Breastfeeding and Pumping on the Go

Sara Mauskopf October 25, 2019

Feeding your new baby is one of the first big things you learn on the job as a parent. With the proper knowledge and tools, you can do it anywhere.

It’s no secret that newborns eat a lot. The frequent need to feed is one of the top reasons new parents stay inside their homes during the first months of their children’s lives. But stepping outside is easier than you think and doesn’t require a zillion baby products. In fact, the only important thing you need to never forget is your child.

There are plenty of benefits to getting out in the world. Even just a walk around the block can help combat the baby blues and postpartum depression. Trips are helpful for your baby, too. Exposure to new sights and sounds helps their cognitive development and fresh air can have a calming effect on your baby.

Breastfeeding in Public

Most moms feel some apprehension the first time they breastfeed in public. They may think, What if the baby is fussy? What if someone is offended? Won’t everyone see my boobs?!

First of all, breastfeeding your baby is your right. It’s the law in most states. Some states are more accepting of breastfeeding than others, but the bottom line is that a mother is allowed to nurse her baby anywhere she is allowed to be.

It’s okay if people see your boobs; you’re feeding your baby. But there are also lots of ways to nurse discretely if that’s more comfortable for you.

  • Get creative with your closet.

    Clothing like sweatshirts or jackets provides your own personal privacy area. V-neck, low cut, and stretchy shirts make access easy. Lightweight, breathable blankets like muslin swaddles work well as makeshift nursing covers.

  • Check out clothes designed for nursing.

    Nursing tanks have straps that unbuckle allowing easy access to nurse your baby. Or look for a “naked” tank that covers up your stomach while you nurse without the built-in bra. Many parents swear by nursing scarves or simple nursing covers.

  • Practice makes perfect.

    Go to a quiet park and practice nursing in public. You will gain confidence that can help you in a less accommodating situation.

  • Look ma, no hands!

    Some women can nurse their baby right from a sling while being hands-free. Busty moms may struggle with this, so try it at home first.

Pumping on the Go

From mothers who are returning to work to those building a milk supply to those unable to breastfeed, many new parents become intimately familiar with the breast pump and all its associated parts. But this technology need not keep you homebound. You can pump from virtually anywhere.

If you’re exclusively pumping, the most important thing is to know your schedule so you don’t go too long between sessions.

  • Cut the cord.

    If you have a battery-operated or manual pump then you don’t even need to find an outlet. In fact, many plug-in pumps are also equipped with a battery pack so you can take them anywhere.

  • Pump in the car.

    If you travel by car, it can be a good, quiet place to pump before or after your outing. Pumping pros can even pump while driving with the help of a hands-free bra.

  • Express yourself.

    If you find yourself unable to pump, you may face painful engorgement or leakage. Practice hand expression ahead of time so in a pinch you can always get the milk out.

  • Go hands-free.

    If you pump on the regular, invest in a hands-free pumping bra. They fit all sizes and secure the pump flanges in place so you have your hands free to attend to your baby — or check your phone.

Transporting your pumped milk

As a general rule of thumb, freshly pumped milk lasts 4-8 hours at room temperature and 24 hours in a cooler with ice packs. If you’re traveling by plane, you can use a service like Milk Stork to have your pumped milk shipped back to you or you can carry it onboard.

Juggling Bottles

If you’re not breastfeeding or if you’re the non-lactating partner, you need to know how to deal with bottles. New parents often have kitchens cluttered with bottle-related paraphernalia like warmers, sterilizers, and drying racks, but preparing bottles on the go doesn’t require anything more than simple planning.

A note on water — if you’re formula-feeding, consult your pediatrician on the right water to use for mixing. In some cases you may need to carry bottled or sterilized water with you; in others plain tap water is fine.

  • Stock some ready-to-feed formula.

    Keep a stash of ready-made single-serve formula bottles around. They don’t need refrigeration and are great in a pinch; just screw on a disposable nipple and discard afterwards.

  • Shake your bottle.

    Some powdered formulas come in pre-portioned packs, or you can do it yourself with a formula dispenser. Just fill the bottle with water, dump in a portion of powder, shake and go.

  • Bring breastmilk along.

    If your baby drinks expressed milk, don’t stress too much about refrigeration. A bottle of breastmilk can last at room temperature 4-8 hours if it has never been frozen (in other words, it comes from the refrigerator or is freshly pumped)

  • Warm or cold?

    Milk that is room temperature, or even cold, is perfectly safe for your baby. If your baby will only drink warmed milk, you can buy a portable bottle warmer.


Sara Mauskopf

Sara Mauskopf

Sara Mauskopf is the co-founder and CEO of Winnie. She’s also the mom of two young daughters and another child on the way! Originally from Philadelphia, she now lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

💡 How to Find the Best Preschool, Child Care & More

Winnie makes it easy to find the right program for your child. Just enter your zip code to see nearby providers on a map, compare prices, view photos, see parent reviews & more.

Search Daycares & Preschools Near You

🎓 Resources for Teachers & Caregivers

Welcome to Winnie! Get started at our provider page to create your free account and claim the child care listing for your program.

Join Winnie

About Winnie

Winnie is a marketplace for child care backed by a trusted community of parents and providers. Parents use Winnie to discover high-quality daycare, child care, and preschool for their children. Winnie strives to provide accurate information on childcare providers and resources for parents.

featured Post

At Winnie, we know there is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of your children. As your children grow, the day may come when you need to find a trustworthy and reliable childcare provider. Whether it’s time to head back to work, get a haircut, or go out on a date with your partner, you want to know your children are in the best of hands.

All parents know that air travel with a little one can be daunting. Comfort and routine — two critical components of a young child’s emotional safety net—are tough to find in a bustling airport or within the confines of an aircraft. Holidays are the most popular time for families to travel, but holiday travel also brings increased crowds and delays.