Moving Around With a Breast Pump and Frozen Breast Milk

2023-01-05 06:17:38 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

It's true that breast milk is best for babies, but many mothers find the experience of nursing or pumping while on the road to be stressful. You will need to plan for pumping and storing breast milk while traveling as well as comply with any applicable laws if your baby is along for the ride.  

You may be carrying either previously pumped milk that needs to remain frozen for the duration of the trip or newly pumped milk that needs to remain safe to ingest while on the go.

Great tips how to keep breast milk frozen while traveling, feeding your baby on the plane or road trips, and storing milk safely.

Depending on how long you'll be gone, different strategies for transporting and storing breast milk will be appropriate. For shorter trips, for instance, freshly pumped breast milk can be kept in a cooler with ice; for longer trips, it should be frozen.  

Depending on the temperature, breast milk can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours after pumping, as recommended by the CDC. After that, refrigerate it to below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, where it will keep for up to four days.

It's not worth the risk of wasting breast milk by storing it incorrectly, as its shelf life is relatively brief. Here are some tips to keep your baby's breast milk safe while traveling, including how to keep it frozen and avoid thawing:

How to Transport Breastmilk for a Long Trip

While you might not run into any problems if you're taking a road trip, you'll still need to figure out how to transport frozen breast milk, plan for frequent stops, and locate a portable breast pump.

When transporting milk, it's important to keep the temperature of the room between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (and no higher), depending on the time of year and the weather. Up to 4 hours of storage time is possible at this temperature for milk.

Extra breast milk should be stored in the refrigerator if you plan on transporting it for an extended period of time. You'll need a cooler bag in your car if you want to transport milk in its original state.  

Keep the interior cool by using ice packs. If you're going to be using a cooler, fill it up to the top with ice to prevent any melting from occurring from air gaps.

If you want your milk to last until you get home, you should keep an eye on the temperature in your coolers, but you shouldn't open them too often or the milk might spoil.  

Maintaining a temperature of 40 degrees or lower in an RV or other large vehicle with a small refrigerator will keep perishables fresh for four days.

Great tips how to keep breast milk frozen while traveling, feeding your baby on the plane or road trips, and storing milk safely.

Tips for Bringing Frozen Breast Milk on a Trip

Breastfeeding and pumping while on the road can be challenging. Extra breast milk is a must if you want to keep your baby on their regular feeding schedule while traveling.  

Breast milk has a short shelf life (1-2 hours at room temperature, 1 day if refrigerated) after it has been previously frozen and thawed. It's not possible to re-freeze breast milk, so it's important to keep it frozen before long trips.

Even though it's not easy, it is possible to keep frozen foods frozen without a freezer. Firstly, you'll need a highly effective cooler because of the high temperatures inside the car. Now, refrigeration isn't enough to keep breast milk cool; it must be kept at subzero temperatures.

Great tips how to keep breast milk frozen while traveling, feeding your baby on the plane or road trips, and storing milk safely.

Also, make sure that the place you're staying has a freezer so that the milk can remain frozen while you sleep. If you need to freeze something for an extended period of time, your cooler won't do.

Other than bringing a good cooler, here are some ways to keep breast milk frozen on the road:

To keep breast milk frozen for longer than 12 hours while traveling, use dry ice. One must, however, exercise caution when storing milk.  

For instance, dry ice and milk bags shouldn't touch; the friction between the two could rupture the bags. Wrap the plastic bags in a towel and then place them in the ice.

Get Your Breast Milk Delivered If Your Trip Will Take More Than 12 Hours By Car, You May Want To Think About Getting Your Breast Milk Delivered Before You Leave. When you use Milk Stork, the milk will stay frozen until you get there.  

If you're going to be gone for a while and have a lot of breast milk, this is a fantastic idea. You'll have to spend more money to get the milk to its destination, but it should help reduce your anxiety levels.

Similar: How to Recover from a Drop in Breastmilk Supply

When Flying With Frozen Breast Milk

Great tips how to keep breast milk frozen while traveling, feeding your baby on the plane or road trips, and storing milk safely.

The airport has regulations regarding the transport and storage of breast milk. Be sure to check the rules of your specific airline and airport. When they board the plane, they should know exactly what is and is not permitted. Most airlines, however, are nursing mothers-friendly and will make every effort to accommodate them.

Breast Milk: Does it Make it Through Security at the Airport?

