When our daughter was 6 months old, we flew to Costa Rica. I was still nursing, but planned to have an alcoholic drink or two while on vacation. This was my first experience flying with breastmilk. Since then, I have done so several times, and have brought liquid formula as well as baby food on the planes without issue.
Although, TSA has a limit on the amount of liquids you can bring on a plane, those rules do not apply to breastmilk, liquid formula, or baby food.
You can actually bring large quantities of these liquids through TSA, but keep a few things in mind to make the process easier.
- Store the breastmilk or formula in its own small bag. (It doesn’t count as a carry-on bag or personal item and it makes it easier to separate for screening purposes, which you will have to do.) The picture posted above is the bag I use and how I pack it when flying with breastmilk. It is an insulated bag so it stays cooler longer.
- Tell the TSA agent you are flying with breastmilk or formula and put the bag on the conveyor belt for inspection. They will X-ray your stash. Don’t worry, the X-ray machine does not harm the breastmilk. If you do not want it to go through the X-ray machine, you will need to inform the agent. In that case, your milk or formula will likely be opened and have to go through additional testing.
- You can also bring gel cooling packs through TSA to keep your breastmilk or formula cool or frozen. (Side note if you plan to fly with frozen milk, be aware once it thaws completely you must use it within 24 hours, so I would not recommend bringing too many bags of frozen milk on a long flight. Consider giving your baby milk from your frozen stash in the days leading up to your trip and pump when you would typically feed your little one.)
- TSA will inspect, or even open your breastmilk and run a test on it. Don’t worry. It doesn’t take long and doesn’t taint the milk.
Flying with baby food
Baby food basically falls under the same category as breastmilk or formula.
- You are allowed to bring enough for the duration of your trip. If you are gone for a week, that is quite a bit of baby food pouches or jars. I recommend the pouches when traveling with a baby.
- Like breastmilk and formula you will have to separate it and declare it with TSA. They will likely inspect it and possibly open one of the containers. If that happens, plan to use that one first since once opened baby food must be used within a day.
- Finally, plan to pack an extra day or so worth of food or formula. Traveling can be unpredictable, flights can get cancelled, you may have an unanticipated long layover, and your trip may end up being longer than expected. So be prepared, and pack accordingly.