Husband of the century John Legend constantly finds new ways to praise his wife Chrissy Teigen on social media—and even Father’s Day was no exception. Legend shared an adorable photo on Instagram of himself and Teigen in a car—they’re both dressed up and grinning, and she’s flashing a peace sign while pumping.
“I know it's Father's Day and all but my wife is pretty awesome,” he wrote. “She's taking me to dinner but still on mommy duty.”
In the comments, Teigen got some well deserved props: “Thanks for reinforcing the idea that breast feeding and pumping are NORMAL,” one wrote. “No days off for mommy duty,” another said.
And, although this is an impressive display of multitasking, Teigen is hardly the first mom to pump in transit. In fact, so many women do it that many breast pump manufacturers make pump power adapters for cars.
But if you want to start regularly pumping on the go, there are a few things you need to know.
Breastfeeding can be an around-the-clock commitment, so it's understandable that you'd need to occasionally pump in the car.
Milk production is a supply and demand system, so it’s recommended that you nurse your baby on-demand, meaning when your baby wants to feed, for at least the first three weeks, according to Medline.
Your milk comes in at certain times during the day based on when your baby nurses. So, you need to keep pumping around those specific times when your baby would normally feed even when you’re away from your baby, Diane L. Spatz, Ph.D., a professor of perinatal nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and nurse researcher at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, tells SELF.
But you also have to pump in between feeding times, both to keep your milk supply up and to avoid experiencing any discomfort or possible infection from engorgement. As your baby gets older, you’ll probably set up a pumping schedule, which involves figuring out the times that you’ll pump during the day when you’re not with your baby, Dr. Spatz explains.
That's why it's a good idea to have a manual pump with you just in case you unexpectedly need to pump on the move. But you can also plan around times you know you'll be in a car for a long time every day and plan your pumping schedule around that.
Pumping on the go regularly does take a little extra planning and organization.
There are a few basic things you’ll need to have on hand: Your pump (of course), a car power adapter, cooler, ice pack, hands-free pumping bra, sanitizing wipes, and milk bags or lids for your pump bottles.
If you know you’re going to be away from your baby for a while or you are frequently on the move, Dr. Spatz recommends getting a few sets of attachments for your pump so you don’t have to worry about cleaning them between pumpings. It’s a good idea to bring two big resealable plastic bags, too—one for your dirty equipment, and one for your clean stuff.
It’s also important to make sure the clothes you’re wearing are comfortable enough to pull your breasts out when you need to, international board-certified lactation consultant Joan Younger Meek, M.D., R.D., chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics section on breastfeeding and associate dean for graduate medical education at Florida State University College of Medicine, tells SELF. So anything with a high-neck or complicated zippers is probably going to cause extra hassle.
Once you have your gear and are (safely!) set up, you can just pump away in the car. Just be sure to clean your hands with sanitizer to help ward off germs beforehand, Dr. Spatz says. However, both Dr. Meek and Dr. Spatz stress that you should not pump if you're the one driving.
As long as you have your milk on ice and it stays cool, it should be fine for eight to 12 hours in a room temperature setting, Dr. Spatz says.
But milk can spoil pretty quickly, so don’t leave the milk sitting in the car, especially in the hot summer months. That's why Dr. Meek recommends taking your milk bag inside with you when the car isn’t running, especially if your car is sitting in the sun.
In the event that you forget your cooler bag, don’t skip pumping—you still need to get milk out of your breasts to prevent engorgement and keep you on your schedule, Leigh Anne O'Connor, board-certified lactation consultant and La Leche League leader, tells SELF. You can even keep the milk as long as it’s sitting at room temperature for only a short period of time (up to a few hours), she says. And, whenever you’re able to access a fridge at home or at work, be sure to store your milk there.
If you forget your gear and miss a pumping once, don’t panic: It’s highly unlikely that your milk supply will dwindle from one miss. But it's nice to know that pumping on the go is an option if you need it.