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We have a three-month-old child and several long haul flights coming up (the shortest is five hours, the longest is twelve) and I'm mindful of problems with transporting expressed milk. There are restrictions in many airports on taking liquids through security.

Since we're close to the airport we're departing from, and we have an insulated bag, I'm wondering if we could freeze the milk. I'm interested to know if doing so circumvents restrictions on liquids (since, strictly speaking, frozen breast milk is solid, not liquid), and also if I'm creating other problems down the line, when I come to defrost and use the milk.

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many airlines and airports now allow flying with baby food products including milk, but may ask you to prove it is real by tasting it –  Rory Alsop Oct 4 '13 at 9:19
    
@RoryAlsop: That has never happened to us, and we've travelled a lot with our baby. I've heard rumours only of overzealous moronic US security personnel making such requests. –  Dave Clarke Oct 5 '13 at 7:05
    
Yeah - happened in various countries in Europe and the US. I agree it is utterly moronic. –  Rory Alsop Oct 5 '13 at 7:12
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3 Answers 3

One solution is to carry the milk in the breasts.

Airports we've experienced (not in the USA) have been very reasonable about breast milk. You don't need to freeze it to make it solid, you don't need to sneak it in. Just let security know you have it and they should let you through.

They will be happy on the flight to warm up the milk for you to a suitable temperature, though you probably need to defrost it yourself.

Realistically, though, carry and use the milk from the breasts. You will simply avoid all of the problems of carrying bottles and so forth.

FYI: we did the double long haul from Europe to Australia with a little one (about 10 months old, on solids, but still breastfeeding), and didn't bring any bottles with us onto the plane. On shorted flights we have, but only to ensure that milk was available when taking off and landing – to help relieve pressure in baby's ears!!

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Thanks - I agree that transporting breast milk within breasts is the simplest solution. However, when you've got to transport a child within a car seat after the flight, providing milk directly from a breast is quite difficult for most anatomies. This is one of the issues I'm trying to solve for by transporting frozen milk. –  JamesF Oct 30 '13 at 2:20
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From TSA Guidelines:

Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. Officers may need to open these items to conduct additional screening.

We've taken extra liquids several times, meeting these requirements. You just have to tell them before you go through security, and it helps if it's in a separate bag. They define "reasonable quantities" as enough to get you through the flight, plus extra if you get stuck overnight at a layover or something. Depending on the officer, you may or may not have a problem trying to bring an entire vacation's worth onto the plane.

So freeze it if it happens to be more convenient for you. It won't affect screening either way.

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I apologize for the US-centric answer, as I just noticed you're located in Singapore. However, I believe such standards are internationally coordinated to a certain degree, as planes from one country need to meet certain standards if they expect to be allowed to land in another country. –  Karl Bielefeldt Oct 4 '13 at 19:35
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I recently travelled with a 9 month old from US to Europe (4 flights total 2 in each continent). We were carrying almost all possible types of baby food (jars and pouches) and both ready made formula in liquid form and powder, as well as water for the baby. Both the TSA and European authorities were very good doing a manual inspection of the items, and giving us the option of either opening the food (not really practical) or agreeing to a pat down for one parent.

Based on that experience I do not think you would have any problem with breast milk, either frozen or just chilled.

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