Complete Expert Guide for Pumping Breast when Driving

Can you Pump Breast Milk when Driving

Pumping breast milk offers working moms the option to continue their baby on breast milk. It is very doable and manageable even for moms working full-time jobs whether in the office or in the field.

If you are always on the move and your work involves a lot of driving, then you must be wondering if you can pump breast milk for your little one. The answer is yes ! Women pump from the car all the time. I have done for my second born for 5 months while i was working on field projects.

Even if challenging you can certainly express breast milk as you drive. Whether you are working on simply taking a road trip, pumping breast milk on the road is very doable. There is no law that prohibits you to express milk when on the move as long as you adhered to the safety guidelines.

For you to successfully pump breast milk on the road, you need to do to figure out the following;

  • What do i need to pump milk in the car
  • When to pump or best timing for expressing milk when driving
  • How to pump when driving without spilling the breast milk
  • How to power your breast pump in the car
  • The best pump for pumping when you are driving
  • The best clothe to wear for pumping milk on the road
  • How to cover yourself for privacy when you are pumping milk in the car
  • How to make pumping milk in the care safe for you and others on the road
  • How to safely store the milk in the car after pumping
  • How to clean the pump, milk bottles and other accessories after pumping
  • How to increase the amount of milk supply when pumping on the move

List of Necessities for Pumping Breast Milk in the Car

  • A breast pump- might be manual or powered
  • Breast accessories- bottles, flanges etc.- they may come with the breast pump or you may need to buy separately
  • Power source- to power the pump. This can be your car or an external sources such as battery pack. Battery packs are especially necessary if you are a long road trip.
  • Cold storage – for storing the milk such as a cooler pack
  • Cleaning items- it might included wipes, water, basin,
  • Others- a cover to throw over your body when pumping

The Best Time to Pump Breast Milk when Driving

  • Pumping when driving in less busy roads compared to busy roads is safer and easier. Luckily most of my work routes were out into the country side and less busy.
  • If you have established a pumping routine before this stick to it. If not, you need to establish the timelines you will be pumping. I was pumping my first session on the car at 9 a.m. , then at 12.30pm and lastly at 3.00pm. Kindly note i followed the same routine even on the days i was pumping in the office or at home.
  • Another best time for you to pump is when you feel milk filling up and needs a let down.

How to Pump In the Car without Spilling the Breast Milk

Pumping when you are driving may seem impossible to many especially on keeping the setup in place and avoid leaks or spilling milk in the car. Some tips for you include;

  • Set up your pump before you start driving. Avoid hooking up your pump set when you are already on the move as you may not put everything right in place.
  • If you need to resume pumping, first stop the car and safely hook the set up again.
  • When setting up the pump, attach the breast shields first before the rest of your pumping kit so that you secure them well in place
  • Use the correct size of flanges. Too small to or too large a size of the flanges will lead to a possibility of milk leaking or spilling into the car
  • Use a hand free pumping bra. It is made to securely hold the breast shields in place and withstand the weight of milk once expressed hence prevent any spillage
  • Get the milk collectors that are rounded & fit in your bra as they are more ideal for hands-free pumping. A nursing tank can also help keep the cups in place and avoid any leaks of spills of the milk as you pump
  • If you can avoid, avoid using your pump on bumpy rides. The set up may come off and lead to breast milk spilling in the car. Opt for smooth roads instead.
  • Be careful when disconnecting the breast pump setup after pumping to ensure there is not spillage. Make a stop and park your car first before disengaging the set-up.
  • Use hands free pump and bottles that only require you to hook or secure them to your breast. Avoid pumps that you have to hold the bottles in one hand while driving with the other hand. It is not safe for you and further is a risk for spilling milk.

Different Safe Ways to Power your Milk Pump in the Car

Most pumps come with an adapter that can be powered by your car. This is simple as you need to connect to your power through USB on the adapter. If your pump didnt come with one, you might to purchase one.

However if you are pumping when you are parked, you will need to keep your car engine running for this. It may take upwards of 30 minutes depending on how long your milk pumping sessions take. My sessions were 30 minutes on average and i pump while driving.

Alternatively you can use a rechargeable battery powered breast pump. You will not need to connect this to your car. As such you can switch off your car when you are pumping milk when parked. You will only need to charge it prior such as during the night so that you can use it during the day on your driving errands.

Best Breast Pumps for Driving

Some of the best breast pump brands include;

  • Medela
  • Spectra
  • HaaKaa
  • Elvie
  • Lansinoh

The Best Clothes to Wear for Pumping Milk when Driving

Convenience and comfort of your clothes when driving and pumping milk at the same time is important. Consider the following wear options

  • Use a hands- free bra . It comes with openings for the flanges so that you do not need to take off your bra
  • Avoid tight dresses or tops as they add to your discomfort
  • Opt for dress and tops with running buttons to wide area
  • You can stay topless if you wish. I only had my hands free bra when i pumping
  • For more privacy, you can throw over a simple cover or towel or burp cloth
  • If driving to work, you can wear a t-shirt and carry a top you can change into when you get to the office

Ensuring Privacy When Pumping Milk in the Car

Working moms on the move lack the privacy of an ideal pump room/lactation room office or home. Also there are concerns about people you meet on the road who stare at you.

