You're probably wondering if you can bring formula or breast milk on the airplane with you. The answer is yes - but there are a few things you need to know before flying with breast milk, your pump and other feeding supplies. In this blog post, we will address all of your questions about flying with breastmilk and formula. We'll tell you how to get your formula or breast milk through airport security, how long it can be stored without refrigeration, and more!
TSA Screening: Breastmilk and Formula
You will need to declare that you are traveling with breast milk or formula in your carry-on luggage at the security checkpoint. The TSA recommends that you bring enough formula or breast milk for your child's entire flight, as well as some extra in case of delays.
Because they are considered medically necessary liquids, formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food are not limited to the 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters carry on liquid restriction and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag.
If you are traveling with powdered formula, water for mixing formula must be declared at the security checkpoint and will be subject to additional scrutiny.
For a faster, easier security screening process, remove these items from your carry on bag at the security check point. The TSA recommends that formula and breast milk be transported in clear, translucent bottles and not plastic bags or pouches. But, this is not required. The TSA agent may request the liquid be screened separately for hidden items or explosives.
Pumping at the Airport and on a Plane
Because a breast pump is considered a medical device, you may bring it through the security checkpoint and onto a plane. Most airlines will not count it toward your carry on allowance.
Once through security, you may pump in the terminal. Some airports even offer lactation rooms for breastfeeding and pumping.
If you must pump on the plane, please plan ahead. Not all planes have electrical outlets, and you may need to have a battery powered or manual pump. There are no dedicated lactation facilities on planes, so you will need to pump in your seat or in the bathroom. Bring portable pump cleaners and wipes, as the tap water on airplanes is often not potable and shouldn't be used to clean your pump.
Freshly expressed breastmilk can be stored at room temperature for up to six hours. If your travel will extend past this time, be sure to have a cooler and ice packs on hand. Most airlines are unable to provide refrigeration, even for breastmilk or medications.
Storing Breast Milk and Formula
You may bring a small, personal cooler with formula and breast milk through the security checkpoint. The cooler can be placed under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin. Your child or infant does not need to be present or traveling with you to bring breast milk, formula and/or related supplies.
Petunia Pickle Bottom offers a selection of insulated bags, perfectly sized for bottles, sippy cups, and breast milk storage bags.
For breast milk storage bags or small bottles, we suggest the Cool Pixel storage container. It comes in a variety of playful patterns, and is easy to tuck into a larger diaper or pumping bag.
For full-size bottles, including water for mixing formula, we suggest the Cool Pixel plus. Full insulated, place your milk or formula in this bag with a gel pack to keep it cool during your flight.
View our collection of insulated bottle bags here. Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags and backpacks also feature insulated bottle and snack compartments, if you are only going on a quick trip and are just packing a bottle for a quick meal between stops.