air travel w/ breast milk

Mary - posted on 03/25/2011 ( 14 moms have responded )




Any tips on plane trips w/ breast milk? I'm headed on an overnight work trip (sans baby). According to the TSA website you can bring breast milk through security, but I'm wondering how to keep it cold. Can you bring ice or cold packs along?


Rachael - posted on 03/27/2011




oh, if you can't take ice packs with you they do sell coolers that you can put in the freezer which retain cold for nearly 12 hours. I use them for my lunch but never thought about using them for breast milk.

According to the TSA website you CAN take breastmilk without baby.


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Marivic - posted on 03/29/2011




I used to travel with breastmilk. I have a thermal bag full of ice, which I ask from hotel kitchens. It depends on the airline if they would let you hand carry the liquid. When I went to Hongkong they would not let me carry it, so I placed them thermal bag inside a backpack and checked in the baggage. So far when I reached the Philippines all the frozen bottles were intact. Make sure that the bag is properly sealed so the melted ice won't spill.

Dora - posted on 03/28/2011




I traveled while breast feeding and pumping. I used ice packs for the breast milk. They will pull you aside to test the milk. Don't worry all they do is ask you to remove the lid and they pass this piece of paper over the top without touching the bottle and then you just seal it back up. This is how it worked for me in the United States. I am not sure how other countries deal with it. Have a great trip!

Ann Marie - posted on 03/28/2011




I also have had no problems at all flying home with milk and without the baby. Usually they have a separate security check line for "medical supplies", and you can go to that if you like. Just tell them it's breastmilk when you get to the xray and they'll hand check it. I've used frozen ice packs and/or frozen milk in plastic breastmilk storage bags to keep it cold.

As for keeping it cold on your trip, the easiest thing by far is to get a mini fridge in your hotel room. But in a pinch, I've heard of moms filling a sink with ice from the ice machine and leaving a note for the cleaners by the sink: DO NOT TOUCH.

Laura - posted on 03/27/2011




i had absolutely no problem taking my milk (almost 50 oz) coming back from a trip without my daughter.i did freeze the milk and had it in a small cooler, the frozen milk served to keep itself cold for the 10 hours it took me to get home and it was still frozen solid. the TSA does reserve the right to test the milk, they wave a test strip over it, they do not touch it. i really think the horror stories you hear about are from people who were either flying during the height of the security, or they were rude and uncooperative and therefore made themselves look suspicious. be courteous and prepared and you should be fine. enjoy your trip and let us know how it goes, your experience may be able to ease the fears of someone else.

Mindy - posted on 03/27/2011




yes! You can bring whatever you need to keep your milk cold. I've traveled a lot for work as a nursing mom and haven't had a problem yet.

Robin - posted on 03/27/2011




Not sure if you can take it WITHOUT having the baby....they may think you have no reason to take it. As far as keeping it cold I have heard that it is still safe after being out several hours not cold (even room temp). So if you can take it on the plane (I am guessing just on the way home?), keep it cold while you are where you are then just take it on the plane as is or in one of those little cooler lunch bags (they even make them bottle size) I would see research how long it is safe to leave it not refrigerated I remember being surprised how long it was!

Rachael - posted on 03/27/2011




oh goodness, please don't pump and dump the milk! That stuff is like GOLD. What I would recommend is getting a letter from a doctor before hand stating that you are breastfeeding. Also, I would call the airline and airports you with be flying through to ensure you will not have any issues. Good luck!

Diane - posted on 03/27/2011




The best thing to do is to contact the airline you will be traveling with and them their policies.

Corinne - posted on 03/27/2011




'sans' = french for 'without', & gets used by english speakers every so often.
Have you considered 'pump & dump' for the time you're away (ie. you express to maintain supply but throw away the milk instead of take it home with you)? Not easy if you're used to saving every drop, or not ideal if you need to replenish your freezer stash after being away. Just another option if need be.

Amy - posted on 03/26/2011




We had gel ice packs and they were no problem going through security when they were frozen but we had some convincing to do when we brought them back thawed. As long as your ice packs are frozen and you declare the milk you should be ok. They will probably have you open the bottles, if that's how you store the milk, to wave a little wand over, but they don't touch it. Good luck!

Michelle - posted on 03/25/2011




It's been a couple oy years since I did it but I packed mine in cold packs and they let me through without too much trouble. Be very clear that it's breast milk or they may try to dump it.

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