Disclaimer: Before pumping and driving, you should evaluate your ability to drive and pump without getting distracted, your range of motion with your pump, and any local laws and statutes. Safety is the most important thing. Do not pump and drive if you are not confident you can do it safely and legally.
Pumping and driving is one way to maximize your limited time as an exclusive pumper. Having the ability to do this comes in handy in a lot of situations – it can save you time when you commute to work, it can be a good way to get a pumping session in when running an errand with your baby, or if you need to go for a drive to get your baby to nap.
Can pumping and driving be done safely? That depends on you. If you hate pumping with a passion and find it distracting, pumping and driving is not a good idea. If your pump limits your range of motion, you should not pump and drive.
But, if you can hook yourself up with a hands-free bra, start the pump, and then forget you’re pumping and completely focus on driving, it can be done safely as long as you do any hooking/unhooking/adjustments to pump parts while you are pulled over and not moving.
(Again: Do NOT hook/unhook/check the bottles/adjust pump parts while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to do anything with your pump. Saving the 30 seconds it will take to do this is not worth the awkwardness of getting in an accident and having to explain to the cops what you were doing with your boobs. Or, you know, actually hurting someone.)
If you’ve decided to give it a try, the first step is to put your pump bag together.
What You Will Need for Pumping and Driving
- A nursing cover (here is the one I used, you can also use a big t-shirt or baby blanket to cover yourself),
- Your pump (this must be an electric pump rather than a manual pump for safety reasons),
- A hands-free bra (this is also essential for safety),
- A set of pump parts,
- Two bottles (with caps), and
- A gallon-sized ziploc bag.
If your pump doesn’t have a battery, you may also need a car adapter (like this one).
As you’re getting your stuff together, assemble the pump parts and screw in the bottles, though you can leave the breast shields off. Then put the pump parts, attached bottles, breast shields, and caps for the bottles in the ziploc bag in your pump bag.
Pumping and Driving Steps
Get Yourself Set Up
- Put the pump on the seat next to you, plug it in (if applicable) and, if you have cup holders, make sure they are empty. This is for two reasons – one, so that you can put the pumped-in bottles in them when you’re done, and two, so you don’t knock over any drink that happens to be in there with your pump tubing. I learned this the hard way with an unfortunately placed bottle of Diet Coke.
- Put your nursing cover on. Put your hands-free bra on under your shirt, and get yourself all hooked up to pump.
- Put your seat beat on, with the lap belt under the bottles and the front belt across your chest between the bottles.
- Start the pump and make sure it is set to the correct speed.
- Drive! IGNORE YOUR PUMP. Do not check the bottles, do not change the speed, pretend you are not pumping.
- (Try not to get pulled over.) (If you are feeling brave, go through a drive-thru and get a coffee.)
Stop and Unhook Yourself – But Not While Driving!
- When you are done pumping, turn off the pump. Be careful! This should only be done when you can pull over for a minute to turn it off.
- When you arrive at your destination, unhook yourself from the pump. Put the bottles in the cup holders as you detach them from the breast shields. Then put the caps on the bottles, and your used pump parts into the ziploc bag.
- You’re done!
Have you tried pumping and driving? How did it go?