at converters for your car. We currently have this one in our family vehicle.
- Always bring a nursing cover with you. Or a wide scarf. This helps when you’re pumping on a plane or in the car.
Unlike our pre-baby trips, I did not have an itinerary for this trip (gasp!). Instead we went with the flow, tried new things, and revisited some of our favorites.
- Spice Road Table at Epcot World Showcase was blessing. We were caught in a nasty thunderstorm and ran to the nearest shelter. Which also happened to be this little Mediterranean restaurant. What was even more !!!amazing!!!, when the skies cleared, we had a perfect seat for Illuminations. SCORE!
- Avatar Flight of Passage is still as awesome as it was the first time we rode it in January 2018. Pro-tip: If you did not get a FastPass for this ride because they were no longer available, you can line up BEFORE the park even opens. That’s right. They start the queue for this ride outside the turnstiles. Once the park opens, they slowly move the queue towards the ride. It’s still a wait, but it’s not as bad as getting in line AFTER the park opens.
- Disney’s BoardWalk is a cute place to chill. We’ve never gone before and didn’t realize that it was available for anyone to visit. Simply head over to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. There’s limited self-parking, so if you’re staying at the resort try to use the resort transportation to get to and from.
- Trattoria al Forno Restaurant was a great last-minute find. It’s an Italian restaurant located at Disney’s BoardWalk. We normally book all of our dining in advance, however, we had a last minute emergency room visit that caused us to cancel our one dinner reservation for the trip. When D was feeling better, the next day we tried again by calling WDW dining line (407) 939-1947. They were able to snag us a last-minute reservation. If you’re curious about what’s available and perhaps didn’t make any reservations in advance, try to call in. Who knows? Maybe you’ll snag someone’s last-minute cancellation.
- Sometimes we like to eat outside of the parks. If you’re on a budget, it helps to eat outside because yes, park food is expensive. But also, we’ve been to Orlando a handful of times and like trying something new every now and then. Enter Island Fin Poke. Think sushi bowl. The customizations are limitless but what I really enjoyed about eating here, the guy who helped us out was super informative and patient with us. Going to a new poke spot is intimidating because you don’t know the rules or the names and you’re deciphering their long list of add-ons. But he was chill and let us take our time while also helping us decipher their long list of add-ons. Mega points for that!
- Dr. P. Phillips Hospital Emergency Room was not supposed to be a highlight. But it is. D needed an emergency endoscopy because he had a piece of meat stuck in his esophagus and wasn’t able to keep solids or fluids down for almost 20 hrs. It was scary, but the care we got at the ER was great. We were in and out of there in 4 hours. So if you need to go to the ER, I say check this place out. It’s super close to the parks. Hopefully you don’t need to go to the ER while on vacation though…
That’s all I’ve got for now. Let me know what your tricks and tips are! And, let us know if you’ve tried any of the ones we’ve listed here. We’d love to hear how it went!
‘Til the next time.