Your Guide on How To Travel With Breast Milk

Whether you are a breastfeeding mom supplementing your baby with baby formula or a pumping mom planning on traveling, we have you covered.


You may have read information provided by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) about the allowance of a quart sized bag of liquids, gels and paste in your carry on. All these items are limited to containers that are 3.4 ounces or 100 ml or less.

Fortunately, these restrictions do not apply to breast milk as long as they are stored properly.

In this article we discuss ways to carry breast milk, how to go through screening smooth and more.

If you are wondering what is the best travel breast pump, read here.

how to travel with breast milk


Table of Contents

How Do You Carry Breast Milk While Traveling?

Place your breast milk in tightly sealed containers to avoid it from leaking. Depending on the length of your flights, you may carry your breast milk in an insulated cooler bag to keep it fresh or freeze it first before your flight.

For short flights or if you plan to feed your little one breast milk on the plane, store your breast milk in feeding size and keep it fresh using frozen ice packs. This way it will be easier to access, heat up and consume when required.

For longer flights, it is best to freeze your breast milk beforehand. Store your frozen breast milk in a cooler bag with ice-freezer packs.

Also, keep a bag for all your baby essentials to keep everything organized. If you are also bringing baby formula or baby food, make sure you notify a TSA officer to be able to screen these items separately.


Going Through Airport Security with Breast Milk

Airport security can get pretty stressful especially when you are bringing additional baby essentials. Bringing liquids will require additional screening time.

You may request TSA Cares assistance for a smoother process whenever traveling with medically necessary liquids. To get assistance from them, you will need to fill out a form within 72 hours before your flight.


Credit: themommyrebound


How to Avoid Any Issues at Security with Your Breast Milk

Before going through security, notify the TSA officer that you are traveling with breast milk.

Remove all your liquids from your carry-on bag for inspection. After going through the X-ray machine, a TSA agent may ask you additional questions regarding the liquids detected in your carry-on.

Your breast milk may be subjected to additional screening.

Another tip is to store your milk in clear bottles for scanning. This can expedite your screening process.


How Much Baby Milk Can I Take Through the Airport?

The TSA specified that travelers are allowed to bring more than 3.4 oz or 100ml of breastmilk in their carry-on. However, these restrictions are not applicable to your liquid gold and other baby food such as formulas because they are classified as medically necessary liquids for your baby.

You can bring a reasonable amount of these items together with the other cooling materials such as frozen gel packs to keep them under a cool temperature.

Bear in mind that if you intend to bring pre-packed baby formula, there is a possibility that TSA officer will request you to open all the bottles you have with you. To avoid this, just bring enough milk required for the flight in your carry on and check in the rest.

Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from your other belongings. TSA officers may need to test the liquids in some situations to verify their contents.

In order for you to expedite the screening process, it is recommended to store your milk in clear bottles. It can instantly be scanned by Bottle Liquid Scanners at the airport, unlike those liquids that are stored in plastic bags, pouches or milk storage bags.

You may be asked to open your bags or pouches for alternate screening such as Explosive Trace Detection and Vapor Analysis for the presence of liquid explosives. Do note that these screenings will never include placing anything into these liquids.


Traveling with Breast Milk


 Credit: themommyrebound

How Do You Carry Frozen Breast Milk On a Plane?

Bringing your individually packed frozen breast milk in a cooler bag filled with ice packs is the recommended way of carrying it with you on the plane. This way your frozen milk will last for a longer period of time. Bear in mind that if the breast milk is partially frozen or somewhat melted, it will be subject to additional screening procedures conducted by a TSA officer.


Can You Bring Dry Ice on a Plane for Breastmilk?

It depends on the airline that you are flying with. When traveling by plane, it is a rule of thumb to check the policies of the airline regarding the specific requirements for bringing dry ice.

You may be required to allow for additional time for screening because restrictions on bringing dry ice may vary from different countries and airlines.

FAA suggests that the quantity limit for dry ice is 5.5 lbs or 2.5 kgs per package and per passenger. Airline approval is needed and the packages should not be airtight to allow the release of carbon dioxide gas.

Additional non-hazardous ice packs like blue ice and gel packs can be a supplement to the dry ice.

On the other hand, if you want to include these items in your carry-on baggage and they are more than 100 ml (3.4 oz) per container, the TSA security rules require that it should be in the frozen state when the passenger goes through security screening.


Does Breast Milk Have to be Frozen to Fly?

No, there is no specific requirement that breast milk be frozen before it can be allowed in your carry-on baggage. However, bringing frozen solid is easier and you won't have to worry about spillage.

bringing breast milk on the plane for baby


How to Travel with Breast Milk in Diaper Bag?

