There are several options available to moms when traveling with breast milk. Breastmilk storage can come in the form of a disposable bag, reusable bag, glass bottle, or container. Breast milk coolers are available to always keep pumped milk cool and fresh. Best of all, pumps are classified as medical devices while traveling.
Traveling With Breastmilk in a Vehicle
If you are exclusively feeding your baby pumped breast milk, then there are two feeding options. The first option is to take a portable breast pump and pump fresh breast milk on an as-needed basis. The other is by taking refrigerated or frozen milk in a container for later use. Both methods have their pros and cons. Moms must decide which works best for them for their trip.
There are many breast pumps which are portable and lightweight. They make travel very easy, and some are so discrete, that no one knows you are even expressing breast milk.
Many pumps allow you to express directly into storage containers so they can be frozen if need be. Some systems come with stackable bottles which save on storage space while traveling.
This is a light, hands free breast pump with a 1200mAh capacity rechargeable battery. Moms don’t have to hold on to the device to express milk- the pump does it for you!
All parts are BPA-free and composed of food-grade materials. Harmful chemicals will not leach into breastmilk. It will be completely safe for your baby to digest. The backflow protection system prevents milk from going into the motor and keeps the breast milk clean.
The Ranyb Hands Free Breast Pump comes with three modes and nine levels of smart suction capabilities. You can adjust it based on personal preference.
The system imitates a baby’s natural sucking frequency, so if you are alternating between breast and bottle, this will enhance a natural flow without feeling mechanical. It is also easier to find the proper suction power to obtain more milk in a shorter duration.
It is very quiet and will not disturb a sleeping baby. There are three sizes of flanges with soft edges made from food-grade silicone. The pump has a 180 ml capacity.
- Comes with 19 mm, 21mm and 24 mm flanges
- Comfortable and pain free
- Easy to clean in dishwasher (top rack only)
- USB charging capabilities
- Some moms reported milk spills
The Elvie Double Breast Pump is light, small and quiet. The pump is completely silent which means that no one will even know you are pumping.
The pump is worn inside a standard nursing bra making it discrete and hands free. There are only five parts to clean on this breast pump and it takes seconds to assemble the product. There are no cords involved, either.
The Elvie Pump app allows mothers to monitor their milk volume with real time tracking. The history of pumping can be accessed for each breast and the pump can be controlled remotely.
The pump is completely responsive by switching from simulation to expression when let down. It will pause when the bottle is full.
- Virtually undetectable and discrete
- Seven settings of intensity for sucking
- Custom fit with three breast shield sizes
- Micro USB charges in two hours
- BPA free and dishwasher safe
- Reusable bottles
- Some issues with suction
- May have to buy a nipple shield for smaller breasts
The second method is by expressing milk and storing it in a storage container. To transport the milk, you can pack it in a breast milk cooler to keep them fresh and to eliminate spoilage.
Breast milk coolers come equipped with ice packs and can hold 4-6 bottles at a time. Ensure the ice pack is completely frozen and put it in the cooler just as you are about to leave for maximum effect.
Breast milk can be stored in a cooler for 24 hours before spoiling. This should be enough for an entire trip.
Moms can also use a cooler to transport breast milk, and you can use a cooler meant for barbeques to transport your milk. Keep in mind that opening the cooler will increase the inside temperature, so it shouldn’t be continually opened.
Considerations for Frozen Breast Milk
Depending on the time travelled, you may want to consider packing the containers with dry ice. If you are not using dry ice, make sure the cooler is full. If you don’t have enough milk expressed and don’t want to use a lot of ice, freeze water in zip-top plastic bags. The cooler needs to be completely full for the milk to remain frozen for extended periods.
Keep the cooler closed and avoid opening it until you are at your destination. If the cooler is small or soft, pre-chill it before leaving.
These methods should allow the milk to remain frozen. If they have thawed, they will need to be consumed within one day or discarded.
Traveling By Plane
When traveling, breast pumps are considered medical devices. So, they don’t count as carry-on luggage. You may want to confirm with your airline prior to departure if this is still in effect just to be safe.
If you are flying in the United States, there is an absence of how much breast milk you can carry. Most websites classify it as simply a reasonable amount. If you want to take a substantial amount (which would probably be a day or trip’s supply), you can ship it to your destination or check it.
You can also use a portable breast pump and express on the plane as well.
The best way to pack breast milk for a flight is by using a breast milk cooler. There are coolers that can contain up to six eight-ounce bottles which means if filled to the top, they can hold 60 ounces of breastmilk.
