Flying with a baby or toddler can be a stressful experience, especially if it’s something you haven’t done before.
Given how often babies eat, and the welcome distraction that a bottle provides, you’re no doubt wondering if you can bring milk or baby formula on a plane.
According to the TSA, you are allowed to bring baby milk and formula on a plane, both in your carry on and checked bags.
But is there a limit to how much you can bring?
How should you pack it?
And what about flying long-haul?
Let’s take a look.
Baby Formula & Planes
As you probably know, the TSA (and authorities in virtually all other countries) have restrictions on the size and amount of liquids you can have in your carry-on bags when flying.
In the USA, the liquids in your carry-on should be no larger than 3.4oz or 100ml, and should fit in a quart-sized bag.
But does this also apply to baby food?
Fortunately this rule does not apply for breastmilk, baby formula and other foods for babies and toddlers, so you can bring baby food on a plane without any issues.
The advice from the TSA is that you should inform a TSA officer that you’re carrying baby food or milk exceeding 100ml or 3.4oz.
You should also remove these items from your carry on bags, so they can be screened separately.
If you’re traveling internationally you will also find the same rules apply and that milk (and food) for your baby are excluded from the 100ml / 3.4oz limit.
Can Formula Go Through X-Ray?
Something you may understandably be concerned about is whether an x-ray machine affects baby formula or breastmilk.
The TSA state that x-ray machines do not adversely affect food or medicines, so passing through the machine will not harm your baby’s food.
However, if you still don’t want your baby’s milk or food to be screened by an x-ray machine then you should inform a TSA officer, who will arrange for a different screening process to take place.
Does Formula or Milk Have To Go In A Clear Bottle?
In order to speed up the screening process, the TSA recommends that formula and breastmilk be transported in clear, translucent bottles.
However, this is not a requirement, so it’s up to you how you transport your baby’s food.
Just be aware that using non-translucent bottles may increase the time it takes for you to clear security.
Can You Take Ice & Freezer Packs On A Plane?
If you’re planning to keep your child’s milk or food cool in an ice pack the good news is there are no restrictions on taking ice packs, freezer packs, frozen gels and other accessories you may have to cool baby food.
Interestingly, the TSA state that these are permitted even without the presence of breastmilk.
How Much Powdered Formula Can You Take On A Plane?
There is no specific limit as to how much powdered formula, you can take on a plane.
There are also no specified limits about how much milk or baby food you can take on a plane either.
TSA regulations allow you to take a “reasonable amount”, so while this is open to interpretation, unless you are taking huge amounts of formula, milk or food then you should be fine.
How To Pack Formula Powder For Travel
Below we’ve listed some tips on how to pack formula powder or milk for travel:
- Pack enough milk for the entire journey. While whole milk is often available on some flights it’s not a guarantee, so the last thing you want to do is run out of food for your baby.
- If possible consider preparing bottles ahead of time, so you don’t need to worry about doing this at the airport.
- Transport the milk in clear, translucent bottles as this will speed up the screening process.
- Ensure any baby food is easily accessible, not only to make it easier to find when you want to feed your baby, but also because it will need separate screening.
- Pack a plastic container and hot water if you’re planning to warm the milk before offering it to your baby or toddler (more on this below).
Can You Bring Water Through TSA For Babies?
Some parents prefer to give their baby cold formula or breast milk, which makes traveling with your child a little easier.
If your baby is used to drinking warm milk then another thing you may be thinking about is how exactly will your warm the milk?
Fortunately if you’re traveling with a baby or toddler then you can bring hot water through security in reasonable amounts.
So by taking hot water in a thermos flask, as well as a plastic container, you should be able to easily warm your baby’s milk when the time comes.
You could also ask a flight attendant for hot water when on-board.
Can You Bring Juice Boxes On A Plane?
If you have a toddler then they might also be wondering if the 100ml exception applies to juice as well.
The TSA state that “toddler drinks” in quantities greater than 100ml can be taken through security and are allowed in your carry-on baggage.
So while this may be up to the discretion of the TSA officer, in most cases you should have no problem brining juice boxes on a plane.
Can You Bring Baby Food On A Plane?
Baby food, which includes pouches and purees, is also allowed in your carry-on even if they are over 100ml or 3.4oz.
Again, you should only take a “reasonable” amount, inform the TSA officer you’re carrying baby food and be ready to separate the items from your other belongings when going through the screening process.
Does Your Child Need To Be With You To Bring Baby Food On A Plane?
Interestingly, the TSA state that your child does not need to be present or traveling with you to bring breast milk, formula or related supplies in your carry-on.
So technically even if you’re traveling without your baby you should still be allowed to take milk and other baby food in your carry-on bags in quantities over 100ml.