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Thread: transporting breast milk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    40

    Default transporting breast milk

    i am going away for a week to florida without my daughter. my parents will be watching her and i have enough milk stored for her while i'm gone. i will be pumping while i'm away and am wondering if anyone has any tips for getting a week's worth of breastmilk back with me. i live in NY and will be flying- about a 3 hour flight. do i need to pack it in my checked luggage? do i use ice packs or do i need something more?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,266

    Default Re: transporting breast milk

    I think dry ice is probably your best bet, if you're going to transport the milk in your checked bag. Just in case the bag gets lost and takes a day or two to get to you! You might want to contact FedEx or one of the other shipping companies and see what they'd charge to ship overnight on dry ice. It might be easier to get your milk home that way.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
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    1,882

    Default Re: transporting breast milk

    it depends on whether you're freezing the milk or not. you can strategize about what would be best. the danger with freezing is that if it thaws, it has to be used right away.so i know some people freeze, then pack in a cooler with dry ice and check it. i found it easier/less worry-inducing to leave it refrigerated, then carry it on in a cooler with ice. but i also only travelled with 3 days worth, and even some of that went bad before we could use it. just due to the uneven refrigeration, i'm guessing.

    you'll have to check with your airline about the rules of checking dry ice - there might be a fee or labeling requirements.

    for just a 3 hour flight, i would probably freeze all but the last day's worth, pack in dry ice, and check. then for the current day, pack a small cooler in your carry-on. i put milk bags inside a gallon zip, then had a separate gallon zip for ice. i dumped the ice just before security and filled back up after security - if any ice melts you face problems with "extra liquid" (idiotic but true).

    it is worth just spending a moment thinking about what will happen if they lose your checked bag; some people prefer to ship by fedex or another trackable method, which is expensive but possibly more reliable.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    middle of IA
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    Default Re: transporting breast milk

    @mommal, jinx!
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: transporting breast milk

    I would consider overnight mail for 3-4 days worth of frozen milk. Then you only have to worry about a cooler carry-on of non-frozen milk.

    When I flew with 3 days worth of milk I asked every single TSA person what I was supposed to do. The first two told me I had to remove all of the bags from the ice for inspection, but I kept asking until I got the answer I wanted: leave the bags in the ice and we will poke around a little. Yes, thinks got a bit disheveled, but we just drained some excess water and topped it off with more ice from a restaurant. If you get to the security checkpoint and they insist you have to dump your ice then ask to see a supervisor, because that is wrong.

    Good Luck!
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    middle of IA
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    1,882

    Default Re: transporting breast milk

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sassypants View Post
    If you get to the security checkpoint and they insist you have to dump your ice then ask to see a supervisor, because that is wrong.
    they were ok with the ice, just not ok with the water that was in the bag of ice because it melted. stupid, but easy enough to get around.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    525

    Default Re: transporting breast milk

    I have heard stories of mom's being forced to dump out all of their ice, too. TSA guidelines say you don't have to do that. I am suggesting the OP should be firm on this, if she is told to do so, because finding a restaurant willing to refill an entire cooler could be really stressful.
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: transporting breast milk

    I think I would overnight mail it the last day your there and pack it using biomedical guidelines. A UPS store or pack'n'mail should be able to help you with this but then you have to get to one and that may be hard to do. Or maybe get info before you go so you know what you need that would make it easier than finding out while down there. It really isn't very hard; labeling appropriately, styro cooler, and dry ice. (i've only done it for work though) But that way you only have to travel with a day's worth and if you get and a**hole at TSA you only loose a little milk not a weeks worth.
    Married to the best husband ever since Nov 2009
    DS born 1/7/12 at 36 wks after PROM and Gestational diabetes happy and healthy ~

    Taking it one day at a time.

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