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Thread: Traveling/Driving Long Distance and Breastfeeding

  1. #1

    Default Traveling/Driving Long Distance and Breastfeeding

    I am a new mommy and my LO is 4 months old. I BF on demand ever 1-2 to 2 1/2 hours and pump 1 to 2 times at night since my LO has been sleeping up 9 hours. I am driving to visit family this holiday season and the trip is going to take me about 6-7 hours (with normal stops ). I wanted to know how often I should stop to feed, should I try to switch breasts while feeding because if I go to long between feedings my breasts get sore and hard. She usually sleeps in the car. I am traveling alone so I am a bit nervous and worried it will take forever. . I am lucky enough to nurse in the comfort of my home and still working on nursing in the car and public. I have not introduced a bottle yet but I do have a Medela double pump on the go system /I have been using to collect extra milk. I Also have a single manual pump. I would appreciate any tips on how to drive long distance while nursing. Thank you so much!!
    P.S. Any ideas for smaller pillows then my boppy to use in car?.. we get a little uncomfortable trying to feed in passenger seat.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Default Re: Traveling/Driving Long Distance and Breastfeeding

    Are you planning to drive overnight during your baby's usual long sleep stretch, or during daytime hours? I think if you are traveling at night, and you expect baby to be sleeping, I would simply stop to pump based on my own comfort levels. If traveling during the day, I would just aim for as much of a "demand" feeding situation as you can, and just stop when either baby is cueing to be fed or stop if you yourself feel uncomfortable and need to nurse! If your infant takes both breasts in a feeding at home, I'd offer the same on the trip.

    I would definitely plan for your trip to take longer than you expect it to, no matter what. You just never know what will happen with respect to stops/sleeping/feeding/etc with a baby, and in my experience, it was always worthwhile to assume that the driving would take almost double the time I was expecting it to. That way, it was a pleasant surprise if I came in "ahead of schedule"!
    Apologies for the short responses! I'm usually responding one-handed on my smartphone!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Lillington, NC

    Default Re: Traveling/Driving Long Distance and Breastfeeding

    Hey! Since you're traveling alone, you'll just need to stop every 2-4hrs to feed her if she's hungry. You could pump while driving (I do that every work day to and from work), if she's been sleeping a while, but I think I'd just go ahead and stop, then wake her up and feed her if your boobs are getting full. No big deal! You'll have to stop a lot, but that's ok.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Louisville, Kentucky

    Default Re: Traveling/Driving Long Distance and Breastfeeding

    I have done a fair amount of road trips with my little one, now 8.5 months old. She also is not the hugest fan of being in the car, so that is an extra piece I've tried to manage when driving. The longest solo-adult drive would have been about 5 hours normally, and the longest with-other-adult trip would have been about 9 hours total.

    Here are my thoughts and what's worked for us:

    If you don't have one already, I would rec getting one of those little car mirrors that attach in the back, and allow you to see your little one in the rear facing car seat in the rearview mirror. They are inexpensive, and help tremendously to catch clues, etc.

    To echo above posters-- yes-- be prepared for this to take a lot longer than it would otherwise. I'd encourage you to be prepared to just make a whole day of it, or, at least not be bummed if it does take that long. If you have the inclination, maybe look up some towns you might be interested in checking out on the way. I have found that public libraries are one pleasant place to stop, and often have changing tables, and plenty of floor space if your little one also wants to stretch her legs.

    I have taken to starting my trips pretty early (4am), so that I can get a good amount of travel in while it's still dark, and she just sleeps because she would be asleep anyway. So I can often get almost 3 hours in before needing to stop, and nurse. Nursing right before the I titian departure I guess just goes without saying.

    And then, with the mirror, I just stop on cue after that.

    We haven't NOT had some difficult patches though. Like I said, my little one doesn't like being in the car, especially not without someone in the back. So there have been times when we've stopped, I've offered to nurse, or nursed, but she is just really not psyched about being back in the seat. And sometimes I'll stop again, but if that doesn't solve the issue, I have to weigh whether just continuing on will prevent more TOTAL crying (because the longer we stop-and-start, the longer the total journey is, you know?). These conundrums are easier to prevent, though, if you leave early, and have the whole day to make your leisurely way.

    Best of luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Traveling/Driving Long Distance and Breastfeeding

    Suggestions: Expect to stop often and think ahead about where you feel comfortable stopping for nursing/diaper changes/ comforting. In other words, take advantage of any safe, lighted, populated places to stop.

    For front seat nursing- what about reclining the seat a little and trying some laid back nursing? May eliminate the need for a pillow entirely. http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/ and

    Any pillow should work, a couch throw pillow might give you the size and firmness you need. Someone used to make a small travel nursing pillow- I had one years ago so you could look for that it was kind of bean bag texture and shaped like a kidney bean. If you know anyone who sews it would be easy to make as well. This looks like something similar maybe: http://www.diapers.com/p/boppy-cuddl...&utm_term=mini boppy pillow

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Traveling/Driving Long Distance and Breastfeeding

    I always found the backseat more comfortable for breastfeeding. The armrest was the right height for support on one side and the car seat worked on the other. In a different car I used the diaper bag as a nursing pillow. I would also use my leg as support by bending at the knee and resting my ankle on my opposite knee. Small logistical changes can make all the difference. I played around with things to see what worked best.

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