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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Pilgrimage while Breastfeeding

Assalamualaikum Mummies :-)

Love to share my personal experience with you with regards to performing Umrah while breastfeeding..

Alhamdulillah, I got the chance to perform Umrah while in the nursing period :-) This happened last year.

I suppose that Mummies can relate to this post to travelling to other places while Breastfeeding as well.

I had a short Umrah trip (4 days, 3 nights). Mashallah, such a beautiful experience, don't know how to describe it in words. Even thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

Hubby & me brought our 4 year old daughter (at that time), and left our 5 month old baby with our mothers at home. So, being seperated from baby, I had to plan properly how to manage time to pump breastmilk and manage the storage (keeping in mind the long hours of flight and transits). Alhamdulillah, my efforts were eased!

 From KLIA to Jeddah to Medina:

Home to KLIA about 1 hour. Waited in KLIA for about 2 hours. Flight KLIA to Jeddah about 7 hours. 
Waiting for transit plane from Jeddah to Medina about 1 hour. Flight Jeddah to Medina about 1 hour.
Medina Airport to Hotel in Medina: 1 hour.

So that is about 13 hours of journey to consider about.

Night before journey: Made sure ICE PACKS was in freezer. Just before leaving home, made sure ICE PACKS was taken out from freezer and kept in COOLER BAG.

Before leaving the house: Pumped, washed and dried the parts and packed it up.
I kept my breastpump, poncho, cooler bag and ice pack with me in HAND LUGGAGE the whole time.

While waiting for the flight: I pumped in a corner which was a bit discrete (covered with a nursing poncho).
After pumping, kept the breastmilk in cooler bag and went on board.

On Board: I pumped about 5 hours later. I asked to borrow their chiller to keep my milk and ice pack as it has already been 8 hours since I left home and I am worried that the temperature might have dropped a bit and I want the chill to last for at least another 5 hours.. Unfortunately, the stewardess did not allow that. I convinced her, telling her the importance of the breastmilk etc etc and finally she agreed to provide me with some leftover ICE which she wrapped in a plastic and I stuffed it into my cooler bag to ensure the coolness remains for another 5 hours. I prayed Allah ease my efforts..

So we arrived in Jeddah airport, transit, board the next plane and finally arrived in Medina. My next pumping session was in Medina hotel. Being worried about the freshness of my breastmilk, as I took it out of the cooler bag to put in the chiller, I noticed the bottle of milk was so cold (almost frozen-like) but not frozen! Mashallah..how Allah eased my efforts!!! Logically, it couldn't have happened after such long hour journey..

So happy, took it as a positive sign from Him..

So the days went by and whatever milk I pumped in Medina, was kept in the hotel room chiller.

On my day of transit from MEDINA to MECCA..(which was by bus which takes about 6 to 7 hours)
Packed my EBM into cooler bag along with ice packs just before leaving. I asked the hotel for Dried Ice so that I can put in my cooler bag ensure extra coolness. Alhamdulillah, journey was smooth and as soon as we arrived in the hotel in MECCA, placed our luggages in the room and EBM + Ice Pack in chiller..We went to perform our UMRAH.

Subhanallah..Even thinking about the experiences can bring a chill of sensation and tears to my eyes..
What an honour to be invited there..

Since my hotel was just a few steps away from the mosque, I had my pumping sessions in the hotel only and kept EBM in hotel room chiller. But for mummies staying a bit far from the mosque, you can bring your breastpump and cooler bag into the mosque and pump milk and store it in cooler bag while prostration. I saw some mothers doing it as well.

So days passed and it was time to go home.
As usual, kept my breastpump with me along with my cooler bag in HAND LUGGAGE so that I can pump and store milk in between the long hours.
 I brought a larger cooler bag and extra ice packs as well to keep the EBM that was collected over the 4 days. Night before check out, kept the ICE PACKS in hotel kitchen FREEZER to ensure it can keep cool for a long journey. Before check out, took the ice packs from kitchen freezer, kept in with the 4 days EBM that was collected in the Larger Cooler Bag and place in in LUGGAGE (which was going in the cargo).

Why I did this?
This is because most airlines do not allow you to hand-carry liquds for more that a certain amount of `ml'. You have to obtain a certain form to declare the liquids before you can hand-carry it. So to save the fuss, I just packed in along with my baggage. (Which was better I think, I heard that airplane cargo has cold temperature!)

Reached home with the EBM intact, safe and sound :-)
So happy to feed baby with it, pumped in Tanah Suci! :-)
I hope she gets the Barakah of it!!!


1. Breastpump & Accessories
    -you might want to buy extra spare parts just in case you haven't washed your breastshields and it is already time for next pumping session. 
    -you might want to use a breastpump which has double pumping (saves time) and battery usage (just in case there are no universal plug points in the hotel you are staying and you might need to pump in flight or in the gate lounge while waiting for flight)
2. Small Cooler Bag (for hand carry)
3. Ice Packs (for hand carry)
4. Large Cooler Bag (to keep EBM when travelling back)
5. MORE Ice Packs (to keep EBM when travelling back)
6. Nursing Poncho (or shawl) for coverage
7. Ensure enough EBM stock for the duration that you are not around :-)
    It took me a week to prepare the stock for while I am gone.
8. Educate caregiver on how to feed baby EBM

So the above is how to manage EBM if you are travelling for less that 5 days.
What about travelling for more than 5 days?

Let's say you are going somewhere for 10 days. Than you can store your EBM in hotel kitchen FREEZER to ensure freshness. Bring along more ICE PACKS and keep the ICE PACKS in hotel kitchen FREEZER before day of check out so that they can retain coolness longer (since frozen milk cannot be re-freezed if it melts). Make sure you have a large cooler bag (luggage kind) to ensure freshness. Pack the Frozen EBM and Ice Packs alternating each other or in other words, the ice packs have to be surrounding the EBM @ Ice packs harus berselang seli dengan EBM atau Meliputi@mengelilingi EBM to ensure enough cool temperature.  :-)

 Hope this was helpful!



  1. Alhamdulillah your experience sounds wonderful! I pump my breast milk as well mainly to maintain supply and also, my baby is not able to latch on so she mostly takes milk from the bottle. I will be moving to another country in a month and a half and will have a lot of breast milk frozen. I am really stressed out about how I will take it with me. It is a 6 hour flight and door-to-door travel time will be about 12 hours. Should I keep the frozen breast milk in a cool box with ice pack? Will that keep it frozen? Also, did you have any trouble taking the milk at the Kuala Lumpur airport?

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