As you open up that brand new crisp bottle of water you remember you have to go through security for your flight and will have to throw the water away. Despite our frequent flying, sometimes I still forget this and it’s the worst! Do you have a little one with you? If so, don’t throw it away. You may have another option…

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It took us an embarrassing amount of flights before we found out this tidbit, so I want to share the intel to make sure all other parents are aware. 

The infamous 3-1-1 liquids rule (where you can only bring liquids of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less in your carry-on) does NOT apply in the same way when a baby is involved. You can bring some liquids on board for your baby. Even if it’s really for you, say it’s for the baby. Note, this may not apply when it comes to Starbucks and alcohol…

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Breast milk

  • The TSA guidelines read, “Formula, breast milk and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities in carry-on bags. Remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You do not need to travel with your child to bring breast milk.”
  • You can carry breast milk with you through security and on the plane with or without your baby present.
  • You can bring expressed breast milk in a bottle through security with your baby.
  • Breastfeeding/pumping moms traveling without their babies can also bring breast milk. If you need to pump while away from your baby, no need to dump it or ship it, you can carry it back with you.
  • You can travel with breast milk fresh or frozen, but it’s typically easier to keep it in liquid form. If frozen, you have to keep it frozen solid (you have to use breastmilk within 24 hours after it has defrosted), which may be difficult while traveling. Freshly expressed breast milk can stay at room temperature for about 4 hours, and for days if kept cold enough. You can keep it cold with ice packs, or I brought ziplock bags and asked various restaurants for ice. When it would start to melt, I would get fresh ice.
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Other liquids (and formula) for your baby/toddler

  • You can bring water, juice, milk, etc. for your baby or toddler through security and on the plane.
  • You do not need to throw away liquids for a baby/toddler before passing through security.
  • You can bring a packaged drink/bottle (unopened or opened), or baby’s own personal bottle/cup through security.
  • It’s best if you remove the drink from your carry-on and place it in a bin separately. They will likely ask, “Is this for the baby?“ And they will have to test it.
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Next time, bring the milk, water or whatever will keep your baby/toddler happy and comfortable on the flight. No need to throw it away, or limit yourself to what is sold in the airport. 

Pin it for later

Don’t forget to pin this for future reference, and share it with any friends!

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