TSA and Breast Milk

As the number of women business travelers grow, the number of new mothers who are traveling for work will also grow. Many of these new mothers are breastfeeding their children, and have certain challenges while traveling. While some choose to pump and dump, others need to take the milk back to their baby. We all know about the TSA’s liquids policy, but how does it apply to breast milk? After a discussion with a friend who is a new mother, I decided to research the official TSA policy. In addition to finding a few well publicized goofs, I found the actual information I was looking for.

The key points:

  • Breast milk is considered a medicine. Medicines can be carried onto planes, in amounts greater than 3.4 oz, as long as it is declared to the screening agent.
  • If you are taking medicines, you can also take a frozen gel pack with you to keep the liquid cold, if needed.
  • Therefore, you can carry on breast milk, with a gel pack, as long as you declare it.

Also, the TSA web site states:

When carrying formula, breast milk, or juice through the checkpoint, they will be inspected, however, you or your infant or toddler will not be asked to test or taste breast milk, formula, or juice. Our Security Officers may test liquid exemptions (exempt items more than 3 ounces) for explosives. Officers may ask you to open the container during the screening process.

When traveling with your infant or toddler, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of baby formula, breast milk, or juice are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary, if you perform the following:

  1. Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.
  2. Declare you have the items to one of our Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
  3. Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening and Officers may ask you to open a container.

All of this being said, I recommend that you print out the following pages on Traveling With Breast Milk and Traveling With Medications just in case anyone questions you. And, as we all know that the TSA is not the most consistent agency, don’t be surprised if they are unfamiliar with the policy. Unfortunately, I’ve read about multiple episodes of TSA agents making passengers throw out their breast milk. It’s not super common, but well publicized when it happens. To avoid this as best you can, know your rights! And keep us updated if anything crazy does happen.


  1. i appreciate your attention to issues that young women business travelers face – i, too, like mimi am over 55, and welcome the younger folks into the ‘work’ – let’s make it work FOR and WITH us and not always be stuck with what works for the men.

  2. This is VERY helpful, as I will be traveling to China with a baby AND a toddler. It would be nice to take some juice on the plane with us without having to throw it out or having them call the calvary. LOL

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