Are you worried about traveling with frozen breast milk? Looking for the rules and regulations about flying with frozen breast milk? Or maybe you are wondering about traveling with frozen breast milk by car? Well, fear not, in this guide we will give you all the rules and regulations alongside our tips and tricks for traveling with frozen breast milk no matter the method of transport you take.
Traveling with Frozen Breast Milk
Note: this guide is about traveling with FROZEN Breast Milk specifically. Now you can fly with thawed or liquid breast milk and formula also however the rules and regulations for traveling with these is different to traveling with frozen breast milk. This guide deals only with frozen breast milk however if you want any information on traveling with any of the above please do check out our related guides:
- Flying with Breast Milk
- Flying with a Formula Fed baby
Can you travel with frozen breast milk?
I would say the answer to can you travel with frozen breast milk is absolutely yes but depending on the method on transportation you are using will affect how much you can take, the best way to pack frozen milk for travel and what you will need to take with you.
The most difficult method of travel with frozen breast milk has to be flying due to the TSA regulations, international rules and regulations and other considerations. Therefore we will look at flying first.
Note: no matter the method of transport you undertake with frozen breast milk be sure to check the rules at your place of departure before travel to ensure you don’t lose milk by breaking any rules. Also be sure to know the CDC guidance on traveling with frozen breast milk, what to do when the breast milk thaws and other safety considerations.
Flying with Frozen Breast Milk
Can you fly with frozen breast milk?
The answer to can you fly with frozen breast milk is yes and no. It really depends on where you are traveling from and too and whether you are planning to carry your frozen breast milk in your carry on or in your checked luggage.
For instance, yes, you can absolutely fly with frozen breast milk in your hand luggage if you are flying domestically in the USA.
According to the TSA Website:
Breast milk … in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit within a quart-sized bag … This also applies to breast milk and formula cooling accessories, such as ice packs, freezer packs, and gel packs (regardless of presence of breast milk). Your child or infant does not need to be present or traveling with you to bring breast milk, formula and/or related supplies.
This is in the TSA own guidance therefore you shouldn’t have too much trouble traveling through TSA security with your frozen breast milk. We have also reached out to TSA Helpdesk to confirm the above and it was reiterated.
However if you are traveling internationally, obviously other airports will have their own guidance and allowances.
For instance, if you are traveling from a British Airport through airport security with a baby or without then you will find that you are unable to travel with frozen breast milk in your carry on. Breast milk going through a British airport has to be transported unfrozen or otherwise checked.
Therefore, although there is usually a method in which you can transport frozen milk, if you want to do this in your carry on you will have to check the local regulations at your point of departure outside of the USA.
Note: Always be sure to check that you know the regulations at your departure point as the rules and regulations are variable and can change without notice. Be sure to check the regulations to be sure that you don’t waste your precious breast milk.
Flying with Frozen Breast Milk FAQS
Can I put frozen breast milk in my carry on?
If you are traveling in the US domestically then you can absolutely put frozen breast milk in your carry one.
However if you are traveling internationally you will find the regulations differ dramatically. For instance if you are departing from a UK airport you cannot carry frozen breast milk in hand luggage. Only liquid breast milk can be in hand luggage if departing from a UK airport.
Therefore if you are not traveling domestically in the US be sure to check whether frozen or only liquid breast milk can be carried with you.
Also, you will need to check on how much milk you can carry through the airport in individual containers as you pass through security and if there is a maximum amount allowed. The TSA guidelines said that the amount of frozen breast milk you are traveling with is unrestricted however again, the British guidance has some restrictions so it is worth checking before travel.
If there are restrictions on the amount you can travel with you will need to pack your frozen breast milk in your checked luggage rather than in your hand luggage.
Tips For Traveling with Frozen Breast Milk in Hand Luggage
If you do decide to travel with your frozen breast milk in your hand luggage over the checked luggage. Then these are our tips for making the journey easier:
Store your cooler underneath your seat – it is common knowledge that heat rises. For this reason we recommend keeping the cooler that has your precious frozen breast milk in under the seat in front of you where it is cooler.
Don’t be tempted to open the cooler to check on your breast milk. It can be tempting to check on the milk, but opening the case will raise the temperature inside the cooler. For this reason make sure you keep it closed while flying.
Also be sure to freeze your breast milk thoroughly before taking it through the TSA to ensure it stays frozen for your journey.
Can I put frozen breast milk in my checked luggage?
Yes you can put frozen breast milk in your checked luggage. However if you decide to put frozen milk in the checked luggage I would recommend storing this separately to your other luggage.
You don’t want to risk getting your other items damps or wet then packing your frozen breast milk separately is a good idea. Also you will need to pack your frozen breast milk carefully with set luggage so again it really should be packed separately. Keep reading for more information on how to pack frozen breast milk for air travel.
