Pumping While Driving for the Busy Breastfeeding Family
Returning to work is a common challenge for breastfeeding families. You have to learn to pump breastmilk, store breastmilk, navigate needed supplies, and deal with supply and demand issues. There are many great resources such as the La Leche League that provide information on pumping basics. Pumping while driving is a time-saving skill that anyone can learn.
I have been breastfeeding for nearly five years through three babies. Organizing a pumping routine is no joke, especially if you work a nontraditional job (doula here!). Our society doesn’t make it easy for families to meet the WHO breastfeeding goals of 6 months exclusive breastfeeding.
I wanted to share a pumping hack with you that will seriously change your pumping life! CAR PUMPING!
Why would you pump while driving?
Car pumping makes it easier to get more time in your day for pumping while you are away from your baby. It is especially helpful for those of us with longer commutes. I always drive about 30 minutes or more to clients, and it can be really hard to time pumping sessions into short postpartum doula shifts or during a birth.
Supplies for pumping while driving:
- An easy to use pumping bra (This site has a great intro to pumping bras!)
- Car adapter for an electric breast pump
- Double electric breast pump (I use a medela pump n style, it was the one covered by my insurance.)
- Storage bags
- Mini cooler bag
- Gallon ziplock bag
- Check out my local resources page for local stores that carry these supplies.
How to get started:
Set up your pumping supplies before you start driving. Put on your pumping bra, hook up your pumping parts, and plug in your adapter. Make sure everything is adjusted perfectly, because you will not be able to look down to adjust anything while driving. It is helpful to have a shall or loose sweater for privacy if it concerns you. I use a crocheted shall while driving.
Turn on your car and start your pump. Make sure everything is set up well before driving. Pull over when your pumping session is finished. Remove the milk bottles and put them in your cup holders (make sure the cupholders are clear). Pour the milk into storage bags and place in your cooler bag when you arrive at your destination. Take apart your pumping parts and put wet parts into the ziplock bag to be washed.
I saved time in my day by learning how to pump in the car. It’s a great way to fit in a pumping session while you are away from your baby. It has really helped me to maintain milk supply and continue to have an emergency stash for extra long births.
SAFETY is of the greatest importance. Do not take your eyes off the road to check your pumping parts. You have to simply set it up, turn it on, and drive drive drive. If you need to make any adjustments or if something doesn’t seem right, you HAVE to pull over and fix it. Please be safe and don’t let it distract your driving.
Anyone else ever pump in their car? What did you find to be helpful?