As if traveling with a baby wasn't hassle enough, worrying about getting your baby gear through security might have you ready to forget flying altogether. Since flying is the fastest way to get you and your baby where you need to go, it pays to know the Transportation Security Administration's regulations for carting essentials through the security line -- including breast milk, baby formula or juice. If you're traveling overseas, check the regulations for the countries you're traveling to and from.
The TSA normally imposes a 3.4-ounce limit on liquids taken through security checkpoints. However, when it comes to the contents of baby bottles, there is an exception. You can take a reasonable quantity of liquid in baby bottles through security; the TSA presumably decides whether the amount you have is reasonable based on the length of your flight. You're encouraged to take just what you'll need to get you through the day. You can carry all the empty bottles through the security checkpoints that you want. If you're traveling without your baby, you can take expressed breast milk home in baby bottles.
How to Pack
To make things go more quickly once you reach the security area, separate baby bottles from other liquids before getting to the security scanner, the TSA advises. Pack all filled bottles together in one place -- they don't need to go into a plastic bag, according to the TSA website -- and let the officer at the checkpoint know that you have baby bottles containing liquid with you. The officer will inspect the bottles even after they pass through the scanner. You can pack baby bottles containing liquid in your checked luggage, but pressure changes during flight can cause them to leak, so put them into a leakproof container.
Your breast milk, formula or juice will need to pass through the X-ray scanner at the airport. X-ray scanning has no adverse effect on liquids in baby bottles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You won't have to taste the liquid or have your baby drink some of it. Even if you'd prefer to do this than send the bottle through the scanner, tasting it won't be allowed to substitute for going through the scanner. The TSA officer might open the bottles after scanning to visually inspect the contents.
If you don't want the hassle of carrying liquids through security, you can buy ready-made formula at many airports once you pass through security. Check with your airport before depending on this possibility, though. It's easiest to put powdered formula in the bottles and then buy bottled water to make formula once you pass through security. You can also take your breast pump through security and pump after going through to the departure gates if you don't feel comfortable breastfeeding on the plane and want to use a bottle for the flight.