Proper preparation is important to ensure that your milk supply is properly packed. In general, it is a good idea to bring two bottles filled with breast milk to last you your flight.

Label your bottles and containers to know which ones are needed to be used first. Use proper insulated cooler bags and ice packs to keep your milk cool. It is ideal to keep your bottles upright to avoid any spillage from happening.


Do I Need to Travel with My Baby to Bring My Breast Milk?

No, you can bring your breastmilk with you even if you are not flying with your child. This is applicable in the United States and other countries.


Credit: themommyrebound

Pumping and Nursing at the Airport

The Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act of 2020 provides that areas with large and medium airports in the US are required to provide private areas for women to safely and comfortably pump and nurse. You will be able to find designated areas where you can pump or feed your little one whilst you are in the airport.

If you’re not sure where the nursing room is located, you can just ask an airport staff about its exact location, You can also download the mamava app. It is a free locator application that helps breastfeeding and pumping moms easily locate approved lactation spaces around their area.


Traveling with a Breast Pump

A breast pump is considered a medical device. Hence, whenever you are traveling with a breast pump bag, it does not count towards your normal carry-on allowance.

Read here for information on the best breast pump bags for travel.

Do not forget to include other pumping accessories to ensure that you will have enough milk and be able to store it properly during your flight or while spending time on your layovers.


Using a Breast Pump at the Airport

If you have a commercial grade breast pump with cords, you may need a nursing room and space while pumping. Same goes with a manual breast pump.

On the other hand, if you have wearable breast pumps, you can actually pump discreetly with a nursing cover or scarf over you in a chair. Once done, you can locate the nursing room and transfer the milk to your baby bottles or storage bags to keep them stored safely.

Read here for information on best travel breast pumps.

How to Store Breastmilk While Traveling
Credit: themommyreboun


How to Store Breast Milk While Traveling?

Storing your milk correctly while you are traveling can prevent it from being spoiled. It is best to keep your milk cool regardless of whether bottles are used or storage milk bags. This will help keep your breast milk fresh for a longer time.

Always remember to seal your containers and storage bags tightly so it does not spill during your travel.


Storing Breast Milk in Feed Sizes

Although you are not bound to store your milk in 3.4 oz or 100 ml containers, it is ideal to store your breast milk in feeding sizes. This will prevent any cross-contamination or wastage of your liquid gold because once you freeze your breast milk, it can be defrosted once only.

If you are planning to express milk on the plane, storing them in milk storage bags is a great idea as these bags take up minimal storage.


Traveling with Frozen Breast Milk on the Plane

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) specified that breast milk is fine to be left at room temperature for up to 4 hours. However, you can place ice packs and transfer them to the fridge upon your arrival at your hotel room to allow it to last for 4 days.

Ideally, keeping your breastmilk cool or frozen before the flight is the best way to keep it fresh. In case of a long flight, you can request some ice from the flight attendants to keep your milk cooler longer.

Once you are finally home or at the hotel, you can freeze the excess breast milk that you recently pumped to increase its shelf life by 6 to 12 months.

Credit: themommyrebound


Freezing Breast Milk Storage

Freezing breast milk a few days prior to your flight allows you to transport expressed milk in frozen form. Transporting milk in this manner allows your stash to stay fresh for a longer period.


Transporting Breast Milk

Other than bringing breast milk in your carry-on, below are other options you can consider.


Checking in Breast Milk

If you are not flying with your baby or prefer breastfeeding them during your flight, you can just include your extra stash of frozen breast milk in your check-in baggage. Make sure it is packed properly in a cooler bag with ice.


Shipping Breast Milk

There is also the option to ship breast milk to your final destination to save you from traveling with it. Your frozen milk will be an additional luggage on top of your usual baggage.

More and more moms are considering to ship their breast milk. You can see there are increasing companies like Milk Stork, Penguin Dry Ice, Bens Dry Ice and Only the Breast that provide the service to ship your breast milk.

Shipping your breast milk through these professional shipping companies allows your frozen milk to be stored in an insulated shipping container to keep its temperature cool with a block of dry ice until it reaches its destination. It can still stay frozen for up to 3 days of traveling from one place to another.

mom traveling with baby and breast milk


Traveling with Breast Milk is Achievable

By understanding the above steps, you will be able to travel and bring breast milk stress free. Don't let processes and procedures put you off vacations. You will look back in time and treasure your memories.

If you are looking for tips on how to keep your child entertained on the plane, read this article on airplane toys for toddlers.

If you are thinking of bringing your stroller with you on your international flight, read here on how to travel with a stroller.

Happy journeys!





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