Moms: Do You Know How to Travel with Breast Milk?2 min read
You know that when you’re preparing to fly, you’re only allowed to bring a quart-size bag of liquids each organized in 3.4-ounce bottles to get through security. But what about breast milk and formula?
If you follow the Transportation Security Administration’s rules for carry-on liquids, you may assume you can only bring a very small amount of breast milk or baby formula on your flight. However, that’s not the case – the TSA does not include breast milk, baby formula and baby food and juices under the liquid guidelines.
According to the TSA, formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted through the security checkpoint and do need to fit within a quart-sized bag. That’s because it’s classified as a medically-required liquid. You do have to separate them from other liquids, gels and aerosols limited to 3.4-ounces.
If you are bringing these items through security, the TSA advises that you inform the TSA officer at the beginning of your screening process that you’re carrying formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4-ounces in your carry-on bag.
TSA officers will take steps to ensure these liquids are safe before allowing them to move through security. They may test them for explosives or concealed prohibited items. If they aren’t able to use X-ray to clear these liquids, they may ask you to open the container and have you transfer the liquid to a separate empty container or, if it’s feasible, dispose of a small quantity of the liquid.
Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that there are no known adverse effects from eating food, drinking beverages and using medicine screened by X-ray, you can inform the TSA officer if you don’t want your breast milk, formula and juice to be X-rayed or opened. If this is the case, officers will take additional steps to clear the liquid. You or the traveling guardian will also likely undergo additional screening procedures, including a pat down and screening of other carry-on property.
Additionally, any ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories you need to keep the liquids cool are allowed in your carry-on. If any of these items are partially frozen or slushy, they are subject to the same screening process as the breast milk, formula and juice.
You can also bring canned, jarred or processed baby food as well as gel or liquid-filled teethers in your carry-on bag, although they too will be subject to the same screening process.
Because you may have to go through additional screenings when bringing breast milk, formula, and baby juice and food, consider getting to the airport a bit earlier to give yourself more time to go through security.
If you decide you want to check a cooler with breast milk or formula with your luggage, be sure to check with your airline for their specific guidelines. It’s also advisable to print out those guidelines and bring them to the airport with you just in case the desk agents aren’t familiar with their company’s protocol.
Photo from The Stir.