June 2016 Moms

Traveling with Breastmilk - Advice Needed!

TTMA traveling with breastmilk. DH and I are going on vacation in two weeks and I'm nervous about the pumping aspect of the trip (we will be away for one week). I'm planning on bagging in small denominations (3-4oz/bag) to avoid needing to test them at the airport. But if they do test, what is that process like? They open a bag and stick something in the milk? Does that make it unsterile, and I have to toss it? Do I put the milk through the x-ray machine? If I'm away 7 days, should I pump and dump the first day bc it won't last to the 8th day? What is the longest you would refrigerate used bottle parts before washing, since I will be in a hotel room and have limited access to super hot water/soap/etc?  Best type of ice pack to take through security?  Any advice is appreciated!

Re: Traveling with Breastmilk - Advice Needed!

  • When we traveled to Portland last fall, I took all of the pumping stuff with me.  I brought my Medela cooler that had the ice pack that fits their collection bottles.  None of the milk I brought had to go through x-ray, but they did do some sort of litmus test.  No harm to the milk. My bottles that I brought on the plane did leak, so bags are definitely the way to go.  I had my son with me so I did not have to worry about storing milk for extended periods of time, but I do not store my milk in the fridge any more than 4 days before I either freeze or dump it.  As for leaving used pump posts on the fridge, I generally do no more than 24 hrs. Medela does make wipes that you can use to clean your parts if you are not near water.
    Based on what you wrote, I am guessing you will be traveling without your LO?  So, if I was you and milk supply overall wasn't an issue, I would pump and dump for a majority of the time until the day or two leading up to your return.  Just bring home the freshest milk.  I don't think I own enough bottles to save a whole week's worth of milk and depending upon how long the trip home is, anything frozen may thaw too much even with the cooler and ice packs.
  • BM and formula are not subject to the 3oz rule, though they redommend you only bring as much as necessary. That said, I brought an over abundance and had no issues. The milk is typically screened via xray. There is no harm caused by the xray and the BM/formula is still safe to drink. If they need to test the liquid itself, they may just ask that a small portion be poured into another container for testing (you obviously won't want to keep that little bit afterwards). You DO have the right to inform the agent that you do not want your BM (or formula) opened or xrayed. "Ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gel packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in carry-on." I actually used a ziplock of frozen peas and it went just fine but the agent did confirm that an ice pack was a-okay. I don't have a specific one that I would recommend. I carried my milk in a thermal lunch bag along with the bag of frozen peas, so that I could pull it out of the diaper bag and let the agent know what it was right away.

    I recommend printing off the TSA guideline so that if you by chance have to work with an ill-informed agent, you can point them out to him/her.

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  • Thanks for the feedback ladies.  We are traveling without LO - DH has a "business trip" to Hawaii and I couldn't let him go by himself!  So the trip home will be about 12 hours, which means a) I'll need to pump at least once and b) I will need to replenish whatever cooling system I have at least once (I'm thinking about making ice packs with milk bags once I get through security).  

    Supply has been an issue lately so I'm hoping to only need to dump a minimal amount (to be honest, I'm really afraid that this trip will be the end of my nursing, and LO is my last baby, so I'm a little emotional).  I won't have a freezer at the hotel so I don't have to worry about anything thawing.  I will look for those Medela wipes that you suggested for cleaning the pieces on the plane.  
  • I would just double check with the airport regulation about if an unlimited amount of BM is allowed even when traveling without the baby. That's something I've never researched before
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  • Medela also makes the bags you can microwave to sterilize your bottle/pump parts.
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  • egirl1025egirl1025 member
    edited January 2017
    I found this article today when I was thinking about travelling without baby, but with breast milk.


    ETA: Found this too...this is a super interesting topic!  Seems like a great idea, maybe a little pricey, but seems to solve so many issues!

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