Whether or not you bring your baby with you, breast milk will be permitted through airport security. This is not subject to volume limits because it is considered medical equipment. Although it is still subject to screening

Breast milk is permitted on planes, but you must inform security and have it removed from your bags. While x-raying your milk is safe, you should keep a close eye on it to ensure that it doesn't become contaminated.

Methods for Keeping Milk Cold While Flying

You can bring empty bottles and a small cooler in your carry-on if you need to pump breast milk during your flight. will not cost money To save space, put breast milk for your baby in bags instead of bottles.

You are allowed to bring as much expressed milk as you like, but most airlines recommend bringing at least a few ounces. This means that if you intend to transport a significant quantity of breast milk, you may need to do so in advance via shipping.

If you need to transport breast milk on a flight, you can do so with the help of a cooler and some ice. It's generally acceptable to bring ice packs, gel packs, and other cooling accessories on a carry-on with most airlines, and you won't even have to go through a second security check. You'll be able to bring these things onto the plane with you in addition to your regular luggage and carry-ons.

Freezing breast milk is the safest way to transport milk, but it will require additional screening at the airport. You should keep the cooler closed until you reach your final destination, even if you have to take its contents out for security screening.

baby drinking bottle in car seat while traveling

How to Keep Your Baby Fed on the Road

Breastfeeding mothers who must pump milk before, during, or after an airplane flight may find the experience stressful and inconvenient.  

If you need to express breast milk during your flight, you can bring your breast pump in its own bag, which most airlines will allow you to bring as a carry-on item.

The challenge of finding a suitable location to pump while in flight.  

mom breastfeeding on airplane

If you're taking a flight with a baby, it's a good idea to bring some extra breast milk and either keep it cool or freeze it so that your baby has plenty to drink. You don't want to have a fussy baby and have to frantically pump milk before you can feed him.

Warming Breastmilk for Infants

Babies have to eat frequently, and they need to be fed warm breast milk. To travel with your breast milk for longer than four hours after pumping, you only need to keep it at room temperature.

Even though fresh milk from the cooler can be used to feed the baby, it may be too cold for him or her. Use a portable bottle warmer, such as the Baby's Brew, to warm water to a comfortable temperature for your baby without having to stop at a restaurant to ask for hot water.  

portable bottle warmer for travel

The Baby's Brew is a cordless, rechargeable bottle warmer that brings even frozen milk to the ideal serving temperature. It's a must-have item for any parent taking a baby on a trip.

Breastfeeding: The Top Nursing Tops

Essential Information for Moms Who Need to Fly While Breastfeeding

You need to be careful when traveling with frozen breast milk because it can spoil quickly and become harmful to your baby.

1. Establish an Appropriate Storage Period
Breast milk has a four-day shelf life in the fridge and a much longer one when frozen. However, keeping cool while on the road can be difficult. Although a cooler will help maintain a cool and fresh environment for the milk, any sudden changes in temperature can spoil it.

If the temperature rises above 41 degrees Fahrenheit, you can simply add ice packs at regular intervals. Since you can't re-freeze the thawed milk and you don't want to waste any, feed your baby until the bottle is empty.

If you need to pump breast milk while on the go, be sure to bring your breast pump and some containers. Coolers in the form of totes are also available to maintain milk's freshness. Freezer packs, breast pump accessories, batteries, and milk collection bags are some other items that may be useful. Pack a portable bottle warmer to thaw frozen breast milk before you leave on a trip with your baby.

Third, beware of contamination.
Avoid getting breast milk contaminated by keeping it clean while traveling. Be sure to use sterile milk bags if you plan on storing breast milk while traveling. Make sure that no one touches your breast milk during airport security checks. Only the test strips should be dipped into the milk. All pump components should be kept clean and sterile in between uses.

Make use of breast milk storage bags

Storing breastmilk in bags is the most convenient method, regardless of whether it is being kept in the fridge, freezer, or a combination of the three. Because of how little room they take up, these are ideal for transport. Pump directly into the bags rather than transferring milk from bottle to bottle with the help of adapters for your breast pump.

Similar: The Definitive Resource for Family Vacations with Infants and Toddlers

It is possible to successfully transport frozen breast milk by doing some homework on the rules and regulations governing your mode of transportation. If you want your milk to stay fresh throughout the trip, freeze it before you leave. While frozen milk can be transported more easily, it requires a high-quality cooler to stay frozen.

Conor O'Flynn of O'Flynn Medical is the author of this piece. Conor has been helping new mothers with breast pumps for over 20 years.

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