Do I have to travel with my baby to fly with breast milk?
Generally speaking you do not have to have your baby traveling with you to fly with breast milk. Certainly the American TSA regulations and the UK regulations stipulate that you do not need to have a baby with you to travel with breast milk.
However if you are flying with frozen breast milk without your baby, or with for that matter then you will need to inform the TSA officers or international equivalent prior to screening that you carry liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces or the international equivalent amount.
The frozen breast milk will then have to go through regular liquid screening. This includes bottle liquid scanners, Explosive Trace Detection, X-Ray, and Liquid Container Screening
If you run into any trouble regarding bringing frozen breast milk through security, it is best to ask to speak to the supervisor and quote the regulations of the TSA or authority when speaking to the staff.
However, having said that we have never had an issue when traveling with milk in any form when traveling through airports with our baby.
How do you keep breast milk frozen while traveling?
One of the biggest concerns people have when traveling with frozen breast milk is about keeping the breast milk frozen while traveling. We think they key to keeping breast milk frozen while flying is packing the breast milk correctly.
How to pack frozen breast milk for travel?
When it comes to packing frozen breast milk for airplane travel, the first thing you will find out is that there isn’t one single recommended way to pack frozen breast milk for travel. If you have a preferred method that you have used when traveling before then stick to this.
However if you are looking for some guidance then this is what we recommend:
If you are looking for how to pack frozen breast milk for travel the first thing you are going to need is a cooler.
Click here for the best cooler for frozen breast milk.
And once you have your cooler you need to pack your frozen breast milk really tightly inside it. Once you have all of your breast milk packed you should surround it with ice packs to help keep the temperature own.
As the breast milk is frozen, packing them tightly together will prevent air from heating up between each block.
If you struggle with packing enough milk to pack tightly then be sure to add plenty of ice packs or even consider packing your breast milk into a ziplock so the air around it can’t warm up.
When using freezer bags, ice packs, and gel packs to keep your breast milk frozen on a plane you need to ensure that they are fully frozen solid. That is because if they are partially melted or soft they can be considered a liquid and they may be subjected to additional screening. If there’s any liquid in them, they’re held to the liquid rule of 3.4 ounces or less.
We also recommend labelling all of the frozen breast milk correctly so everyone knows what it is and the date it is from.
Also be sure that once you have packed and closed your cooler bag that you do not reopen it until your destination. That is because opening the cooler will allow warmer air in and raise the temperature.
This method will work for whether you are taking your frozen breast milk as checked or hand luggage.
Is it better to fly with frozen or refrigerated breast milk?
You are entitled to travel with frozen or refrigerated breast milk with or without your baby traveling alongside of you.
However outside of then US you may be asked to put frozen breast milk in checked rather than hand luggage so this may affect what you consider better to fly with.
How much breastmilk can you bring on a plane?
There is no guidance on the TSA or other international regulations to how much breastmilk you can bring on a plane. However there may be limits on how much can go into the individual container. Be sure to check the departure countries regulations before travel and packing to be sure that you are inline with the rules
How long can you travel with frozen breast milk?
Be sure to check the CDC guidance on traveling with frozen breast milk to ensure it doesn’t go off when traveling.
The CDC says however that once thawed you can NEVER refreeze human milk and it must be used within 24 hours.
Traveling with frozen breast milk by car
Now we have discussed traveling with frozen breast milk by plane we will turn our attention to traveling with frozen breast milk by car.
If you are traveling with frozen breast milk by car we recommend packing the breast milk into a cooler very tightly alongside the frozen ice packs.
Again it is very important to pack it tightly to prevent air from getting into the cooler and heating up the inside temperature.
The benefit of traveling by car vs plane with frozen breast milk is that you aren’t restricted on cooler size or type. You can easily pack a soft sided or hard sided cooler if traveling by car.
Also be sure to resist the temptation to open the cooler box and check on the milk as this will raise the internal temperature.
We also recommend cooling the cooler before travel to get the temperatures as low as possible.
If you plan to feed your baby a bottle of breast milk on your trip however be sure to have thawed milk with you at the correct temperature. There is nothing worse than being in a car with lots of frozen breast milk but none that your baby can use when you need it.
Shipping frozen milk ahead to your destination
Also if you are worried about traveling with frozen breast milk by car or plane, the other option is shipping frozen milk ahead to your destination.
However this obviously means that you will be parted from your precious milk and it can be a costly endeavour.
Have you traveled with frozen breast milk? Do you have any other tips? Do let us know in the comments. And if you have any other questions about traveling with frozen breast milk by car or flying with frozen breast milk then let us know and we will do our best to answer them in the comments.