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Flying and Pumping–What’s a Mom to Do

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Update: a new rule effective August 4, 2007 does away with the limits on the amount of breast milk a mom can carry on board a plane.
I love the Style section in the Sunday New York Times. Seriously, it’s the highlight of the paper for me. My husband brings it to me if I’m still in bed, breast feeding the Titty Bear (From here on out, the Titty Bear will simply be called “The Bear.” We decided he might be embarrassed to learn some day that we called him the Titty Bear. What would his friends say?)
I digress. Anyway, I was thrilled yesterday to see a piece in the Style section about a mom who goes on a business trip, breast pump in hand. She describes all the crazy places she had to pump (in the plane, on a bus, in a closet), and ultimately what happened when she had to pass through airport security with a cooler full of breast milk.
The new restrictions for carry-on luggage have made traveling even tougher for breast feeding moms who have left their babes at home and need to pump.
It’s all a little confusing, so I called the TSA to try to figure this out. Here’s the deal: If you have a baby with you, you can bring formula and pumped breast milk on board. You just have to show it to an agent at the security check point. If you don’t have a baby with you, you are more restricted. You can bring on board the plane one, quart-size ziploc bag, with three ounce containers of breast milk inside. (Each passenger is allowed one ziploc bag for any toiletries). If you have more milk than that, you will have to put it in a cooler, pack it up with ice, and send it on it’s way with your luggage.
For a little more information, here’s a link to the TSA’s rules about carry on luggage. Here is specific information about breast milk and formula.
So if you’re planning a trip any time soon, and need to leave the babe behind and instead, tote the pump, good luck to you. I know these flight restrictions are there to keep us safe, but boy oh boy, do you need a serious level of dedication if you intend to bring that liquid gold home with you. Happy trails to you.

7 Responses to “Flying and Pumping–What’s a Mom to Do”

I actually had to do this on a recent trip to NYC. I have found that the good old adult style lunch bags with insulation and additional gooey gel packs of a frozen nature work really well for this purpose. Then they can easily go in your overnight bag. The milk stays really cold and made it all the way home. And can I say I love my hands free pumping bra? Best $40 I invested!

If you have to check your breast milk, does the xray machine harm breast milk at all?

The problem is, just try finding 3-oz. breast milk containers.

My question is: how am I supposed to keep the milk cold during the 8 hours we’re in transit?? When I flew a year ago, security let me take the milk on board but I was forced to toss my freezer packs!

You can get 3oz containers at Target. Medela makes them.

As far as keeping it cold during the trip, put ice in a ziploc (double bag), dump before security, and refill at a restaurant inside the security area (for the price of a soda). Get creative!

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