Do you drive a lot for work? Are you often stuck running errands during the day and don’t have time to get back home to pump? Is your car the only private place available to pump at work? If so, you might want to consider breast pumping in the car.
If you’ve never tried pumping while driving, you may be thinking, “Can you do that?” And the short answer is yes, you can. There is no law explicitly prohibiting pumping while driving, although there are laws that say that you can’t drive while you’re distracted, so as long as you feel you can do it safely, feel free to give it a try.
However, whether you’re planning to pump while you’re driving down the highway, or you feel more comfortable pulling over in a parking lot while you pump, there are several things to consider before you attempt to take your pumping routine on the road.
Pumping While Driving
Considering trying to pump while driving? Here are eight rules to follow to make it safe:
- Only Use an Electric Breast Pump
Pumping while driving will not work with a manual pump, since you’ll need your hands free to drive. Only attempt this if you have an electric breast pump.
- Put Your Hands-Free Pumping Bra On Before You Start Driving
Although it’s always easiest to pump when you are wearing a hands-free pumping bra (let’s face it, it’s tiring to hold those bottles for 20 minutes), it’s absolutely essential if you’re going to be pumping while driving because you need to keep your hands on the wheel. And trying to put the hands-free pumping bra ON while you’re driving will be pretty cumbersome. That’s why it’s best to put it on ahead of time under a shirt that buttons up the front or under a zip-up hoodie, so you can just unzip it when you’re ready to go.
- Place the Pump on the Passenger’s Seat
You’ll need the pump to be close enough that the tubes will reach you, but it’s best not to have the pump sitting on your lap or on top of where the cup holders are. There is too much chance that it will bump the bottles and cause them to spill. That’s why it’s best to place the pump on the seat next to you.
- Put Your Seat Belt On Before You Hook Up Your Pump
Here’s what not to do. Don’t start pumping while you’re sitting in a parking space and then decide to start driving. If you try to put your seatbelt on once you’re already hooked up to the pump, you may cause your tubes to get tangled or pop out. Instead, make sure your seat belt is on BEFORE you hook yourself up to the bottles.
- Don’t Adjust Your Pump While Driving
Other than turning the pump off after you’re finished, try not to fiddle with the pump at all while you’re driving so you can remain focused on the road. So, if possible, start pumping and then start the car. Also, if you can, wait until you’re finished driving to remove the bottles, screw the tops on and remove the flanges from your pumping bra.
- Keep Your Cup Holders Empty
When you’re finished pumping, you’ll need a place to put the bottles down without spilling them, so make sure your cup holders aren’t filled with coffee cups, Coke bottles or other things before you start pumping. Also, removing anything from your cup holders ensures you won’t knock over your drinks by accident with your tubes.
- Get a Car Adapter
While you can use your pump on its battery setting while you’re driving, you’ll get stronger suction and better results if you have your pump plugged directly into your car’s electric outlet. Be sure to buy the car adapter that is specifically designed for your pump, because all pumps have slightly different electrical requirements.
- Bring a Cooler
Bringing a cooler with ice packs along is a must if you’re going to pumping on the go. Keep the milk as chilled as possible until it can be transferred to the refrigerator.
Pumping While Parked
When you’re pumping in a parking lot, a lot of the same advice goes as what we’ve suggested for pumping while driving. But here are three extra tips to keep in mind.
- Use a Breast Pump With Battery Power
Unless you want to have your car running while it’s parked for 20 minutes, it’s best to use a breast pump that can run on battery power, rather than one that you plug into your car’s electrical outlet.
- Wear a Nursing Cover
If you’re going to be pumping while driving, you may not need to bother with putting on a nursing cover, since most people won’t even notice in moving traffic. But if you’re planning on sitting in a parking lot while you pump, then wearing a nursing cover is probably best. Although breastfeeding in public is protected by law in most states, breast pumping may not be, so using a cover will prevent you from getting a ticket for indecent exposure.
- Bring Your Lunch
If you’re pumping in the car because you don’t have a good place to pump at work, try to hit two birds with one stone by eating your lunch in your car while you pump. It’s a great way to maximize your lunch break.