Pumping enough breast milk for baby can be stressful. When I started back to work (Per Diem) I was unsure how often to pump, how much I needed to get at each session and how to get it done! I don’t always work a full day. Often, the time I need to pump is when I’m on a long drive home. I had to figure out how to pump and drive safely. In addition, my state has a distracted driving law. This means that anything distracting you from the road (like your cell phone or pump) can warrant a stop. How was I going to pump and make the 45 minute commute home?? How could I pump milk, drive safely and get baby what he needs??
I have experimented and developed a system that allows me to pump, stay within the law, not distract me from the road and get my pumping done! Even better, I’m not driving with my boobs out flashing everyone around me. How do I do it you ask? Here are the items I trust and use and a bit about how I get it done.
For a long time I did this secretly. I didn’t want to let others know that I pumped in the car and never mentioned it. However, when I went out an a limb and mentioned this practice to other Moms I discovered that lots of Moms pump and drive. So, let’s not keep it a secret any more! Let’s talk about this and make sure that if you’re pumping on the road, you have the equipment you need and can pump and drive safely. Baby needs your milk and you to make it home safely. Here are some affiliate links so you can see exactly what I use:
- A Car Adapter for my Breastpump – plugs right into the lighter!
- A Stretchy tank top or nursing Tank from Target – This gets pulled down (pink here).
- Simple wishes Hands-free Bra – Put on before getting into the car and under both shirts.
- Loose over-shirt (black here) to lift up and expose pumping bra. (Not a nursing shirt)
- Pumping bags (easier to pull shirt over) or bottles of needed.
- I like the Kiinde bags for driving, just make sure you have the right adapter for your pump. I really like the Ameda Pour and Store too but keep in mind that these hang from hooks and you need to be careful when taking the pump shields out.
- Seasonal Coat – the coat is extra and hides side-view of the pump setup. It’s not necessary but can be helpful if you’re worried about distracting others.
- Optional nursing cover – A nursing cover is a great way to cover your pump kit if you’re not wearing a coat, or you want something else over your front. I occasionally use one, but if you want to be extra covered you can keep one right in with your pump.
This is my routine, you’ll have to come up with your own safe routine, check your state driving laws and practice before hitting the road…but this is what works for me. First, I put on the pumping bra before I get in the car. I have had to put it on in the car (under my overshirt) but it’s much easier to do inside instead of in a busy parking lot!
When putting on my pumping bra, I also setup my pumping bags (if they’re not already set up) by attaching them to the breast shields and plug the car adapter into the pump. I then put the setup back into my breast pump bag so it’s really easy to pull out in the parking lot. When I get into the car, I pull down my tank first, and lift my over-shirt. This exposes my pumping bra enough to get the breast shields in. After both breast shields are setup, I turn on the pump and check nipple alignment. This is not safe to fix when moving so making sure it’s setup right is key to not crashing while pumping!
Once I can see that the pump is setup well, milk is coming out and alignment is good: I buckle my seatbelt. I’m careful to make sure I don’t pinch the tubing and start driving. Now, I’m pumping and listening to all the songs I can’t play when the kids are in the car with me! What about other drivers? I haven’t had any odd looks. I think I’m well concealed and driving safely. However, if I have to go through the drive-through or am concerned about others seeing me…I pull the over shirt down gently over the setup. Then, it looks like I’m wearing a Madonna Bra, and not some device others might not recognize.
When I’m done, I shut the pump off easily by pulling the adapter out of the outlet, or turning the knob if it’s safe to do so. Sometimes I stop in a parking lot to take the system off and place it in my breast pump bag. Other times, I wait until I get home to take the shields out and pack my milk right into the pump bag. Or, if I’m in a hurry to get to baby, I unhook the tubing from the pump and go inside wearing the shields/pump bags. I go inside and take the milk off and put it right into the freezer!
Well that’s it! This is my third baby and I wish I would have figured this out sooner. I hope you can develop a system that works for you, meets your state laws, is safe and gets that extra pump session in to keep your supply up and baby well fed. Please check with your lactation consultant or breastfeeding group for tips and suggestions, please do not do anything unsafe! Remember, if you crash pumping and driving then baby won’t get any breastmilk…so be cautious, don’t do anything you feel uncomfortable doing and be smart about your routine.
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Disclosure; This post contains affiliate links and if you use them to shop I get a small percentage of the sale. This is in no way a recommendation or instruction for you, you are an individual and should consult with someone professional like an Occupational Therapist to meet your individual needs.