Q: My job requires me to travel for business. Can I bring my breast pump and pumped milk with me through airport security?
Air travel within the United States is regulated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which allows breast milk and breast pumps to travel through domestic airport security. We recommend printing out the TSA procedures for traveling with children and policy on breast milk when traveling in case you experience any resistance from TSA bringing breast milk through security with you. Make sure you expand the section in the first link to review the section titled “Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice”. It explicitly says that you “do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.”
Any ice packs you bring to keep milk cold must be completely frozen in order to bring them through security. They will likely be confiscated if they are still in liquid form. If you need ice and are worried about bringing ice packs, you can always get ice from an airport restaurant located past the TSA checkpoint.
One of our wonderful Breastfeed Chicago members, Danit Schleman, wrote a very helpful piece for our blog full of tips for traveling with a breast pump.
Your experiences bringing breast milk through airport security will vary when traveling internationally. You shouldn’t have any trouble bringing your milk and pump through the domestic airport checkpoint at your departure, but you may run into trouble at Customs or while going through airport security checkpoints in other countries. We recommend reaching out to a La Leche League group located within the country you are visiting to see if they know about airport breast milk handling at your destination.
Going back to work and breastfeeding? This question is part of Breastfeed Chicago’s Ultimate Back-to-Work Breastfeeding Guide. Read the full guide to help the transition go smoothly!