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Traveling with Baby Formula Tips

older baby with bottle of baby formula on a plane
(Image: Carrie Bradley/Flying With A Baby

I’ve had several people ask me about traveling with baby formula on a plane and sterilising during a flight (and at a hotel,) but especially on a long haul  24-hour flight with a baby.  (I’ve both breastfed and bottle fed with formula when flying with a baby on many long and ultra long haul flights; for breastfeeding tips on a plane, you may find this post useful.)

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about flying with baby formula plus lots of formula feeding travel tips; including,

  • Can you take formula powder on plane?
  • Can you go through TSA with powder formula?
  • How much formula am I allowed on a flight?
  • Is baby powder allowed in carry-on?
  • How to travel with formula on a plane.
  • How to warm formula up on the plane
  • How to sterilize baby bottles on the go.
A parent feeding a baby formula on a plane.

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Can you fly with baby formula?

Absolutely! We’ve done this lots of times and it’s permitted on every airline!

The first important thing to know about traveling with baby formula is that you are exempt from the normal hand baggage liquid rules which limit liquids at 100ml. Sometimes this is known as the 3-1-1 rule. This is only valid IF you are flying with an infant. You can also take formula in your hold luggage.

Can I bring water for baby formula on a plane?

Yes, to this too! If you are traveling with an infant, then you can bring sterilised water to make up your formula.

How much formula am I allowed on a flight?

You can bring as much formula as you need – whether that is powdered formula or ready prepared. The TSA and other countries government sites will verify this. So don’t worry, you can go through TSA with powder formula!

Traveling With Baby Formula On A Plane with parent putting milk powder in a baby bottle.

Is baby powder allowed in carry-on?

Absolutely, yes. Always put what you will need and some extra in your carry-on bag. We have been delayed before, so having extra is always a good idea.

How to travel with formula on a plane.

We have done it several ways. Taken both powder, and prepared cartons. I found both easy to do. With the powder I had about 7 bottles with me and all pre filled with the correct amount in, in case I was too tired and was measuring it out. I then put each bottle in a ziploc bag and wrote the feeding time on it in case I was just too exhausted.

A sectioned formula dispenser with little compartments can often contain enough with a pre-measured amount of powder for about 3 feeds, which will see you through most short and medium haul flights. These containers can also be used to house snacks or baby cereal if you are weaning too.

Regardless if you have formula cartons, or tins, you can easily put these in your suitcase or carry on. It’s usually a good idea to put the container in a Ziploc bag, and pad something soft around them, to minimise any breakages.

If your formula milk brand is not available at your destination and/or you are concerned about your baggage going missing, being delayed etc, it’s also worth considering having all the formula you need for your trip in your carry-on.

How do you warm up formula on a plane?

If you are wondering “How do you warm baby milk on a plane?” You can either bring a thermos flask with you filled with boiling water and make up your formula from that, or ask crew for some boiling water.

If the cabin crew are reluctant to bring boiling water into the cabin due to spills etc, you can also ask them if you can make up your bottle in the galley. I used a Tommee Tippee Flask/Thermos warmer.

Baby Formula and a baby bottle on a clean sterilised surface

How do you sterilise baby bottles when traveling with an infant?

Hopefully the following options will give you some ideas on how to sterilize baby bottles when flying.

You may want to bring a bottle brush and small bit of dish soap/washing up liquid to help clean the bottles before you sterilise them.

  • For sterilised baby bottles for travelling consider bringing some disposable sterilising bags. Bring a sterilising tablet, and then just add water (ask the crew if on a flight for the water) – any resealable bag will work or use microwaveable steam disposable sterilising bags. These are ready for use within 15 minutes when cold water sterilizing. When cold water sterilising you can use with water abroad which lasts for 24 hours. They can get a little heavy so either put them in a safe place on the plane or use at your destination.
  • If your flight is fairly short, bring plenty of bottles (allow for delays) which have been pre-sterilised. I opted this for a 12-hour flight with my then 11 week old. I put each bottle into a Ziploc bag with and labelled each one with the time her feed was due. (If you are travelling over 12 hours, then bringing this many bottles may not be possible so you will need to look at another option for sterilising bottles on a long haul flight.)
  • Another option is to consider using bottle liners, which cut down the number of bottles you need to bring. These are pre-sterilised and you simply replace for the next feed. Several brands liners double up as milk storage bags too but check all bottle liners to see if they fit your bottle type first!

I hope these formula feeding travel tips have helped you? Do let me know if you have any other suggestions for traveling with baby formula!

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Wednesday 22nd of November 2023

Hi, Im travelling alone with my baby for 14hrs.and Im planning to bring 10packs of powdered formula. Can I hand carry this or needs to check in? and are they gonna open it? pls help.thanks

Carrie Bradley

Monday 27th of November 2023

@sj, if ten tubs, I would put some in checked luggage but if 10 small pre measured servings, then no problem to have in your hand luggage.


Monday 27th of March 2023

Hi, we’re taking a long haul flight (25 hours) and will need a lot of bottles, milk, nappies etc. Does this all have to fit in our hand luggage allowance or can it be taken in addition to the hand luggage allowance?


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Hi I m going to travel for more than 14 hours in plane. I liked an idea of using bottle liners. But how could I sterilize the bottle nipples!

Carrie Bradley

Friday 15th of July 2022

Milton tablets - if bring a small tub with you you can ask for water on board and sterlise.

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