Viva-ing Las Vegas With a Bump and a Pump
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
When it comes to baby and breastfeeding friendly locales, Las Vegas isn't the first place that comes to mind.
But sometimes it's unavoidable. And, listen, I do love Sin City.
Living in Los Angeles, it's a quick 45-minute flight from the Burbank airport. (Some people prefer to road trip it, but I am not one of them.) I've spent countless weekends viva-ing all over Las Vegas and when out of town friends plan to visit LV, I'm all over it!
So when my college friends planned a 30th birthday blowout at the Cosmopolitan last year, being 18 weeks pregnant wasn't going to slow me down. And when my job sends me to Vegas on assignment, I'm committed to getting the story and pumping while I'm there.
In the photo above, my boobs were nearly exploding. After a carefully timing my day around this interview with Christina Aguilera, she was running 30 minutes behind schedule... and then another 30... and then I had a flight to catch. (Thank GOD for Mamava - see tip No. 1, below.)
Whether your travels will take you to Sin City (or really any party-friendly locale), these are my top 5 tips for keeping your sanity.
1. Find the Lactation Pods at the Airport
First thing's first and last thing's last: There are Mamava Pod nursing suites in each terminal at McCarran Airport. They are clean and relatively spacious with outlets and mirrors and hand sanitizer. Download the Mamava app on your phone before you arrive for step-by-step directions to each pod, and a key to unlock it once you arrive.
This is a great app to have anywhere you travel, as it uses GPS to point you in the direction of private nursing/pumping spots all over.
2. Stay Smoke Free
...or at least smoke minimal.
There are several hotels on the strip that are entirely non-smoking, including The Signature at MGM Grand, Vdara and the Four Seasons. But if you're traveling with a group, you may have to venture outside those properties. Remember that Nevada passed the Clean Indoor Air Act in 2007, banning smoking from most public spaces. However, it's still common on the floors of many casinos.
If you're into poker or sports betting, keep an eye out for those smoke-free areas (the Bellagio has one) or just limit your time on the casino floor. In general, the newer hotels will have better ventilation and fresh amenities -- meaning no years-old smoke stench. Consider this the perfect excuse to splurge on staying at that beautiful, 'gram-worthy property! (I usually opt for the Cosmopolitan and eat all the secret pizza I can stomach.)
3. ASK! ASK! ASK!
If you don't have a room or private space readily available to you -- ask the hotel for what you need. In a place like Las Vegas, where pumping and pregnant women aren't frequent guests, hotels don't always know what they can provide to support those clients. In my experience, the hotel staff has been happy to help accommodate when they know how to help.
So ask the front desk for a private, quiet space that's not a bathroom. Ask them for access to a fridge, cooler or ice pack. And if the 20-something guy at check-in seems clueless, ask -- politely! -- to speak to a manager. If nothing else, you'll help them be better prepared for the next visiting mama.
I can't tell you how many times I've asked for bagged ice at various locales so that I can keep my pumped milk cold. As long as they're not overly busy, people are always happy to oblige.
4. Have a Mocktail order ready to go.
You may not be boozing, but that doesn't mean you have to stick with water. However, the bars get busy and you don't want to slow them down while you figure out what to order. Some quick and easy to mix options are a Virgin Mule, Virgin Paloma or a Faux-jito with club soda and agave.
5. Don't Bring Your Baby If You Don't Have To
While Las Vegas has really upped its kid-friendly attractions, there's not much there that would interest a baby. They're not welcome on casino floors, and the sun is so strong that going on walks around the strip or hanging by the pool can be tough. Not to mention, lugging a car seat in and out of cabs can be stressful.
I brought Everly to Vegas in April for the ACM Awards because it was mostly unavoidable. While the blackout shades were lovely, getting Everly to sleep in a travel crib in a small hotel room (even though we upgraded to a "suite" for extra space) while my husband sat quietly on the bed watching his iPad was a nightmare.
She did love walking around the hotel lobby in her carrier, watching all the slot machines light up, but wouldn't sit still long enough for a proper meal or any real activity. Vegas is mad boring for a baby. And I definitely got yelled at for trying to prop her up at a slot machine for an Instagram opp. Whoops!
Mom Needs Merlot
P.S. What are YOUR tried and true tips for traveling with your pump (or a bump)?