Traveling with Breast Milk without Baby: Four TSA rules of Engagement

When my oldest daughter was 3-months-old I started with my company. It was the position that I had prayed for, so everything was perfect, right? Wrong! My daughter was 3 months old and I started a job that required me to be away from her 8-10 days out of the month and I WAS NURSING. How was this going to work? How would I get my milk home? How much could I bring on the plane? These were just some of the questions that ran through my head. Here is what you need to know!

  1. Breast Pump and Unfrozen Ice Pack: When you are departing from your home airport you will have no milk. This means that your ice pack that will be used to keep your milk cool coming back may not be frozen when you are headed to your destination. This is okay. When you arrive to the TSA screening area you should remove your pump from your carry-on along with the cooler and the ice pack (they are a package deal) for screening like you would do for a laptop. You should not encounter any problems here.
  2. Bring as much milk as you want: Liquid Gold is not subject to the 3.4-ounce liquid rules like all other liquids because of this you must declare your breast milk to the TSA agent upon entry to the screening area. I traveled with mason jars and stored my milk in those on shorter trips rather than plastic storage bags or bottles.
  3. Screening: You are not required to send your liquid gold through the x-ray machine nor should a TSA agent need to open your milk to test it. TSA does have a testing strip for your precious milk but you are not required to do that test. There is an alternative test that does not call for your milk to be open and you can request that test instead. If your milk is frozen it makes the screening process a lot faster.
  4. TSA agents are not created equal: I cannot tell you how many times I had to correct an agent on their protocol. Be knowledgeable about the rules so that you can inform them if needed. You should also carry the TSA Guidelines with you just in case they need a refresher course.

I know travel while nursing can be a daunting task but you can do it. I struggled in my nursing journey with my first child but 15 months after Yogi arrived we had Charlie and I finally found my rhythm. I nursed her and pumped for her while away for 16 months. You can do this! Get your hands free bra and know where your pumping stations are in your airport terminal and pump on Mama.


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