TSA Rules for Traveling with Breastmilk

I swear I think I'm the first mom on earth to leave her 8 month old for a whole week. Okay, maybe not...but I maybe the craziest for doing it while I'm still breastfeeding. (On top of that worry, now I'm trying to figure out how to avoid swine flu while traveling.) As you know the TSA has restrictions on what you can take as a carry-on when you fly. I had a few unanswered questions even after reading TSA's policy's. I contacted the agency by email to clear a few things up and I thought I'd pass the information along to you.

My main questions were: Can the breastmilk be frozen and how much can I bring? (The TSA restrictions just say "reasonable"...well, to who??) Reasonable to me would be to bring the week's-worth of liquid gold back home for my daughter, but somehow I don't think that's included in their definition.

Anyway, here's their response:

"Thank you for your e-mail regarding the permitted amounts of breast milk and other liquid items necessary during travel for infants and young children.

Passengers flying with or without an infant or young child may bring more than 3.4 ounces of breast milk (in a liquid or frozen state) into the security checkpoint. The breast milk must be declared to the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) prior to entering the screening checkpoint and be separated from other liquids, gels, and aerosols.

Although TSA does not specifically limit the amount of breast milk or other items a passenger may bring in their carry-on bags, TSA encourages travelers to be practical about these amounts. The amount should be reasonable and consistent with the traveler's itinerary. TSO's have discretion in determining whether the amount of breast milk and other items carried by an individual constitutes a "reasonable amount." All passengers are encouraged to ask to speak with a supervisor at the security checkpoint if they have any questions or concerns with these procedures.

Individuals are also allowed to bring more than 3.4 ounces of pre-mixed baby formula (in a liquid or frozen state), milk products, juice, gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred, or processed baby food into the screening checkpoint. These items must be declared to the TSO's prior to entering the screening checkpoint and be separated from other liquids, gels, and aerosols.

Please note, the recent modifications also allow bottled water that is presented as an infant/child or medical exemption is allowed into the secured area after it receives additional screening. Passengers traveling with bottled water necessary for medical reasons and/or intended for their child's use through the security checkpoint must:

declare it to the TSO prior to entering the screening checkpoint and prior to x-ray examination;
inform the TSO that the bottled water is necessary for medical reasons and/or intended for an infant or young child; and
open the bottle for additional screening, if required by a .
Frozen gels and liquids are permitted if required to cool medical and infant/child exemptions.
TSA recognizes that the information on our website is not all inclusive and that many passengers have additional concerns regarding traveling with items intended for use by infants and young children. Many of these concerns include how the current screening procedures accommodate the handling of essential food items passengers must carry onboard the plane for their children, such as breast milk, milk products, formula (to include related mixing products), baby food, and juice.

Breast milk and other liquids and gels intended for infants or young children are in the same category as medical liquid exemptions and are normally x-rayed. However, as a customer service, allows a passenger the option of a visual inspection of these items. A passenger must request a visual inspection before screening begins; otherwise, all of the items must undergo x-ray inspection and might be subject to additional screening. It is important to note that if breast milk or other items cannot be cleared visually, they must be submitted for x-ray screening. In addition to a visual inspection of the items, TSOs will test these items for explosives, including breast milk. Passengers may be required to open the containers but will never be asked to test or taste any of these items.

TSA continues to explore opportunities to further modify screening procedures to minimize the concerns of passengers without compromising aviation security. The most current processes in place for bringing breast milk and other food-related items intended for infants and young children safely through the security screening checkpoint can be found at www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/formula.shtm.

Passengers are also invited to contact their airline in advance to request any special accommodations for their flight. In addition, please visit our website regularly for updates to special screening procedures.

We hope this information is helpful."

Recommended Reading:

Preparing for a Baby-Free Vacation

Tips for Avoiding Swine Flu While Traveling


Sapphire said...

I hope all goes well for you, I can't imagine why you would need to leave your 8 month old for a week.

Melissa said...

Thanks, I'll report back on the adventures of pumping for an entire week.

My husband won this all expense paid trip for being one of the top employees at his company. We aren't allowed to bring the baby.

Carrie T said...

Hi Melissa ... did you bring any cold packs for your breast milk with your through security and if so, did you have any trouble? If not, how did you keep your milk refrigerated? We are taking a trip with our daughter but i need to bring extra milk for her evening feedings.

Melissa said...

Hi Carrie,
I did not bring any gel packs through security. When I asked about at security they told me I would not be allowed. However if you read the TSA rules for breastmilk it does say something to the effect of anything associated with a baby's feeding is allowed. What I planned to do was take the milk in my pump's cooler with an ice back. I was going to leave the pack in the car (the milk should be fine between the time form your car until you get through security). Then after I got thru security go to one of the airport restaurants and ask for a cup of ice. Bring some ziploc bags with you and put the ice in them and use them as ice packs for the plane ride.
I would also suggest calling your hotel to make sure they have a fridge in your room. Not all hotels do.
If you have any more questions feel free to email me at melissa_viscount@yahoo.com.

Good luck!

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