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A Nursing Mom's Guide to Air Travel Without Baby

Leaving on a jet plane? Bring your breastmilk home for baby!

Now that I’ve completed my third work trip that required me to travel without my nursing baby, I’ve put together a list of helpful tips I’ve learned along the way. Pouring my breastmilk down the sink is simply not an option when I’m on the road – I need every ounce for my little guy! Click through for 9 simple things you can do to ensure you keep your supply while away and have plenty of milk to bring home to your little one.


  • Know Your Rights! 1 of 9
    Know Your Rights!
    TSA qualifies breast milk as a medical liquid and therefore you are allowed to bring with you as much as you need, including gel ice packs to keep it cold. I even took it through customs between the US & Canada with no issues either way. Be sure to let them know that you are a nursing mother with breastmilk when you get to the screening machines. You do not have to have your child with you in order to bring home your breastmilk. A few mom travelers recommended printing off and carrying a copy of the TSA rules (http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/formula.shtm) regarding the transport of breast milk just in case you hit a snag. I had one screener tell me I was limited to 50 oz. of breast milk but when I asked them where that was stated as I had read the TSA website, they backed off immediately.
  • Give Yourself Extra Time At Check-in 2 of 9
    Give Yourself Extra Time At Check-in
    Anticipate that you may need an extra 15-20 minutes going through security. I've had security ask to inspect my pump, test the outside of my milk storage bags for bomb residue, and go through all of my stuff throughly. Carrying that much liquid almost guarantees you a bag search at security, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time when you arrive.
  • Make Friends with the Flight Attendant 3 of 9
    Make Friends with the Flight Attendant
    If you have a long flight, discreetly let a flight attendant know that you are going to pump in the onboard restroom on a plane. It prevents them from banging on the door if you are in there for 10 or 20 mins.
  • Strategically Plan your Layovers 4 of 9
    Strategically Plan your Layovers
    Better yet, Try to arrange it so you don't have to pump on a plane. Pump just before leaving for the airport, and try to give yourself at least an hour and a half layover so that you can take your time pumping, getting to your gate, and grabbing a bit to eat. If you pump during a layover, Find the nearest information desk and ask where the famliy restroom is. These private rooms have locks on the doors and electrical plugs. I would sit on the countertop and pump & read a magazine.
  • Clean your Pump on the Go 5 of 9
    Clean your Pump on the Go
    Bring a pack of lansinoh wipes along to clean your breast pump parts and run them under the hottest water the tap provides and I dried mine with a small towel I brought along
  • A Hotel Mini Fridge Can Save The Day 6 of 9
    A Hotel Mini Fridge Can Save The Day
    Call ahead to your hotel and request a mini fridge in your room or ask what accomodations are available to store milk for bf'ing moms.
  • Keep Milk Cold on the Return Home 7 of 9
    Keep Milk Cold on the Return Home
    I am a big fan of the Pack-it lunchbox for traveling with breastmilk. It keeps everything cold and I don't have to worry with extra icepacks
  • Pump Anywhere! 8 of 9
    Pump Anywhere!
    If you don't have access to an electrical outlet, carry a hand pump along too OR if you have yet to buy a breast pump, purchase one that can be operated with batteries. I use the Hygeia Enjoye and it works beautifully without having to be plugged in.
  • Set a Pump Reminder! 9 of 9
    Set a Pump Reminder!
    Set a schedule and stick to it - It never fails that I go longer than I want to without pumping when I'm away from my kiddo. Make sure that you set aside time in your day to pump every 3-5 hours so that your supply isn't affected while you are away. Set the alarm on your phone to remind you if your day will be busy.

images via gizmodo.com, taxdocket.com, tripadvisor.com, sfasu.edu, okieolio.com

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