Liquid restrictions when flying with a baby can be confusing, as we’ve had it ingrained into us that only liquids under 100 mls are currently allowed in hand luggage. Luckily, airports are far more lenient when it comes to travelling with children.
And you’ll find that the liquid restrictions almost don’t apply to the littlest members of the family.
As an ex-flight attendant, one of the most common confusions I saw parents have was how much liquid, baby food, and formula they could take on board a flight. I know first-hand how stressful and challenging travelling with babies and toddlers can be.
So, I’ve put together this article (along with a few others) to help you understand the rules and regulations that are in place when it comes to baby liquids.
From the types of liquids that are allowed on planes to the best way to travel with baby liquids, food, and formula, here is everything you need to know about baby liquid restrictions before your next flight.
What Liquids Are Allowed On Planes With Babies?
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Formula, breast milk, drinks for toddlers under 2, and baby/toddler food are always allowed on planes with babies. You can also take formula and breastmilk cooling accessories like ice packs, gel packs, or freezer packs to keep your baby’s milk at the correct temperature.
UK airports don’t allow frozen breastmilk in hand luggage. So, the breast milk will need to be in liquid form in order for you to take it through security.
UK airports also require a baby to be present if you’re travelling with formula milk, cow’s milk, sterilised water, soy milk, and baby food.
You can find out more information on UK hand luggage restrictions regarding baby food and baby milk on the official UK government website.
If you’re flying from other countries into the UK, then the rules may be slightly different. For example, the United States of America allows formula and breast milk in hand luggage regardless of whether you’re actually travelling with your child. You can also take toddler drinks and baby/toddler food in carry-on baggage.
It’s always best to check the official government website of the country you’re flying from to ensure you’re meeting the correct requirements. The best way to do so is to Google “(country you’re flying from) restrictions on baby milk in hand luggage” and look for the website with .gov in the URL.
How Much Liquid Can I Bring On A Plane For My Baby?
Each airport AND/OR country will have their own rules and limits on liquids for babies. As a general rule you can take as much as you need for the duration of your journey. As everyone’s journey and transit time will be different there are no major restrictions. I have flown 24 plus hours with a baby to Australia and was allowed to bring plenty of formula for that – with spare too in case of any delays.
The London Heathrow website, for example, states that you can take up to two litres of baby food, sterilised water, prepared baby milk and expressed breast milk for the journey.
I have also put together an article on breastfeeding on a plane and airport security policies for breastmilk when flying without your baby. I go into detail about airports from all over the world and the amount of liquids they allow if your baby isn’t travelling with you. You can find that article here.
How Do I Transport Baby Food And Milk On A Plane?
If you want to take baby food or milk on a plane, then you can do so in both hand luggage and checked luggage.
No matter whether you’re taking the liquid in your hand luggage or placing it in your checked luggage, I highly recommend investing in a high-quality cooler and ice packs. I put together an article on coolers for travelling with breast milk for your convenience.
It’s important to remember that depending on where you’re travelling from, the rules on whether you can take frozen breast milk in hand luggage can vary. Some countries, like the USA, allow frozen breast milk in hand luggage, whereas other countries, like the UK, do not.
If you are not allowed but you wish to take frozen breast milk with you, then you can do so in your checked luggage.
When going through security at the airport, inform the officer that you’re travelling with breast milk, formula, baby drinks, or baby food. Be sure to remove the baby items from your bag so they can be screened separately.
What If I Am Flying With A Baby With Special Dietary Needs?
All baby foods and formulas are allowed on planes as they’re deemed medically necessary. You’re able to take formula, soya milk, and squeezable pouches, jars, and cans of baby foods on board your flight.
The same rules apply as if you were travelling with breast milk or cow’s milk. But again, it’s best to check the specific airline, airport, and country you’re flying from to confirm whether your baby must be present at the time of the security check.
What Are The Best Ways To Keep My Baby’s Liquids Cold Or Warm On A Plane?
The best way to keep your baby’s liquids cold on a plane is by investing in a high-quality cooler and ice packs.
Frozen ice packs or gel packs are allowed in hand luggage and will keep your baby’s liquids cool for the duration of your flight.
If you need to warm your baby’s liquids at any point on the flight, you can ask a member of the cabin crew for assistance. As an ex-flight attendant, I can confirm that they will be more than happy to warm the bottle/food in a cup of hot water for you.
Can I Take Unopened Baby Formula On A Plane?
You can take both open and unopened baby formula on a plane. The amount of formula you can take in your carry-on varies from country to country and from airport to airport.
For this reason, I highly recommend doing your research beforehand by checking the airport and the country’s government rules.
All countries and airports, however, will allow enough formula to last the plane journey. If you do need more formula or if the country you’re flying to doesn’t stock the specific formula your baby takes, then you can always pack tins and cartons in your checked-in luggage, as there are no restrictions on the amount you can take.
Check out my Travelling with Baby Formula Tips article for more information on all things baby formula.
Customs Regulations for Flying With a Baby and Liquid Restrictions
As all countries allow breast milk and baby formula on planes, you should face no trouble with customs when you reach your destination.
However, if you’re ever in doubt about the rules of a certain country, it’s best to declare the items and explain to customs officers that it is baby milk.
This same rule applies whenever you’re in doubt about any product you’re taking into another country, as declaring an item can prevent possible fines.
Tips For Flying With A Baby And Liquid Restrictions
After working on planes and doing my fair share of travel with babies and toddlers in tow, I’ve gained some game-changing tips and tricks for flying with a baby and liquid restrictions.
And don’t worry; to make your journey as smooth as possible, I’m here to share them with you.
- Some airlines allow you to request baby food onboard the flight. If your baby doesn’t have any special dietary needs, this could help cut down on the amount you’re carrying through the airport.
- Always research the airline, airport, and country you’re flying from to get up-to-date information on the amount of baby liquids you can take through security.
- You can take prepackaged baby food or your own homemade baby food in reusable pouches, containers, or jars.
- Purchase a high-quality cooler and ice packs to keep your baby’s formula, breast milk, cow’s milk, or baby food fresh for the entire journey.
- Pre-portion baby formula into a formula travel container to avoid mess.
- Place all baby food and liquids into zip-loc bags so that if there are any spillages, the ziploc bag will contain them.
- Pre-sterilise bottles before heading to the airport and place them in zip-loc bags. You can also take disposable sterilising bags and sterilising tablets if you wish.
- If you don’t want to carry formula or baby milk through the airport, you can preorder it to the Boots store location inside UK airports. I’ve put together a whole article with step-by-step instructions on this hack. And the best part is you can even order full-sized suntan lotions and toiletries if you’re only flying with a carry-on!
- Pack your formula and milk in an easy-to-access place so that when you’re going through security, you can remove them from your bag for screening.
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