Prior to being a mom, I loved going on road trips. But doing a road trip with a newborn can be seriously not fun if you are unprepared.
There are so many things to worry about if you are going to breastfeed on a road trip for the first time!
From breastfeeding in a car to having to breastfeed in strange public places, there’s a lot to worry about.
Maybe you are traveling to a place where you won’t have access to a refrigerator or maybe you are traveling with a large number of people and lack the needed privacy.
Whatever be the case, you can easily prepare for your road trip by planning in advance and doing a little research.
In the last few months, I’ve done a number of interstate road trips with my breastfed son.
Ranging from quick four-hour trips to 2-week road trips in a campervan.
I want you to be prepared, so I’m going to share the top things that you should keep in mind when you are traveling with a breastfed baby.
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Essential Travel Resources for 2021 & 2022
These are my favorite companies that I use on my travels.
Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.
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For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.
Get reliable travel insurance through World Nomads.
Good to Know: This guide to breastfeeding on a road trip comes to us from Zoe Amy.
She is a passionate breastfeeding advocate is the founder of Breastfeeding Mama.
She lives with her family on their 42-foot sailboat. In her free time, you’ll find her stand-up paddleboarding or crafting.
Tips for Breastfeeding on a Long Car Ride or Road Trip
Here we go!
Bring a travel breast pump
If you have been expressing breast milk for your baby prior to your trip, you will need to continue your normal routine during your road trip.
This means you need to pack a travel breast pump!
Luckily, there are breast pumps that are perfect for traveling. The best breast pumps for travel are small and efficient, with either a built in rechargeable battery or a battery pack.
A manual pump is also great for a road trip because they take up very little space.
Don’t use a manual pump while driving though!
These pumps sit in your bra leaving your hands free, and won’t be in the way when you drive.
Get a car adapter for your breast pump
Most portable breast pumps will usually be fine to plug into your car’s lighter or USB outlet, but some will require an adapter.
If you’re on a shorter trip, you can probably just charge your batteries before you leave and bring your wall adapter.
However, if it is a long road trip and you need to breastfeed on a long car ride, then a car adapter will come in handy.
There are going to be times when your baby sleeps through feeding and you can use the electric pump with the car adapter to pump the milk and maintain the supply without waking your baby up.
Consider a minifridge
Comfort on a road trip is paramount, especially when traveling with kids. A mini-fridge is so good for a road trip. A minifridge is perfect for storing foods and drinks.
Plus you can use a minifridge to pump and store milk at a lower temperature until you need to use it.
This way, your breast milk won’t end up wasted or go bad if your baby is not able to finish it in a few hours.
According to the CDC, breast milk is good at room temperature for 6-8 hours.
But with a good quality travel minifridge, you can push this out to 24 hours. So, if you are going to be longer on the road, then a minifridge would be good for you.
Bring lots of snacks
You probably already have an idea of how hungry breastfeeding can make you.
It’s harder when there are no shops around to stock up.
There will be many road trip stops in remote areas where you won’t get a healthy snack.
Healthy snacks won’t only be good for your body but would offer nutrients to your baby when they breastfeed.
This is why it is important to pack healthy snacks for your road trip such as vegetables, fruits, protein bars, etc.
Make sure you have enough snacks packed for the entirety of your trip.
Wear clothes that are comfortable to feed in
It goes without saying that you need to be comfortable for a long road trip.
But with breastfeeding, this needs to go one step further and have easy access for feeding.
Do bring a couple of extra nursing tops with you in case your baby spits up or vomits!
When you are planning a road trip with a nursing baby, you also have to consider with whom and where you would be going.
If you feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, then carry a nursing top/cover or a shawl to give yourself the privacy that you desire.
Plan to stop often
Road trips can sometimes be a bit never-ending, and it’s tempting to just keep driving.
With a nursing baby, this obviously won’t work since nursing a baby while leaning over the baby’s car seat is extremely dangerous.
If you end up in an accident, it could really hurt you and your baby. So, plan enough stops on the trip to feed your baby.
This will be a good chance for you to stretch your legs as well.
Just follow a feeding schedule and manage the stops accordingly.
Research your journey
Taking a moment to plan your stops in advance so you can stop in the nicer places.
There are going to be restaurants, landmarks, or diners on the way apart from trees and stretches of nothingness.
Research a little beforehand to find the best rest stops and restaurants to make your feeding stops at.
You already know there are going to be frequent stops so a clean and nice place would be good. Use yelp or TripAdvisor to make a plan of breastfeeding-friendly places to stop for a quick break.
Know your rights about breastfeeding in public
Breastfeeding in public is legal in the United States of America but still difficult in some states.
This is why it is suggested that you look up the laws on breastfeeding in public for the states or countries where you will be traveling.
It is good to stay informed about your rights and be prepared for an unpleasant scenario before you leave as some people might give you a hard time when you are breastfeeding in public
Make your own breastfeeding space
When you are nursing on the road, it’s nice to create a safe breastfeeding space for yourself.
By putting a towel or swaddling wrap over the passenger side window, you can create your own little private space to breastfeed while you are parked.
This will help to keep prying eyes away and make you feel that bit more comfortable.
Drinking plenty of water is essential for any breastfeeding mom, especially when you are on the road.
Yes, we know that stopping for rest stops often is no fun but you will have to make these stops for your baby anyway.
So, make sure you keep drinking water throughout your trip to support your body to produce enough milk.
Staying hydrated on the road trip is extremely important for successful breastfeeding.
Bring spares of everything
Something about traveling always seems to mean that more stuff gets spilled.
Whether that is milk or food or clothes or diapers, it’s a good idea to pack more spares than you normally need and remember to bring extra clothes for yourself, too!
Sometimes traveling with a baby can be stressful.
As a parent, you can model patience for your little one.
Traveling can stress them out, and the change in routine, as well as new sights and sounds, can be overwhelming for babies.
Take all this into account and remember how much is new for your child.
Don’t rush the journey
It can be tempted to speed or skip rest stops to get to your destination faster but these are not a smart way to travel with a baby.
Speeding never helps anyone and will only lead to more stress and a greater risk of an accident.
Skipping rest stops will lead to tired and cranky parents and babies.
Try to stick to your plan so that everyone can arrive safely.
Are You Ready to Breastfeed on a Long Car Ride?
If you love going on road trips, then don’t worry too much. Just go!
All you need to do is pre-plan your road trip in advance for a smooth and happy ride.
Pack all the important baby equipment, make emergency escape strategies, and you are all set for an epic adventure with your newborn.
More Family Travel Resources
Don’t Forget about Travel Insurance!
Whenever I go on a trip, I always make sure to get travel insurance!
The company World Nomads is the travel insurance company I always look to first, and I happily recommend them!
I always make sure to get travel insurance whenever I’m going to be over one hundred miles from home, in large cities where tourists can be the target of pickpockets, and anytime I’ll be doing outdoor activities.
It makes my life easier knowing if something should happen, I’ll be able to take care of it!