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Ages & Stages

How to Nurse on an Airplane

Nursing an infant on an airplane presents its own unique set of challenges. Especially if your baby’s car seat is in the window seat, you are in the middle seat, and a complete stranger is on the aisle encroaching on your shared armrest (which, as you know, is not just hypothetical), breastfeeding comfortably may seem like an oxymoron. Here are a few suggestions that can really help.


If the flight is short or you find yourself uncomfortably close to your seatmate, nursing on just one side while saving the other for when you get off the plane may be an acceptable option.

At an Angle

Close quarters can greatly limit a breastfeeding mother’s chance of privacy. Simply angling your body so that you’re facing the window before trying to breastfeed can help minimize your degree of exposure.

Covering Up

For the sake of modesty or convenience, bear in mind how much you want to bare, and wear a shirt you are particularly comfortable breastfeeding in, such as a loose-fitting top layer, a button-down blouse, or custom-designed breastfeeding attire.


Use your jacket, a blanket, a magazine, or even your baby carrier or sling as a practical way of preventing your fellow passengers from having a bird’s-eye view.


Nursing in the lavatory may seem like a reasonable last resort, but it generally poses a huge inconvenience for fellow passengers and isn’t exactly hygienic. In other words, we don’t recommend it.

Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Last Updated
Food Fights, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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