Nursing Moms Guide to Flying While Breastfeeding
I’m what some may call a frequent flyer. I travel once a month for work by way of airplane. Since having my little one a few months ago I have begun to fly again. Like many moms I had so many questions. One in particular was. “Can I take my pumped milk on a plane?”
Yes! You absolutely can, but as you know flying period has a bunch of rules now so here is your guide on traveling with breast milk.
You want to make life easier and prepare your milk before getting on a flight. You are allowed to carry your milk in both your checked bag and carry on. You also want o have a plan. If you will be traveling with baby you want to pick flights that will coincide with your little ones sleep/ nap schedule. If you are traveling without your baby then you want to be sure to bring everything you need to pump and store your milk.
You also want to make yourself familiar with TSA rules and the airline rules on traveling with infants and toddlers. You may eve call the airline and let them know that you will be nursing in flight to see if they offer and additional assistance. On my recent flight with Southwest airlines, I told the agents at the counter I will be nursing in flight and they allowed me to have a row to myself since the plane was not full and the flight attendants checked on me frequently to make sure I had what I needed.
If you will be staying at a hotel it is a great idea to call ahead to make sure that your room has a refrigerator or if they offer anything for nursing moms.
If storing in a checked bag that is going under the plane you want to store your milk in either breast milk storage bags or milk storage bottles. You then want to place your milk in a cooler bag with ice packs to keep your milk cold.
If you will be bringing your milk on board, the first thing you want to do is make sure your milk is stored in clear milk storage bags or bottles. I suggest using bags so that you are not taking up a ton of space in your carry on. You then will want to place all your milk in a large clear bag like a zip lock for getting through security.
Once you are going through security you immediately want to let the security know that you have breast milk. In my experience they have been extremely accommodating so hopefully its the same for you. They will ask you to remove your milk separate from your carry on. You will then place your milk in a bin and your milk will go through an x-ray machine or scanned.
The Food and Drug Administration states that there are no known adverse effects from eating food, drinking beverages and using medicine screened by X-ray. (Source)
In some cases they may open your milk. Be sure whomever is checking your milk is wearing clean gloves. Do not be afraid to ask them to change their gloves are to put on gloves when handling your milk.
In the Terminal
Once you have passed through security you are now headed to your terminal. If you will be there a while, you want to make sure your milk stays cool especially if you choose not to freeze it before hand. Be sure to bring a cooler bag and ice packs.
If you need to pump or nurse if baby is traveling with you, a few airports have nursing rooms or lactation suites. Unfortunately, this is not all airports so be sure to ask an airport worker if they have one or you can go online to search if they offer one. If you are in an airport that does not have a designated nursing area you can nurse or pump right in the terminal with a nursing cover (or without! Remember you can nurse anywhere anytime your feeding you baby and trying to maintain your milk supply so do not feel uncomfortable). You are allowed to bring your pump on board a plane. Your breast pump is considered a medical device and does not count toward your bag allowance.
In the Air
Once you are on the plane if you need to nurse your baby again you can choose to use a nursing cover or do as I do and simply just feed your baby. If you need to pump I suggest a manual pump. Manual pumps are so convenient and easy to use. You can check out Why I Love My Manual Pump to learn more about manual pump benefits.
Planes are pretty germ filled I always make sure to bring wet wipes and handsanitizer. Once your baby is a bit older they are going to want to touch everything. So I always pull out a wet wipe and wipe off the arm rests and the table trays. This will also come in handy to quick clean your pump parts until you land.
As a frequent flyer these tips are coming in handy for me and my little one on our monthly trips. If you travel with your kids these 77 Tips on Traveling with Kids is a must have list. I’m a mom who needs and wants to be prepared for everything when going into restricted situations, so I hope this helps another mom out.