working mom in car preparing to pump and drive

How to Pump in the Car: 8 Easy Steps you Should Follow

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I never imagined having my boobs out while driving. Constantly wondering if the driver in the 18 wheeler was watching. After all, he was the only one sitting high enough to look inside. 

In the beginning I didn’t exactly know what I was doing. This was simply a means to an end.  I wasn’t trying to provide a peep show but may have inadvertently. Instead I was pumping in the car to and from work to make sure I had enough milk for my baby.

As a working mom, you may find yourself in the same position. Stressing day after day when pumping at work doesn’t seem to produce the amount of milk your baby is drinking. Trust me, I’ve been there. Every time the phone rung I was bracing myself waiting for the childcare provider to say they were out of breast milk. 

What do you do?

You take advantage of your commute time and start pumping in the car. But before you start, let’s make sure you know the ins and outs of pumping breast milk while driving.

Oh before I forget, check out this guide for tips and tricks on how to pump at work. It will save you a lot of time and frustration. Also make sure your childcare provider knows about pace feeding and the breastfed baby. Your supply may not be as bad as you think!

free checklist of pumping essentials for working moms

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Is pumping while driving legal?

This seems to be the first question on every pumping mom’s mind and it’s a very valid concern. 

I searched high and low. There aren’t any federal laws or state laws prohibiting pumping while driving. But you want to keep safety first and minimize distractions.

This means only using a hands free portable breast pump and wearing an actual pumping bra.

Don’t worry we will be discussing the exact steps involved in pumping safely while driving. 


What do you need for pumping in the car?


1. Portable breast pump

If you don’t have a portable breast pump you won’t be able to pump in the car. It’s as simple as that. 

I spent my pumping days using the insurance issued medela pump in style. It was more efficient in the car than the hospital grade medela pump I used at work. 

If you have a generous insurance provider, consider getting the Willow Pump. It’s a wearable breast pump and completely hands free. It’s just as effective in the car as it is in the office. As of right now it is the best hands free pump, but it is a tad bit pricey. 


2. Nursing cover

It didn’t take me long to learn that a nursing cover was a must have in the car.

In the beginning I relied on my scrub top to keep me covered. This was ok while I was driving but when it came time to disconnect, I was completely exposed. Using a nursing cover solves that problem.


3. Breast pump car adapter 

I used the medela breast pump car adapter and found it to be sufficient. I don’t recommend using it with a hospital grade pump though. The voltage doesn’t seem to be strong enough to support it. 

Luckily hospital grade pumps do have a backup battery that you can use in a pinch. It doesn’t last long but you should be able to make it through one pumping session.


4. Milk collection bottles

You will need these bottles to collect the milk without any manipulation from you. You won’t have to worry about milk spilling or having to make any adjustments while driving. 

Some people like to pump directly into pumping bags but that system isn’t the best if your pumping and driving. 


5. Shield and flanges

You can’t connect to your pump without a shield and you have to have your flanges too. There’s just no way around it. 

The good thing about pumping in the car is that you’ll know immediately if you forgot to pack your shield instead of being surprised during your pumping session at work. 


6. Pumping bra

A hands free pumping bra essentially becomes your hands. It keeps the shield attached to you so you don’t have to worry about holding it. 

You’ll need this to pump while driving and to make the most of your time pumping at work. 


7. Cooler and ice pack 

Depending on how long your commute time is, you may want to keep a small cooler and ice pack in the car as well. It will keep your milk fresh if you decide to run errands before going to work or before returning home. 


8. Pumping bag

You already have so much to keep up with, don’t add to your stress. Do yourself a favor and just get a designated pumping bag to hold all of your pumping essentials. 

Some moms even go as far as having a pumping bag for the car and one for inside the office. If you choose to do this it may be easier to also have a dedicated car breast pump so you’re not having to keep up with a pump. 


9. Ziplock bag

I use this to store the bottle tops while I drive. This way I don’t have to worry about the tops falling on the floor and getting dirty. 


How do you breast pump while driving?

  • Have all of your supplies in your pump bag and place it in your passenger seat.

  • Put on your nursing cover

  • Put on your pumping bra

  • Put your shields in place and attach the flanges

  • Attach the bottles to the flanges

  • Connect your pump tubing to the pump and the bottles

  • Plug the pump car adapter into the cigarette lighter and attach the other end to the pump 

  • Now it’s time to turn on the car and drive 

  • Don’t disconnect from your pump or detach any of your pumping supplies until your car is stopped and parked.

You can also pre prep for pumping before you get in the car.


How to prepare in advance for pumping in the car.

  • If you’re at home or in your office go ahead and put your pumping bra on under your shirt. 

  • Slip the shields inside the bra.

  • Connect the flanges and bottles to each other and place them in your pumping bag.

  • Connect the pump tubing to the pump and put this in your bag too.

  • Once you get in your car, put on your nursing cover. 

  • Attach the flanges to the shield and connect the pump tubing to the bottles.

  • Place the pumping car adapter in the cigarette lighter and turn on the pump.

  • Now you’re ready to hit the road!

Why you should consider pumping while driving 

Let’s face it balancing working and breastfeeding can be very overwhelming. Between finding the time to pump and making sure you’re actually making enough milk for your baby you can easily get stressed out. 

That’s the beauty of pumping while driving. You have to drive so why not use that time to also pump? Your time on the pump will pass quickly and you get another opportunity to get more milk for your baby. Even better, that’s one less thing you have to do when you get home. 

Try pumping and driving today!

If you’ve found the process of working and pumping to be too much for you, be sure to check out this back to work pumping class. It truly prepares and helps you trouble shoot any issues you may be facing.

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