Milk Storage and Handling While Traveling
Expressed milk should be stored in clean, tightly sealed containers. Any container may be used if it can be thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water and if it seals tightly. Many mothers choose to use infant feeding bottles with solid caps to store milk.
Milk may be stored and transported in refrigeration, or frozen in dry ice. Freshly expressed milk is safe for infant consumption even when stored at room temperature for up to 6–8 hours.
Fresh milk may be safely stored in an insulated cooler bag with frozen ice packs for up to 24 hours. Refrigerated milk can be stored for 5 days.
For additional storage options see Proper Handling and Storage of Human Milk.
Once milk is cooled, it should remain cool until the milk is consumed. Refrigerated milk can subsequently be frozen, however once frozen milk is fully thawed it should be used within one hour. Because of these requirements, a breastfeeding mother needs to consider access to safe storage options in making her decision whether to keep her expressed milk to bring back to her infant or child, or to discard it before returning home.
Depending upon the destination, if no reliable milk storage is available, a mother traveling without her nursing infant or child may need to discard her expressed milk. In such a situation it is important to recognize the value of regular expression while separated to help her maintain her milk supply until she and her nursing infant or child can be reunited, regardless if milk is stored.
No special precautions are necessary for airport security screenings while breastfeeding. A breastfeeding mother expressing her own milk while traveling does not need to declare her milk at U.S. Customs when returning to the United States. Electric breast pumps are considered personal items during air travel and may be carried on and stowed underneath the passenger seat, similar to a laptop computer, purse, or diaper bag.