If you’re travelling with baby on a long haul flight and have lots of expressed breast milk, it can be easily transported. All that hard work doesn’t need to go to waste. Or, if you need to move multiple feeds worth of formula, we’ve got the answers to the most hygienic and risk-free ways to do it. Here's how to travel with baby's milk on the plane to ensure a stress-free start to a fab family holiday.
· It’s best to avoid trying to transport fresh milk of any kind. You can’t control the temperature in the plane’s cabin and even if you ask the hosties to refrigerate it for you, during meal service there is a high risk your bottles will be moved and allowed to inadvertently warm up.
· If you need to carry formula to cover several feeds, carry the boiled water and the formula separately. Most airlines will allow you to bring water onboard if you have a baby with you (although some will ask you to taste test it at security). Only mix up the formula per feed as and when you need it and if your baby prefers it heated up, then ask for the service staff to help you at the time.
· In an urgent one-off situation when you don’t have enough boiled water, you can substitute bottled mineral water.
· If your baby drinks fresh milk, don’t risk bringing it onboard unless you are going on a very short haul flight because you cannot refrigerate it safely. (In these circumstances, pack it in an insulated bag surrounded by ice packs.) Purchase individually sized UHT milk packs just for the duration of the flight until you can buy fresh milk at your destination.
· If you want to transport multiple feeds of pumped breast milk only bring it onboard if you are going a very short distance. (In these circumstances, pack it pre-frozen in an insulated bag surrounded by ice packs.) Instead, pre-freeze the milk in individual feeds a full 48 hours before travel. Store the milk in a large insulated Eski-style bag and surround it with ice packs. Then check it in with a fragile sticker – the cargo area is the coldest place on the plane. Provided you unpack it immediately when you reach your destination, it should still be either completely frozen or otherwise thawing and almost ready to use.
It’s important to note that if you are ever unsure about whether the milk is safe for your baby to drink, then it should be discarded and not consumed.
For the suitcases&strollers travel advisor on family-friendly airlines, see the story Airlines Compared.
For more travel tips on flying with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.