How to Travel with Frozen Milk for Your Baby

Whether you travel with your baby by land, sea or air, she will need her milk sometime during the trip. Freezing is an excellent way to store breast milk prepared ahead of time, especially since it can last up to 12 months in your home freezer, according to Medela, a company that sells breast pumps and breastfeeding accessories. Frozen breast milk requires proper storage during travel, and since you can’t pack a refrigerator or freezer in your suitcase, an alternative cooling source is necessary.

Short Trips

  1. Place the frozen breast milk in an insulated cooler with ice packs when traveling on short trips, anything less than 12 hours.

  1. Transfer the frozen breast milk immediately to a refrigerator when you reach your destination, because it begins to thaw while sitting in the cooler. It stays fresh in the fridge for 24 hours, according to the City of Toronto's website.

  1. Throw away any of the previously frozen breast milk that your baby does not drink within the 24-hour time frame.

Dry Ice

  1. Pack frozen breast milk in dry ice when traveling for 12 hours or longer. Since dry ice doesn’t melt, it keeps the milk in its frozen state longer than ordinary ice.

  1. Wear eye protection and work gloves when placing dry ice in a cooler because the dry ice can cause frostbite if it comes in contact with your skin.

  1. Use a foam the cooler so that the vapors from the dry ice can escape.

  1. Remove frozen breast milk from the cooler with tongs.

Transportation Security Administration Recommendations

  1. Tell security that you plan to fly with frozen breast milk upon arrival at the airport.

  1. Pack only as much frozen breast milk as you need if you are traveling with it on an airplane.

  1. Carry any frozen breast milk that you'll need during your flight in your baby’s diaper bag with a few ice packs for quick access. This milk will thaw during your flight.

Defrosting Frozen Milk

  1. Defrost frozen breast milk for your baby in a refrigerator overnight when you reach your destination.

  1. Thaw frozen breast milk in a bowl of warm water if you do not have access to a refrigerator or if you need it quickly. Place the sealed container of frozen milk in a bowl of warm water -- making sure that the water line is below the container cap -- for approximately 20 minutes

  1. Remove the sealed container from the bowl after 20 minutes to check if it is indeed thawed. If not, repeat the process until the breast milk reaches room temperature.

  2. Warnings

    All frozen breast milk must go through security at your designated checkpoint. If you have frozen milk packed in dry ice, the airline may ask that the cooler be stored in a designated area during your flight.


    Never thaw frozen breast milk in a microwave. Not only could it change the composition of your milk, it can burn your baby if it gets too hot.


    Never store a cooler with frozen breast milk and dry ice in the passenger area of your vehicle. If you have a car, the cooler should be in the trunk. If you have a truck, store it in the truck bed.