During screening, take the milk out. Inform the person screening you that you are carrying breast milk and have a pump. They will usually inspect the milk by x-ray to ensure nothing is hidden inside or concealed.
If you require ice, such as when there are extended delays or for long flights, most flight attendants will provide you with ice or check with a restaurant inside the airport terminal.
Transporting Milk in Bottles/Bags
There are several ways to transport breast milk. You can use bags which are disposable and can be packed flat, containers that can be easily converted when you need to use them, and stackable containers to save space.
In terms of a container, moms will want one that closes tightly, that can be frozen, if necessary, that keeps milk fresh, is free from harmful chemicals, and will not spill.
Containers should be BPA free and consist of food-grade materials. This is to prevent any harmful chemicals from leaching into the breast milk once heated.
Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags are strong and allow moms to freeze their breast milk. They have a double zipper seal to prevent leaks and a reinforced seam.
Moms can pump directly into the bags by using the Lansinoh pumps or can be used with their adaptor on many major brands.
- BPS and BPS free
- Tear away seal
- Label can be written on to capture date
- Pour spout
- Stores 6 oz of milk
- Some users report that seams break along the side when defrosting
- Can only be used once
Haakaa Silicone Storage bags are reusable bags made of food grade silicone. Users can label their bags, and they can be stored standing upright or laying down.
They are completely safe and prevent leaks. Storage bags can be used in the freezer and fridge. They are BPA free, phthalate-free and PVC free. Harmful chemicals will not enter into your baby’s milk when heated.
They are also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Once breast milk is expressed, the milk can be poured into the bag. Then, push in the leak proof stopper to seal. When it’s time to feed the baby, put the bag in warm water to heat it then it can be prepared for consumption.
Once breastfeeding has stopped, parents can continue to use them to transport paste food, juice, or rice cereal.
- Easily stacked and stored
- Usable for other purposes
- Not easy to hand clean
Max Strength Pro offers leak proof bottles to store breast milk and is completely safe. Their bottles are BPA free. They are freezer, fridge, and dishwasher safe. While most bottles are designed to be used with your breast pump, these are compatible with most major breast pumps without an adaptor.
The sets come with lids and built-in seal rings to maintain freshness and to prevent leaks.
- Can store up to eight ounces of milk
- Can be sterilized
- Leak proof
- Don’t lay flat
- May take up room
- Not compatible with Spectra
- Measurements aren’t completely accurate
When traveling and trying to find the right storage bottle for your breast milk, you need to consider several factors.
You need to consider the duration of your trip. This affects your storage and transport options. Both storage containers and coolers go hand in hand in preserving the freshness of the breast milk.
For longer trips, invest in a breast milk cooler as it will keep the milk fresher for a longer duration. They are easier to pack and tend not to cool off/defrost as quickly as a regular cooler. Moms can pack in several bottles that can be used during a 24-hour day trip without issue.
In terms of storage bags, there are several options available. Moms can express into storage bags, label them, and place them in the freezer. They lay flat and take up less space.
However, many of them are disposable. So while it may be ideal if you are traveling overseas or you don’t want to deal with storage bags, you will spend more money than on reusable containers.
There are reusable storage bags as well that pack flat for easy travel. They are dishwasher safe, and completely safe. However, because of their compact nature, some users may find it difficult to clean.
Regular storage containers are available that are completely sealed to prevent leaks. They prevent taking an extra bottle as many of them require putting on a nipple after being heated. The storage containers can easily be stored in a cooler and retain freshness well. The only downside is that they take up space, and you can’t stack them.
Be sure to read the product guidelines carefully as well. Not all containers are compatible with all breast pumps. Some are designed specifically for certain models and will not work with others.
Nanobebe is another product that offers stackable storage containers that are small, lie flat and heat evenly. However, you are still stuck transporting bottles. Their bottles are wonderful, stackable and prevent colic. However, it is unknown as to whether they are freezer safe.
The best freshness is milk that is freshly expressed. Hands-free breast pumps are quite portable, quiet, and discrete. They pump easily into containers for quick storage or feeding on the road.
There are many options for feeding your baby while traveling. Whether you are traveling in a car, train or airplane, there are a variety of storage options available to you.
Make sure that whatever you choose that suits your lifestyle, is easy to use, and is fully sealed to prevent leaking. It should also be free of harmful chemicals to keep the baby safe.