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Can I take frozen breastmilk and ice packs on an airplane?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I know that the TSA has announced revised rules that now allow a breastfeeding mom to take breastmilk on the plane even if she's not traveling with her baby, but I don't know if it makes a difference whether that milk is liquid or frozen. I prefer to freeze it so that it keeps longer. I would also want to bring ice packs to keep it cold during the trip. Does anyone know if that will pose a problem?
post #2 of 8
I think you are fine. You could freeze and use a soft sided cooler instead of ice packs to be sure.
post #3 of 8
They may throw out your ice packs. They threw out mine (wasn't for breastmilk though). Good luck!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I guess I should just pack Ziploc bags of regular ice cubes and be prepared to throw them out. Maybe I'll pack extra Ziploc bags and hope that a restaurant inside the security checkpoint will be nice enough to give me some ice to refill them. I figure the flight attendants should have extra ice if there's beverage service, at the very least.
post #5 of 8
I bought this little lunch bag with the ice pack built in then just threw it into the freezer the night before. I put the milk in the bag and that was it. I told them at the security thing that I had breastmilk in the bag and they didn't even open it.
post #6 of 8
i've flown on over a dozen flights with my son and once without but with supplies and never had a problem. i bring the medela cooler pack. just say that it is breastmilk and they pretty much take a hands off approach. only ever had a question or two about the breastpump. and i've always just left those things in their packages. only my personal items like moisturizer get put into a ziploc baggie.

and nursing on a flight is great too, no ear-popping and a happy baby.

i'd go with cold not frozen because you'll have to use up the frozen sooner if it thaws. oh and i have asked for extra ice on board the one time i forgot the freeze pack for breastmilk. just have them put it in a plastic bag and then in your cooler.
post #7 of 8
If you have at least one ounce of breast milk, you are allowed to bring on board a frozen gel pack in the US. So put a bottle with 1.5 ounces of milk in with the ice pack. Also, bring along a bunch of plastic ziploc baggies just in case a TSA agent didn't know the rules and seizes your ice pack, so that you can at least get crushed ice.

I've done this before and when I got to the security screening, I told the agent that I had breastmilk and a freezer pack. She didn't even want to see it! She told me to put it back in my bag, and put it through the x-ray machine. No problems getting through security.

If I were you, I would print out the regulations for bringing breastmilk aboard. Here are the two relevant links:

Flying with breastmilk:

Flying with medication (breastmilk is considered medication) which
needs a frozen gel pack for preservation:

Note that both regulations state that you must declare what you are
carrying PRIOR to screening. That means you need to get the
attention of an agent and tell them you are carrying on board
breastmilk BEFORE you put your bag through the x-ray machine.
Otherwise, the regulation implies, they can take your stuff. So just declare it in a loud voice, and they will likely pass you right through without even looking at your stuff. If they ask why you are bringing milk on an outbound flight, its because you had to pump at the airport

I'd ditto what star*mora said about flying with frozen - its going to shorten the life of your MM, and if you get delayed, it might melt even with the frozen pack. Hope that helps!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for your help! I ended up bringing Ziploc bags to store ice cubes, which I refreshed as needed from beverage dispensers at the airport. I made a point of informing the screeners that I was carrying breastmilk, which they asked to inspect but gave me no hassle for.

What I'm still trying to figure out is when to transport refrigerated vs. frozen breastmilk. I understand that the "shelf life" of thawed milk is shorter than never-frozen, chilled milk. But how long can I keep refrigerated milk (that wasn't previously frozen) if I'm planning to freeze it later? What if it has to sit in a not-so-cool cooler for several hours before freezing?
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