10 Smart Tips for a Successful Road Trip While Breastfeeding
Planning a long road trip while breastfeeding? For many new parents, traveling by car is the preferred way to get around for taking a vacation or visiting family members. You have more flexibility over your schedule and more privacy if (when?) your little one becomes fussy. If your baby is still nursing, though, road-tripping requires a bit more planning. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the supplies you need and plan for stops to nurse or pump. Here are a few tips to guide you through these new travel challenges and how to prepare for a long road trip while breastfeeding.
Examine your Travel Route and Destination
Spend a little time researching your destination and your intended course. Note possible options for where you might stop to nurse or eat a healthy meal. Of course, having a GPS or smartphone available is convenient and minimizes the chances you’ll get lost, but it’s still possible to end up in an area with spotty satellite or cell coverage. Bring a physical map with you and educate yourself about the route before heading out.
The next step is to strategically and carefully pack your bags, including everything you’ll need once you’ve arrived at your final destination. Consider packing a separate bag just for nursing supplies that you can keep handy in the car. Here are a few items you may want to include:
- Portable pumps
- Cooler and ice packs
- Pump accessories and car adaptor
- Extra bottles
- Diapers and wipes
- Bottle of clean water
- High protein snacks
- Breastfeeding clothes
- Nursing cover
- Nursing pillow
- Hand sanitizer
For quick, efficient expression whenever you need it, this pump is ideal for breastfeeding moms who want to share feeding with a partner, get out for an appointment, or simply take a break. Medela Swing Breast Pump is an occasional use breast pump for lactating women to express and collect milk from their breasts to complement breastfeeding and is a single user product.
Tips for Taking a Road Trip While Breastfeeding
Taking the time to prepare for your trip well before your departure date can help reduce some of your anxiety about leaving. When you finally do get on the road, keep the following strategies in mind for an easier road trip with a nursing baby.
1. Dress comfortably.
Wear soft, loose clothing and a supportive nursing bra to make life a little easier on yourself during rest stops. This makes feeding more convenient and helps you stay more comfortable during the trip.
2. Drink plenty of water.
Yes, this will create the need for more bathroom stops, but it’s essential for a nursing parent. Your body needs fluid in order to produce plenty of milk for your baby. Continue consuming the same volume of water you would drink at home, and welcome the chance to get out and walk around a bit during those extra potty breaks.
3. Sit in the back with baby.
Obviously, this isn’t possible if you and your baby are the only two people on the trip. If you’re traveling with a partner or someone else, though, consider sitting in the backseat with your infant. Sitting near them allows you to better calm them if they’re fussy or more easily give them a bottle or pacifier. Try to follow your baby’s typical routine to help them stay calm, a task that’s far easier when you’re sitting right beside them.
Never remove your baby from their car seat while the car is in motion. Accidents can happen at any moment, and it’s not worth the risk. Always safely stop your vehicle before removing your baby from their car seat.
4. Organize your vehicle.
Get the car ready before you leave home. Make sure you’ve got plenty of wipes, diapers, clothes, and bottles in an easy-to-reach location. Have snacks and water for yourself and all necessary nursing supplies on hand as well. You may want to invest in an over-the-seat car organizer to keep things handy and visible during your drive.
Diono has taken all the best features of our famous Diono Stow n’ Go Car Organizer and added extra room for your everyday essentials. With an extra-large design and 10 multi-use utility pockets, you’ll never have to worry about leaving something behind!
5. Prepare for the unexpected.
Sometimes despite your best efforts, things can go sideways during a road trip. Pack a first aid kid, and make sure both your spare tire and tire changing kit are in good shape. Consider activating an AAA membership and any extra supplies you might need for bad weather (i.e., rain poncho, thermal blanket, kitty litter if driving in the snow). Thinking ahead before you leave will help you keep your cool in case problems arise on the road. This is essential when traveling with a newborn. No matter what happens, try to maintain a positive outlook and appreciate the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones.
6. Nurse before you get on the road.
Give yourself plenty of time for a full, uninterrupted nursing session before heading out the door. Taking time to completely empty your breasts and fill up your baby’s tummy means you may be able to get in almost two to three hours of driving before having to make your first pitstop.
7. Try to time stops with nursing breaks.
Unless your destination is less than a couple of hours away, you’re going to have to plan for rest stops along the way. Though it will add time to your journey, it’s just part of the deal when road-tripping with a nursing infant. Try to time those stops with your baby’s nursing schedule. This will allow you to safely remove your baby from the car seat in order to breastfeed.
8. Bring cleaning supplies.
If you plan to pump while on the road, you’ll need a method to clean and sanitize the parts. Steam bags and sanitizing sprays are a great travel option, as is using a portable pump that’s simple to clean at rest stops. It’s also a good idea to bring along some hand sanitizer in case you’re unable to thoroughly wash your hands.
The Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump and Accessory Sanitizer eliminates 99.9% of germs on hard, non-porous surfaces with its safe, no rinse, no wipe formula. Sanitize breast pumps, breast shields, breast milk bottles, nipples, and more in as little as 60 seconds. Containing no harsh chemicals, fumes, bleach, dyes, or alcohol, it is safe in nursery environments and perfect for quick and easy cleaning reassurance in unsanitary environments.
9. Bring a cooler to store pumped breast milk.
You’ll definitely need a cooler and ice packs to keep any pumped milk properly stored. Though freshly expressed or pumped milk can be left at room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours, a cooler will give you storage options in case you run into delays. Review the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for expressed breast milk handling and storage.
10. Drive around your baby’s sleep schedule.
Some caregivers find it easier to drive at night when hitting the road with a breastfeeding baby. Nurse them before bedtime, buckle them into the car seat, and head out. If your journey isn’t too far, you might be able to make it there while your little one blissfully snoozes.
If you’re planning a long road trip while breastfeeding, ANB Baby offers a variety of breast pumps to supplement feedings while traveling. Take a look to find the perfect breast pump for your lifestyle.
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