How To Successfully Travel with Breastmilk

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Something we have had to deal with time and again is transporting breast milk either in a checked bag or carry on.  Both of our kids were/are breastfed.  There were times that we knew we would need a stash of milk upon arrival (for a babysitter), but there wouldn't be time to store up enough before we needed it.  I have put together several resources and tips for breastfeeding mothers who need or want to travel without worrying about their baby's breastmilk.

Shipping Breastmilk:

Women have been shipping breastmilk for a long time.  It isn't new, but there also isn't a ton of information out there.  Here are some convenient ways to ship your breastmilk if you are going to be separated from your baby due to travel or if you want a stockpile waiting for you upon arrival.

  1. FedEx:  They have an actual Mommy program.  They offer refrigerated containers that can be pre-ordered and delivered to you to fill up with your milk bags, then drop them off at a FedEx location for overnight delivery.  Get all the details HERE.
  2. MilkStork: This company is dedicated to shipping breast milk.  They send you containers to fill up and ship.  They do all the hard work, you just pre-arrange delivery of empty boxes and drop them off full to be overnight shipped.  Get all the details HERE.
  3. For Military Moms or Long-Term separations check out this AMAZING post by Breastfeeding in Combat Boots.  It explains how to properly package your milk and discusses international regulations.  See it HERE.
Latham was only 5 months when we went to Eastern Europe for 15 days.  We brought thawed milk on the plane in a bottle as well as nursed. (Devin Castle, Slovakia)

Latham was only 5 months when we went to Eastern Europe for 15 days.  We brought thawed milk on the plane in a bottle as well as nursed. (Devin Castle, Slovakia)

Flying with Breastmilk - Carry-On:

The TSA (within the United States) allows "a reasonable amount" of breastmilk to be carried through whether a mother is with her child or not.  I personally flew with about 60 ounces of frozen milk in my carry on WITHOUT my baby from Nashville to Florida and no one (TSA) questioned it.  You can see the exact rules outlined HERE.  Other countries are not as lenient.  We saw in 2016 when a woman was made to dump 500 ounces of breastmilk at the Heathrow airport because her baby was not with her. She had over 100ml (3 ounces) of milk in her carry on.  The regulations in the European Union are strict about not having more than 3 ounces of Breastmilk in a CLEAR container if you do not have your baby with you. Knowing the international rules is imperative.  Had she known, she could have frozen, prepacked in ice, and checked all of her hard earned milk. 

Flying with Breastmilk - Checked:

I have packed frozen milk into a small cooler with ice packs then packed the cooler in my luggage and checked it.  The flights were domestic and the milk was still fully frozen upon arrival.  I was able to then put them in the freezer and have them for babysitters.  This is much less risky than carrying large amounts of milk as a carry-on. If you package your milk appropriately, it will last the duration of your travel and be ready for baby upon arrival.  If you will be traveling for longer than 24-36 hours, I recommend checking out these breastmilk packing tips HERE.  For shorter travel days (8-10 hours), I have had no problem packing my milk with ice packs in small cooler.  There is no limit to the amount of milk checked through.

Pumping on a long drive from Prague to Krakow, so the baby could eat on the ride.

Pumping on a long drive from Prague to Krakow, so the baby could eat on the ride.

Roadtripping with Breastmilk:

In my opinion: this is the easiest way to travel with large amounts of breast milk.  I recommend one of two ways to roadtrip with frozen breast milk. 

  1. Buy a small travel fridge that you can plug into your car.  Store milk in this controlled environment. You can find one HERE.
  2. Bring a large cooler and pack it down with ice or dry ice.  You can continually refresh the ice as needed, which will keep the milk frozen solid.

If you're spending the night in a hotel on your road trip, bring the milk inside with you and if you can, put it in the freezer of the hotel!

Additional Information:

You can find a convenient packing list for pumping on the go HERE.

You can find more information about traveling with breastmilk and recommendations to mothers on the CDC's webpage HERE.

You can find the proper temperatures and suggested guidelines about freezing/storing breastmilk HERE.

Find breastfeeding support at these locations:

Nursing Charletta on a train in Germany

Nursing Charletta on a train in Germany

  1. International Lactation Consultant Association Directory
  2. La Leche League International
  3. Kelly Mom
  4. AMWELL Breastfeeding Support 24/7

With all things travel, don't be afraid of traveling while breastfeeding!! We have traveled to 10 countries while nursing.  I found breastfeeding to be convenient on travels since we didn't have to carry snacks/babyfood.

**I would like to add that THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH FORMULA!!!  A fed baby is the best baby! We fully support either way!**

Check out our previous guest blog on how Europe changed my breastfeeding experience!

Have something to add?  Leave us a comment!

Fly Brave, Travel Often, See Everything,

Tavia