traveling with breastmilk by car

Traveling with Breastmilk by Car (or Plane): Important Tips

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Long journeys while still breastfeeding are quite the challenge. You have to stop every few hours to pump, you have to store the milk properly, and if you are traveling with your baby, you have to feed it as well. Sounds tuff, huh?

Well, the truth is, with the right tools, traveling while carrying breast milk is not that big of a deal. Oh, who are we kidding, it’s still a nightmare, but at least you will be able to deal with it like a boss. Now, let’s not lose any more time and take a look at all the items you need to get before setting out on your journey!

Items You Need When Travelling with Breastmilk by Car

Here’s everything you need to make sure the milk stays fresh throughout the whole journey.

  • A cooler with an icepack

Breastmilk that is freshly expressed can stay fresh for up to six hours at room temperature, so unless you are traveling with your baby and you know it will drink the milk within this period, you will have to get yourself a cooler. Coolers are pretty much the most important items to bring with you along your journey, as breast milk can easily go bad since it is extremely delicate.

Even if your baby is with you, the temperature in your car may not be suitable to keep your milk fresh. With a cooler, however, this won’t be a problem to worry about. Since we know you will probably have a lot of luggage with you, our personal favorite cooler is the Medela Breast Milk Cooler, which is portable and comes with a cooling ice pack, bag, and four bottles with lids.

  • Breast pump

If you are traveling with your little angel, you may choose to breastfeed while on the go, However, if you plan on bottling the milk, you will need a high-quality breast pump. Whether you have an electric, manual, or wearable breast pump, you need to make sure you take it with you!

Manual breast pumps are cheaper, but they also get the job done and are perfect for traveling because they are compact. One of the best manual pumps on the market is the Haakaa Manual Breast Pump. It is made of high-quality silicone and allows you to express milk with the power of natural suction.

Once you have pumped the milk, you can put it in the cooler to keep it cold enough until you arrive. We recommend using dry ice as it is more effective than normal ice. Also, don’t forget to get yourself a pumping bra. If you haven’t bought one yet, check out this amazing Simple Wishes Product.

  • Storage Bags and Pouches

Storage bags and pouches are the perfect alternatives to bottles. Not that bottles aren’t a good choice, but they require cleaning and sterilizing after every use, and this can be a problem while on the go. Storage bags, on the other hand, are not reusable, so you won’t have to bother cleaning them.

Storage bags come ready for use, and most of them, like the Kiinde Twist Pouches, can be connected directly to your pump. They also take less space when stored, so you can put a few of them in your cooler bag. Moreover, your angel can drink directly from them.

  • Bottles

Bottles are a must when you have a baby. However, they need to be sterilized after each use, and this can be really hard while on the road. Some coolers, like the Mendela cooler bag we recommended you, come with included bottles, so you won’t have to get additional ones.

If, however, you want to save yourself the hassle of cleaning and sterilizing each bottle after feeding your baby, you can opt for storage bags and pouches or for disposable bottle liners like the Playtex Drop-ins most parents prefer.

FAQs About Traveling With Breast Milk by Car

Q1. Should breastmilk be frozen while traveling?

No, you don’t have to keep it frozen; you simply need to make sure it remains cold throughout your journey. That’s why you should get yourself a cooler with icepacks. However, once you reach your destination, you should freeze the milk immediately. In case you are traveling with milk that’s already frozen, though, you have to make sure it stays frozen. Once the milk is thawed, it should not be refrozen!

Q2. How to feed my baby if I have frozen milk?

Thawing your breastmilk at home is easy, but what happens when you are traveling? The situation gets a lot more complicated! The best way to thaw and warm the milk is by using a bottle warmer. We highly recommend the Tommee Tippee Travel Baby Bottle Warmer!

The Tommee Tippee bottle warmer features a thermal flask where you can pour hot water and use it on the go and is compatible with most bottle sizes. The best part is it does not require electricity and is made of durable stainless steel.

See also: Leading Bottle Warmers for Formula and Frozen Breast Milk

Q3. Can I fly with breastmilk but without my baby?

The TSA guidelines state that even if your baby is not with you, you can still travel with breastmilk. The breastmilk must be packed in your carry-on luggage, and it should not be more than 3.4 ounces. You can also take your frozen gel packs, ice packs, and other accessories that will make sure the milk stays cold.

Q4. How long can the breastmilk stay defrosted?

Once defrosted, the breastmilk can stay up to 2 hours in a fridge or up to 2 hours at room temperature. Let’s say your breastmilk thaws while traveling, but it is placed in an insulated cooler with dry ice- this means it can stay like that for up to 24 hours.

Once you get to where you are headed, put it in the fridge and do not refreeze it. If, however, the 24 hours are almost over, better feed it to your baby and discard what has remained when the 24 hours are over.

See also: Top Rated Mini Fridge for Breast Milk Storage

Wrap Up

Traveling with breastmilk by car, especially when it comes to long distances, can be a real challenge. There are so many things you need to consider and so many items you have to take with you. If you want to keep your milk fresh, make sure you have all the items we listed in our article with you!

Since we love helping you, we also gave you a few suggestions you can quickly purchase online, such as the Medela breast milk cooler and the Haakaa manual breast pump. We really hope this article has been useful to you, and if that’s true, don’t forget to check our other baby-related pieces as well!


Was there anything you forgot to bring for the baby during your last trip?

Let us know in the comments below!

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