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Flying With Breast Milk

by KT


My experience of flying with breast milk, with US, SNA/John Wayne Airport, Orange County, CA…

I was away for 5 days on business and pumped the entire time.

I took extra care to make sure milk was properly stored.

I considered shipping it, but was concerned about the cost and the guarantee that it would not be kept in a hot location for any point.

I packed approximately 80 oz of milk in zip lock bags with 3 lbs dry ice in an igloo cooler.

Most of the people at the airport were respectful and very helpful, although I felt I had to work extra hard to convince them that this was necessary…then I got to the checkpoint and they asked me to send the cooler through the x-ray scanner, which of course I did.

At this point I was exhausted and frazzled after having to take everything out of my pockets, carryon, etc.

A few hours after arriving home I now wonder if I did the right thing sending it through or if this should have been questioned. I am not certain of the effects of the x-ray radiation on the frozen milk and further wonder if all my hard work and good intentions are now worthless.

This is probably one of the most frustrating experiences of my entire life and I have done a lot of traveling prior to being a mother. I had no idea how difficult this is, and have the greatest respect and empathy for nursing mothers who have come before me.

Comments for Flying With Breast Milk

No worries
by: Julie

Hi I’ve never had to pack or mail breastmilk before but I do know that the radiation should not be a problem. We recieve more radiation from the sun outside than the machines used in the airport & dental offices. Rest asure your hard work & due diligence was not in vain. Your baby is lucky to have such a loving & caring mom to do all that work for him/her. ; )

Good experience flying with breast milk
by: Elisabeth

I also pumped for 5 days while I was traveling. I froze all the milk and packed it with ice cubes in a rubbery pouch. I flew out of Reno, NV with 90 oz. of milk. The security person was completely understanding and only opened one pouch of milk to test. After I went through security I got more ice at a soda machine and the milk remained frozen for the whole 9-hour travel day.

I have express mailed two boxes of frozen breast milk in the past. The first I packed in dry ice and sent FedEx overnight, for $180!! The second was packed and sent 2-day with UPS (maybe only $80), but the recipient didn’t get it till the end of the day and it had started to thaw. I still used it for my baby and it was fine, but I’d recommend 1-day express rather than 2-day for breast milk.

Learn more about the rules for flying with baby food and milk

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