How to Store, Pack and Fly with Breastmilk

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Different countries have varying regulations when it comes to how much breast milk you can bring with you when you travel on an airplane. For moms who have yet to travel, here are some guidelines on regulations regarding packing, storing and going through security.

Bringing Breastmilk in Your Checked Luggage

Exercise common sense when packing your carry-on bag and only bring the amount of breast milk and formula that you will need for the duration of your flight and the time you’ll spend waiting at the airport. It’s understandable to take a little extra because it’s always wise to plan for a delay.

For example, you probably do not need a week’s worth of breast milk for a day at the airport. So, any additional breast milk or formula should be packed in your checked baggage.

Checking-In Breastmilk

If you are bring breastmilk back home, chances are you will have a large stash to carry. To ensure breastmilk does not spoil you would need to transport and make sure they stay frozen. How to do this?

You will need a cooler bag, ice packs and newspaper (for insulation). Look at the video below to see how this mom packed her breastmilk as a reference (although I would create extra insulation by using newspaper to wrap each bag of milk)
Dry ice is also an option, however FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has some rules in place for it, such as each passenger not carrying over 5 pounds of ice and, the dry ice must be in a container that allows air out. Mainly, allowing room for the CO2 to expand (tsa.gov). But this differs airline to airline, it is recommended the passenger checks with their carrier before travel.

Bringing Breastmilk on the Plane

In the US, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to carry liquids in your carry-on baggage if they’re in containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less, and all the containers fit into one see-through quart-sized zipper bag. However, the liquid rule is a bit different when it comes to feeding infants and children. This is the category that breast milk falls into.

Moms who are flying (with or without) their child can bring breast milk in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters onto the plane in their carry-on as long as they declare it for inspection at the security checkpoint. The TSA Security Officers will examine your containers. They also have the right to test all liquids for explosives.

Although security will inspect your breast milk, they will not ask you or your child to taste it. However, in recent years, the US has created a bad reputation for mishandling nursing mothers and breastmilk, so one tip for the traveling mom is to print out the TSA regulations (click “Read More” in the below) themselves in case they happen to have an ignorant TSA agent.

Getting Through the Airport Security Checkpoint

  • You should try to bring only as much breast milk in your carry-on that you will need to reach your destination. Try to avoid packing a lot of extra bottles in your carry-on.

  • Separate your breast milk from all the other liquids, gels, and aerosols in your carry-on bag.

  • Tell the security officer at the security checkpoint that you have breast milk to carry on to the airplane.

  • Once you reach the X-ray machine, have your breast milk out and ready for additional inspection. The FDA has stated that foods or medications that have been through the X-ray machine are not harmful. If you choose to put your breast milk through the X-ray machine, let security know and they will check your milk another way. 

Note: You may be asked to open the container of breast milk and pour some out to test for explosives.

  • If the security officer must touch the breast milk bottles, you can request that he or she put on a clean pair of gloves.

  • If you need to pack your breast milk in a small cooler with ice packs or frozen gel freezer packs, these items are allowed when traveling in the US. Keep in mind that frozen and partially frozen breast milk will also go through the screening process. 

  • A small cooler for your breast milk should not count as an extra bag when boarding the plane 

Note: Best to check with the individual airline regarding their policy beforehand

  • In addition to breast milk, you can also bring baby food, juice, and infant formula along on your journey in a carry-on bag or diaper bag. Of course, all of these items are subject to the same screening.

Source: verywellfamily, TSA
How have your traveling experience been while transporting breastmilk? Please share in the comment box below!