We traveled a couple of months ago with two older kids and the baby. Chloe was about 5 months old when we traveled to Florida and as an exclusive pumper. Traveling with kids is always stressful but traveling with a breastfed infant just adds an entirely new level to travel stress. Since I like to be prepared, I started searching for anything and everything I could find on rules and regulations about breastmilk and traveling. So here are some of the take aways that I gained on my first flight while traveling with breastmilk.
Traveling with Breastmilk: Here’s what you need to know
Breast milk is considered a medically necessary fluid
This means that breastmilk does not fall under the liquid restrictions for how much can be carried onto a plane. So that 3.4 ounce rule for liquids does not apply to breastmilk. The best way to store your breastmilk while traveling is in clear, plastic bottles but you can breastmilk storage bags are ok as well but may need further inspection to be cleared for travel.
In fact, formula, baby food, toddler drinks, puree pouches are also considered medically necessary and can exist outside that 3.4 ounce rule.
A breast pump does not count as a carry on
Your breast pump bag is not considered a carry on and it should not count as one when you are on the plane. It it is easier for you to attempt to put everything in one bag, have at it. For me, it was impossible to have my pump, small cooler with breast milk and my hands free pump as well as the other carryon items I needed (diapers, wipes, extra clothing for baby, etc) to be all in one bag so I had a separate bag for those.
Cooling packs are also fine to travel with to keep the food or milk cool. My favorite backpack came with a small cooler that fits nicely in the top compartment. You can find it HERE.
Most airports have breastfeeding/pumping stations/pods
If you are in the airport and need a private space to pump or breastfeed your baby, many airports have designated spaces. You can also download the Mamava app and find a pod close to you wherever you are. Some of the best airports for breastfeeding moms are Logan International in Boston, JFK, Chicago O’Hare, Orlando International and Los Angeles International.
TSA checks will vary by airport
I had zero trouble getting through TSA with my pump, bag and breast milk. We flew out of Boston and Orlando. I was expecting the process to take longer and be more of a hassle than it was in reality. From what I have heard is that each airport and TSA checkpoint is different. I ended up telling them as I was going through that I had a pump and breastmilk with me.
You can decline to have your breastmilk X-rayed
Declining to have your milk x-rayed will not mean you can’t bring it on the plane. It just may need to go through more advanced screenings in order to be able to travel. You can find all the details about traveling with breastmilk at TSA.gov.
We made it to our destination and home without any issues and had the best vacation. Looking forward to our next one, hopefully coming up soon!