11 Helpful Pumping Hacks for Road Trips

plus, shop our favorite products to make the experience easy peasy

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road trip pumping hacks

If you’re planning a family road trip with kids, there’s a lot to think about including where to stay, what to pack, and how to keep your littles entertained during the long car ride. And, if you’re traveling with a baby, their age range comes with its own set of unique needs. For starters, how do you keep them sleeping soundly while on-the-go? And when it comes to feeding, what do you need to plan for and bring with to ensure breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, and/or pumping during your trip goes off without a hitch?

The good news is that while feeding away from home can sometimes pose a challenge, it’s far from impossible. If you’re thinking about road tripping and wondering how in the world to make it work with pumping, there’s good news: it’s totally do-able, especially with the helpful hacks and products we’re sharing below. 

Read on for 11 tips to make road-trip pumping a success—plus, shop our favorite products to make feeding your little while on a road trip easy peasy. 


1. Consider a hands-free pump

Buying an electric breast pump and all of the accessories needed is expensive, even if they’re covered by insurance or paid for by your FSA or HSA account. But, if your budget allows, purchasing an additional hands-free breast pump can be a great buy for the convenience they afford—especially when it comes to pumping while on a road trip. Shop two of our favorite hands-free pumps below and read more about their benefits here.


2. Wear Pumping-Friendly Clothes

This seems obvious, but it goes beyond having a hands-free pumping bra, which will be your best pumping friend on-the-road and at home. Your second-best friend for on-the-go pumping will be a chic nursing cover that doubles as a comfy sweater or knit shawl. Why? If you’re looking for a little privacy–at least, as much as you can get while pumping in a car–an oversized shawl is the perfect thing to pull around yourself to shield the view.


3. Pack a Mini Cooler—for Milk Only

Keep your milk, and only your milk, in an easily-reachable mini cooler. Having learned from experience, keeping it in the same cooler with other drinks and snacks for the kids is not a good idea. People are constantly opening that cooler and in the worst-case scenario, improperly closing it so that when you go to get your milk, it hasn’t been kept cold at all. Don’t let that happen to you.


4. Buy a Car Adapter

Another lesson learned the hard way: make sure your pump is fully charged, but also have an adapter on hand just in case. Even if you have a rechargeable pump that doesn’t have to be connected to a power source to work, plan on needing to recharge it. Even if it’s fully charged, and you don’t expect to need to charge it again… expect the unexpected. Trust me.


5. Bring Sanitizing Supplies and Gear

As a mom, you probably already have a solid stash of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes on hand, but if not, make sure to get some. For your pump parts, pack wipes or spray specifically designed for this purpose.


6. Time It Right

If you can, plan your trip so that you’ve just fed the baby before you get on the road. This will give you some time for everyone to get settled and (fingers crossed) the kids to maybe fall asleep while you pump in peace.


7. Bring Extras

Of what? Everything. Extra pump parts, extra bottles, extra storage bags, an extra nursing bra, an extra nursing cover. Just. Bring. Extra. Something will happen, and you will be glad to have a spare whatever-it-is. Another lesson I learned the hard way: the drive there might be perfectly smooth, but things (like hands-free pumping bras) can go missing during the trip itself, leaving you with a long road home.


8. Bring a Hand Pump

This is truly for worst-case scenarios only, but if the unimaginable happens, and your pump goes kaput, at least you’ll have a backup option. Thankfully, I’ve never had to resort to this, but the peace of mind I get just from having one on hand makes it beyond worth it.


9. Don’t Forget About Your Needs

Breastfeeding makes you both hungrier and thirstier because of all the extra calories required of your body to make milk. Pack your own stash of snacks and water to keep you hydrated–and hide it from all of your travel companions–including the kids.


10. Bring Two Bags to Separate Clean and Dirty Pump Parts

You’ll want to keep your clean parts separate from the used ones if you’re going to need to pump more than once on the drive. Have one bag with everything stored and one bag where you can keep what needs to be washed when you get to your destination separately. I like reusable Stasher bags for the dirty pump supplies.

Another option–if you have enough room in your cooler–is to store the flanges/valves/shields you just used in the cooler with the milk you’re storing. The idea is that as long as the milk that’s accumulated on those stays cool, it’s still sanitary to pump with them again.

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many colors available


11. Pump Directly Into Storage Bags

This will eliminate some of the clean up needed, but more importantly, it will help prevent you from spilling any of that liquid gold. Do some Googling beforehand to find out what kind of storage bags will fit directly onto your flanges so that you can simply pump, seal, and store in the cooler. Even if you plan to put that milk in a bottle to feed your little one (after you’ve safely stopped somewhere, of course), you don’t have to transfer milk from bag to bottle. Just put the bag directly into the bottle, fold the opening over the sides of the bottle, and tighten the lid as you normally would. Voila, now you don’t have an extra bottle to clean either.

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