Note: The TSA policies about bringing breastmilk on board have recently changed. See this post for an update.
Here's a question for you pumping mothers. I'm counting on you to help one of our readers out!
Last week I got an email from a reader asking for help with a dilemma. She's planning on taking a weekend trip without her 7 month old breastfeeding baby. She's pumped enough milk for him while she's gone.
She wrote: "I have a milk supply built up for when I am gone and am planning on pumping while I am away. My problem is...how do I get the milk home on the airplane with the new liquid restrictions? Any ideas?"
This had actually been a topic of discussion at the breastfeeding clinic, so I was curious, too. Here is an excerpt from the Transportation Security Administration policy on traveling with breastmilk or formula:
Baby formula and breast milk are allowed in your carry-on baggage or personal items. You can take these through the security checkpoints and aboard your plane. However, you must be traveling with a baby or toddler. All items including formula or breast milk will be inspected.
You or your baby or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk or formula. Our Security Officers will not test or taste formula or breastmilk.
Liquids and gels, including baby formula or breast milk, may be packed in your luggage and checked with your airline. You are encouraged to travel with only as much formula or breast milk needed to reach your destination.
While there are certainly mothers who might pump and feed their babies a bottle on a plane, it seems to me that most mothers who are flying with babies probably wouldn't be carrying lots of breastmilk. They'd just be nursing their a babies on board (which, by the way, is a great way to relieve their ear pressure).
It's the mothers like the one who wrote in who would want to carry it on board. It looks like the options are to either throw out the milk (ouch), or somehow keep it frozen in their checked baggage. Or maybe the milk could be frozen and mailed back?
Does anyone have help for our friend? Has anyone tried to transport frozen milk in checked luggage? Can you bring frozen milk on board?