Boutique Bummis

The art of being parents…naturally!

Beyond the x-ray: travelling with your breastmilk?

on June 17, 2011

Simply by keeping an ear open while at Bummis headquarters, I overhear all kinds of interesting stories… and some that are a little disturbing. Recently I heard about a mom who had her breastmilk confiscated at the airport, just before boarding her flight. What?? Is it legal to confiscate a bottle filled with breastmilk? Jennifer Welch, our lactation consultant, wanted to know. She shared the fruits of her research with us, and the answer is: no, this practice is not legal. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You are allowed to take breastmilk on the plane so long as it is in a bottle, is separated from other liquids, the bottle is sealed in a plastic bag (like a Ziploc), and you declare it right away to the baggage control agent.
  • If you won’t need the milk during the flight, you can pack it in your checked baggage, no problem. Note that breastmilk will keep for up to 24 hours if sealed in a plastic bag and kept in contact with an ice pack.
  • If you need to bring breastmilk in your carry-on baggage, you will have to allow it to be passed through the x-ray scanner, as a result of security measures in place to screen for explosive liquids. X-rays are not dangerous for breastmilk: the milk remains safe to drink, and the nutrients are not compromised by the scan.

Mothers who are travelling by air have every right to bring breastmilk on the plane. Before leaving on your trip, you may want to print the list of restricted items from The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, or the Transportation Security Administration (for travel in the U.S.). This way you’ll have the evidence on-hand in case you run into a problem. There’s no reason why a mother shouldn’t be able to feed her baby while travelling, especially during a long flight! Have you ever encountered a similar situation?

Written by Léa, translated by Maeghan.

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