Have you ever prepared for a trip and worried about how, exactly, to get your breast milk through TSA with as little hassle as possible?  We’re here to help.

TSA rules about breast milk at first seem quite clear on their website.  In airports in the United States, you can carry unlimited amounts of breast milk through security checkpoints, even without the baby with you:

"Formula, breast milk and juice in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or
100 milliliters are allowed in carry-on baggage and do not need to fit
within a quart-sized bag. Separate formula, breast milk and juice
from other liquids, gels and aerosols limited to 3.4 ounces
You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk."

But there are a few things to point out:

  • You should always notify a TSA officer that you are traveling with breast milk and a pump
  • We recommend asking the TSA agent if they would like you to take out your breast pump
    for examination
  • TSA has the right to test breast milk for explosives, which can take nearly an hour
  • According to the TSA rules, technically only the passenger can open and close breast
    milk bottles
  • You have the right to ask for an alternative screening when carrying breast milk, but that screening may involve pat-downs and bag inspections

The biggest problem?  While the TSA has worked hard to improve its guidelines on breast milk, their guidelines for gel and water-based ice packs are unclear – and each TSA agent is under authority to make a call themselves.  Gel and water-based ice packs can be confiscated if they are partially thawed, leaving you to fend for ice in the airport to keep your breast milk cold while in transit.

Our ice pack tip is to switch over to foam "ice" packs when taking breast milk through TSA.  Not only are they TSA-friendly, but they also stay cold longer than conventional gel or water ice packs.  You can buy TSA-friendly foam "ice" packs in Milk Expressed's store.


IMPORTANT:  This advice only applies to air travel within the United States.  When traveling internationally, you must
comply with all local breast milk security laws.