Tips for Traveling with Breastmilk

Donor mom's freezer full of milk
A donor's full freezer

For many families, the holiday season means travel season. And if you’re a breastfeeding mom, those holiday trips can get a little more complicated. Whether you’re hitting the road or catching a flight, here are some great reminders and tips for traveling with breastmilk.

Storage

Pumped breastmilk stored in a small, insulated cooler with frozen ice packs will stay fresh for 24 hours. Keep these storage guidelines in mind: freshly expressed milk is safe at room temperature (60-85 degrees Fahrenheit) for 4 to 6 hours. Refrigerated milk should be used or frozen within 24 hours. Breastmilk can be frozen for up to 3 months in a regular freezer and up to 6 months in a deep freezer.

 

Donor mom's travel container for milk
A donor's travel container for milk

Airports and Breastmilk

As an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has the following regulations regarding traveling with breastmilk:

Breastmilk, along with formula and juice, can be carried in quantities larger than 3.4 ounces (100 mL) and does not need to fit within a quart-sized bag. It should be separated from other liquids, gels and aerosols that are limited to 3.4 ounces.

When you go through security, inform the TSA officer that you are carrying breastmilk in excess of 3.4 ounces.

Breastmilk is typically screened by X-ray. The FDA states that there are no known adverse effects from consuming food or drink screened by X-ray. However, if you do not want it to be screened this way, inform the TSA officer and alternative steps can be taken to clear the liquid.

Ice packs and other accessories used to cool breastmilk are allowed in your carry-on. They are subject to the same screening as described above if they are partially frozen or slushy.

For more information, visit the TSA website.

If traveling internationally, research the regulations at each international airport you visit. Different countries have varying policies regarding breastmilk.

For information about Mothers' Milk Bank of North Texas, click here.