If you need to feel more private when pumping milk on the road, you can try doing the following

  • If you can, dont carry passengers in your car if you intend to pump breast milk. I intentionally avoided this so that i could conveniently pump my milk in privacy when i needed to.
  • Pull up your car windows so that people cannot see your breasts from the side windows.
  • You do not have to cover the windows when you are pumping
  • However if you are worried about privacy and intruders, you can have the windows tinted.
  • Throw a cover over your breast to avoid stares from other drivers or passers by.
  • Find a private place you can park and pump your milk before proceeding on to your destination.
  • You can also chose to ignore these people. You will find that most people driving are focused on the road and not you.

Read: Practical Pumping Spots at the Workplace with Privacy

Safety When Pumping Milk as you Drive

  • Put your safety belt on- Even when pumping on the drive, you need to have your safety belt. The pump is not an exempting factor. For your safest, ensure you have always worn your safety belt.
  • Keep you eyes on the road. Do not get distracted by the pumping at all. For your safest and those of others on the road, you must always observe traffic rules and keep your eyes on the road. While the car is in motion, your hands are on the steering wheel and not the breast pump.
  • Do not attempt to set up, disconnect or alter your breast pump when you are still driving. If you need to change something about your pump, always make a stop first. Find a safe place when you can stop so that you can safely disconnect your pump and milk bottles and then store your milk.

The Correct Procedure on Pumping Breast Milk in the Car

For safety purposes you need to following the following steps when setting up your breast pump and starting off your journey.

  • The first step when you enter into the car is to hook and set up your pump on the breasts. Put in the place the bottles and connect them to the pump
  • Connect the pump to the power source but do not turn it on yet
  • The second step is to put on your car’s safety belt. It is very important for your safety.
  • The third step is turn on the pump to start expressing milk
  • The next step is turning on the car and start driving

The Correct Procedure on Disconnecting Breast Pump when Driving

  • Once you have pumped enough milk or you need to disconnect the breast pump for whatever reason, the first step is to first stop driving and park your car
  • After you have safely parked, switch off the car engine
  • Then switch off the breast pump power
  • Then disconnect the bottles and flanges
  • Disconnect the pump from its power source
  • Store the milk immediately in a cold place and resume your journey

How to Safely Store Milk in the Car after Pumping

Breast milk is sensitive and requires immediate consumption or cold storage after expression. For this reason it must be kept in a clean and cool storage for it to be safe for consumption by the baby. You need to store it in cold storage when you are still in the car before getting to your destination.

A mobile cold storage box comes in handy for this purpose. They are convenient and easy to move around with during the day. They are hence an ideal storage solution for working moms who drive a lot because of the varying day temperatures across varying locations. It keeps the milk at the right temperature until the milk can be moved to the main refrigerator at home at the end of the day.

Also you can set up an ice chest/ cooler bag with ice and it will stay cold all day in the car. An electric cooler with a car charger can also work as a cold storage option for the milk. I had a small one for my car that kept my milk cold.

Convenient Ways to Clean Milk Pump, & Bottles on the Car after Pumping

When pumping you are required to keep the pump, bottles all the tools and supplies clean after every use.  Given the number of time you will need to pump when driving, you will need a convenient yet safe options for keeping your pumping set up clean and sterile.

Some cleaning and sterile options you can explore include

1. Buy Multiple Pumps and Sets

With multiple sets, you can use each pump and set for each session of pumping. You will need multiple flanges and tubes as well. Eventually you can wash everything at the end of the day use the following day.

2. Wash on Location

If you have different stop over locations along your drive route, you can use this to your advantage. Identify a location that has clean running water that you can use to wash your pump set.

Some ideal locations are restaurants or filling stations as these usually have clean washrooms open to the public. I had several filing stations on my routes when i would stop to clean my pump parts.

3. Keep Pump Set in Cooler

If you have limited cleaning options, you can keep the pumping tools cold in the cooler to keep them sterile. It is not the best hygiene option but at least it will help you manage subsequent pumping throughout the day without risking spoiling the breast milk. 

4. Wash in the Car

You can arrange for your own cleaning in the car . You will need water and other necessary cleaning tools with you in the car such as basins, towels, soap, drying rack etc. It is not exactly a convenient option but it is manageable and practical for moms on the road a lot.

5. No-rinse Sterile Wipes

Sanitation wipes for breast pumps are a necessity in every working mom’s pump bag, especially if you are always on the move. You can use them to keep the pump sterile for multiple uses before an actual wash back at home.

6. Pump Directly into Storage Bottles

You can pump directly into storage bags instead of cups/bottles that will need transferring the milk to the storage bags. Some storage bags even have a cap to store which you pop a nipple into and feed the baby directly.

Pumping direct into storage is one the most popular pumping solutions/hack for working moms who drive/travel a lot . It is especially convenient for eliminating the need to clean the pumping tools.

Read: How to Keep Bottles and Pump Parts Clean without Water

How to Increase the Amount of Milk Produce When Pumping On The Move

Pumping on the road is not different than pumping breast milk in the office at home. The other tips of keeping your supply up still apply. The main point is to adhere to a pump routine to keep your milk supply coming.

If you are regularly on the road, you need a strict pumping timetable to ensure you do not reduce your milk supply. For the five months i was on the road. I adhered to the same pumping routine regularly and i never experienced my breast milk supply waning.

Read: How to Increase your Milk Volume/Pumping Output

Related Post

How to Overcome Pumping Challenges in the Office

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