It’s stressful enough flying with a baby, so before you turn up to the airport you should definitely know the rules when it comes to bringing baby formula, baby food, and other essentials for your baby on a plane.
According to TSA regulations, you can bring baby formula on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags. This includes powdered, concentrated liquid, ready to use formula, and once the formula has been mixed.
But is there a quantity limit for how much you can bring?
What are the rules when flying internationally?
Is it possible to warm formula up when flying?
Let’s find out.
Can You Bring Baby Formula on a Plane?
Carry on Bags
The TSA have a rule called the 3-1-1 rule in place that prohibits passengers from bringing any liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry on if they are in containers larger than 3.4oz/100ml.
However, the TSA make exceptions for medically necessary items, including baby essentials like formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food.
So you can bring baby formula and other baby food and drink items on a plane in your carry on as long as you inform the TSA officer that you are traveling with these items, even if they exceed 3.4oz/100ml.
You must remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from your other belongings.
You can also pack baby formula in your checked bags.
No additional screening process is required as it is for bringing baby formula in your carry on bag.
This also applies for items, such as breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food
The Same Rules Apply on International Flights
Regardless if you’re flying domestically within the USA or to Canada, Mexico, the UK, Europe or any other country worldwide, you will find that the same rules apply.
So regardless of what country you are flying from, to or within, you can bring baby formula and other essential baby food and liquid items in your carry on in containers larger than 3.4oz/100ml.
Additional screening will also be required whereby you inform the airport security officer that you are travelling with an item that exceeds the standard 3.4oz/100ml, which you will then place in a separate bin for screening.
There is No Set Limit for How Much You Can Bring
The TSA do not state a specific limit for how much baby formula you can bring in your carry on, but as long as you aren’t travelling with a huge quantity, you will be fine.
The same will apply worldwide.
Don’t Worry About X-Ray Machines
The X-Ray machines at airports will not adversely affect any baby formula you want to bring with you on a plane.
If you would still prefer not to have the formula x-rayed, you can inform a TSA officer who will take additional steps to clear the formula, and you may also have to undergo additional screening procedures for yourself and your belongings in your carry on bag.
How to Pack Baby Formula for Air Travel
Here are 5 tips to make sure that bringing baby formula on a plane on your next flight goes as smoothly as possible.
- Prepare bottles ahead of time, so you have less to worry about at the airport.
- Warm bottles ahead of time so you don’t have to deal and wait for anyone else to help you.
- Make sure that you inform a TSA officer that you are traveling with formula at the beginning of the screening process.
- Make sure that the formula is easy to reach, as it will require separate screening.
- To expedite the screening process, pack formula in clear, translucent bottles and not plastic bags or pouches.
- Pack sterilizing equipment, as well as a formula dispenser, bottle liner, bottle warmer, bottle soap and brush, and burp cloth if necessary.
How to Warm Formula Up When Flying
There is no need to worry about warming up baby formula when you’re flying.
You can either bring a thermos flask that has already been filled with boiling water, or ask a flight attendant for some boiling water.
Before you board the plane, you can also ask for hot water from a store or counter that sells drinks at the airport and then bring it onto the plane.
If the flight attendant is unwilling to bring boiling water to you in case of spills, you can make up the bottle in the galley.
You Can Also Bring Milk for Your Baby
While you are usually not allowed to bring liquids in quantities greater than 3.4oz/100ml in your carry on, there is an exception for milk if it is for your baby.
This is because breast milk is considered to be a medically necessary liquid
As Well as Baby Food
According to the TSA, you can bring baby food on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
This includes all types of baby food, including puree pouches.
The only thing to note is that the TSA state that baby food is allowed in “reasonable quantities” if packed in your carry on.
A Diaper Bag Won’t Count as a Carry On
If you’re planning on packing baby formula in a diaper bag, it’s good to know if it is counted as a carry on or personal item.
In the USA and Canada, almost all the major airlines do not count a diaper bag towards your carry on allowance.
Some airlines will count a diaper as a carry on, personal item, or neither.
We go into more detail in our Does a Diaper Bag Count as a Carry On article.
Lindsay is a former travel agent and current travel enthusiast and writer.
After backpacking across Europe after college, she caught the travel bug and has since visited over 100 countries (with more planned!).
With her extensive travel experience and industry knowledge, Lindsay is well-versed in all things surrounding commercial air travel, from TSA regulations to finding the best flight deals.
Lindsay's love of travel has led to recognition by being mentioned or quoted in major publications, such as Insider and Trip Savvy.
Get in touch with Lindsay by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org