At some point all of us will need to travel with breastmilk whether it is for personal reasons or for work. The following are some tips and tricks to transporting your breastmilk.
- Breastmilk is obviously a liquid; however, it doesn’t fall into the 3 ounce category. According to the TSA “Breast milk is in the same category as liquid medication and mothers parents flying with, and without, their child are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is declared for inspection at the security checkpoint. Additionally, empty bottles and ice packs are permitted under these conditions.”
- If you have an infant in tow, you can bring bottled water with you! The TSA allows you to go through security with your bottle of water because it may be needed for food or formula. You just have to show it to the security personnel and they’ll let you put the water into a bin for scanning. They’ll likely swab it to make sure it doesn’t have any explosive material/matter on it.
- Security knows what a breast pump is but be prepared to answer any questions they may have.
- Making a short trip on a train is a great way to travel. They have less security measures than the airplane so you’re allowed to bring on liquids without being stopped, checked or given a hard time. Amtrak does not have guidance on carrying liquids except for outlining which ones are prohibited like gas, fuels, etc.
- You may also have access to ice since they usually have a snack car.
- Traveling long distances is tough in a car and a cooler with ice packs can only do so much. Try to purchase a mini fridge for your vehicle to help keep the milk cold during very long trips; otherwise, you may need to stop frequently to refill the cooler with ice.
- If you need to pump while in the car, make sure your pump has a battery pack. Remember to bring your bottles or bags, tape (if you’re using bags), extra batteries (my pump requires 8 AA) and a nursing cover, if necessary. Make sure to add some extra travel time to allow you to stop, pump, and clean.
- Consider using bags instead of bottles to transport your milk since it’ll take up less space in the cooler.
- Call the hotel in advance and see if your room will have a mini-fridge. Most rooms do but if it doesn’t, ask if you can have one in your room. Tell them what it’s for and they may waive a charge, if there is one.
- Make sure to put your ice packs/gel packs in the freezer to ensure they’re frozen for your return trip home.
Places to Pump
- If you’re traveling to a company’s site, call in advance to see if they have accommodations for a nursing mother. Gently remind them that a bathroom is unacceptable as is pumping in your vehicle (especially on a scorching hot day!). See if they have an empty office with a lock that you could use or a conference room.
- If you’re at a seminar or workshop, you can also call the hotel in advance to make arrangements to have an empty conference room or ask the front desk manager to take a room out of service for the day. The hotels are usually pretty accommodating if you let them know in advance.
- If you’re traveling for work for an extended period of time, you may want to see if there’s a local daycare center or company daycare center that will allow you to bring your child with you on your trip. You’ll need to do advanced planning as you’ll likely need to provide vaccination records and other paperwork to allow your little one to attend the daycare center.
- You may want to look into shipping your milk home so you don’t have to handle it on the plane, in the car, or on the train.
In summary, it’s best to plan ahead and do your research. When you know what to expect, you’ll have less stress while traveling and transporting your milk.