Mom putting her baby in a car seat.

How to Take a Road Trip While Breastfeeding

While air travel is returning to normal, most new parents are still more comfortable when they have control over their travel plans and environmental exposures. Plus, the privacy of a car reduces unwanted stares from strangers if your baby gets a little fussy. This makes road tripping a favorable approach when visiting families, taking a vacation, or going home for the holidays. However, if you have a new baby who’s still breastfeeding, road tripping becomes a little tricky. You’ll need to plan for stops to nurse, breast pump to avoid engorgement, and create a plan of action in case of a meltdown. To help you navigate these new complications of traveling, here’s more information regarding how to take a road trip while breastfeeding. 


Research Your Destination

Before you even begin to pack, take some time to familiarize yourself with your destination and the route it takes to get there. This gives you the chance to look at stops along the way, plan for breaks, and find restaurants that serve healthy food to support your breastfeeding journey. While having a smartphone handy during the drive reduces the risk of getting lost in the middle of nowhere, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with things before setting off.


Pack Strategically

Next, meticulously plan, pack your bags, and get everything in order. In addition to anything you’ll need when you arrive at your destination, pack a breastfeeding friendly bag to carry with you in the car. Some things to include in your packing list are:

  • Portable Pumps
  • Cooler and Ice Packs
  • Car Accessories
  • Breast Pump Car Adaptors
  • Extra Bottles
  • Nursing Accessories
  • Diapers
  • Clean Water
  • Snacks
  • Breastfeeding Clothes
  • Order Your Insurance Covered Breast Pump

Tips for a Successful Road Trip While Nursing

Putting in some time and effort to prepare for your trip before your departure date will give you a strong peace of mind that you’re ready to go. Once you hit the road, consider some of the following tips for a successful road trip with a baby who’s still breastfeeding.


  1. Organize the Car

    Before pulling out of your driveway, make sure that you’re organized and everything is ready to go. Have plenty of diapers, clothes, wet wipes, and bottles on hand and easily accessible in case you need to access them during the drive. Consider using an organizer that drapes over the back of the driver’s seat to keep things within reach and in clear view. You should also consider having a few healthy, nourishing snacks at hand along with clean water, nursing accessories, extra bottles, and your portable pump.

    Pumping during your road trip is a great way to keep your milk production high and reduce the risk of engorgement while traveling. Even if your breast pump is fully charged when you leave, having a car adapter to charge it on the go is extremely helpful. There are plenty of options for car adapters depending on the make and model of your breast pump. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for more information.


  2. Dress for Comfort

    Embrace comfort during your road trip by dressing for success. Since you’re going to have to nurse during rest stops, make it easy on yourself and opt for loose nursing clothes that are made out of soft, baby-friendly materials. This will make feeding stops a breeze and keep you comfortable during your journey.


  3. Sit in the Backseat

    If you’re taking a solo road trip with your baby, you’ll be the one behind the wheel. However, if you’re going away with your partner or family, consider sitting in the backseat. While you should never take your newborn out of their car seat while driving, being next to them can make it easier if they get fussy, need to be bottle-fed, or if you want to alleviate general anxiety about long-distance driving. You’ll want to try and maintain your baby’s routine to avoid colic and other outbursts, which is much more manageable when you’re sitting next to them.


  4. Be Prepared for Anything

    Unfortunately, the list of things that can go wrong while traveling is endless. While you might not experience any of these things, always be as prepared as possible. Make sure that your car has a spare tire and a tire changing kit, pack a first aid kid, research mechanics shops on the way in case of car troubles, activate a AAA membership, and make a plan for what to do in case you encounter bad weather. Anticipating problems will help you avoid excess stress if they occur on the road. This is especially important as you’ll also likely be dealing with a fussy newborn. Try to keep a positive attitude regardless of what happens and enjoy your time with your family.


  5. Breastfeed Before Driving

    Before you hit the road, give yourself time to breastfeed your baby. This is just as important as using the bathroom before leaving. Making sure your baby’s stomach is full and your breasts are empty gives you added time between when you leave and your next rest stop. When you breastfeed immediately before taking off, you’ll get in about two to three hours of driving before you’ll need to stop.


  6. Stay Hydrated

    Drinking water will inevitably lead to more stops to use the bathroom, but it’s an important part of breastfeeding success while on the road. Your body needs to stay hydrated in order to complement a healthy breastfeeding experience. Stick to the same amount of water you drink on a normal day and embrace the chance to stretch your legs during your extra stops. 


  7. Coordinate Stops with Nursing

    By the time you take a road trip, your baby will likely have established a fairly predictable feeding schedule. Unless you’re only driving an hour or two away, you’re going to have to make some pitstops during your journey. While this can extend the amount of time it takes to get to your destination, it’s part of the process. To make the most out of these breaks, try to coordinate your stops with nursing times. This can help you breastfeed safely while traveling, as it’s not recommended to take your baby out of their car seat at any time while you’re on the road. Accidents can happen at unpredictable moments, so it's just not worth the risk. Instead, give yourself and your partner a break from the car and hit a rest stop whenever you need to nurse.


  8. Store Pumped Milk in a Cooler

    If you’re going to pump while you’re on the road, it’s absolutely essential that you have a cooler ready. This will allow you to properly store your milk and avoid potentially dangerous complications like bacteria growth. The life of pumped milk depends on its storage conditions, so always transfer expelled milk to a cooler as soon as you’ve secured it. While breast milk remains good at room temperature for about six to eight hours, a cooler will give you peace of mind and provide storage options in cases of delay. More guidelines on storing expelled breast milk can be found here. 


  9. Clean Strategically

    When you use your breast pump during your road trip, you’ll need a way to clean the parts and keep them sanitized. There are options for steam bags that can be used on the go, or you can stick with a portable pump that’s simple and easy to clean at rest stops. Make sure to avoid cross contamination if you bring more than one breast pump with you on your trip.


  10. Consider Driving at Night

While many people try to avoid driving at night for safety reasons, it might be helpful when traveling with a breastfeeding baby. Use their sleeping schedule as a determinant for when to set off, feed them before bed, and then buckle them into their car seat. Depending on the length of the journey, you may be able to make it from point A to point B while your baby peacefully sleeps the night away.

To help you enjoy a successful road trip while breastfeeding, Byram Healthcare offers a variety of breast pumps to supplement feedings on the go. To learn more about our insurance covered breast pumps, reach out to one of our representatives or get started on your order today and enjoy the perfect breast pump for your lifestyle.