Travelling with a baby or toddler can be a bit of an ordeal, particularly travelling by plane and especially if you are flying long haul. Let’s face it – these are rarely fun, even for adults, let alone a child! One of the most difficult questions about flying with a baby is, how do you feed them?
Can you feed your little one, right there in the middle of the plane? Are you even allowed to take baby food or powdered formula milk on the plane with you – and if so, what is the legal limit?
We have put together a list answering these questions and more, as well as a few helpful tips and tricks to make travelling with a baby just a little bit easier.
- Can You Take Baby Formula Through The Security Point?
- How To Pack Baby Milk
- How To Feed Your Baby During A Flight
- Sterilising Baby Bottles During The Flight
- Plan for delays
- Final Thoughts
Can You Take Baby Formula Through The Security Point?
Can you bring baby formula on a plane?
That’s the big question, and the answer is a resounding yes.
Ordinarily any liquids in your carry-on bag are limited to 100ml per bottle, but baby formula milk and expressed breast milk is exempt. Provided you are flying with an infant, there is generally no cap on how much baby milk you can take on board.
Of course, there is no need to carry all your baby milk in your hand luggage; it is perfectly fine to stash some in the hold luggage as well.
Please note, however: you cannot take frozen breast milk through security; this must be stowed in the hold luggage.
UK Airports’ Security Policy
Officially, you can take as much baby milk in your hand luggage as you think you might need to feed your hungry baby during the flight. However, individual containers must not exceed a capacity of 2,000ml — so pack plenty, just spread it out into extra bottles.
Be prepared that containers of baby milk or breast milk are often screened separately, and a member of airport staff might need to open the containers in order to screen the liquids. This will happen at security before you’re through to Departures, so make sure you leave plenty of time.
Although these rules tend to apply when flying from any airport in the UK, it’s worth checking individual airport security rules in advance if this is your first time travelling with a baby.
How To Pack Baby Milk
Rule number one: frozen breast milk must be packed in the hold luggage, no exception. Otherwise, it is perfectly fine to carry breast milk (which is unfrozen) or other baby milk in your hand luggage.
Just like you would for a day out at home, prepare at least one baby bottle in advance. The chances are your little one will have guzzled it long before you get on the plane, but at least that’s one feed taken care of. Otherwise, you can simply pack your formula containers in your hand luggage – we recommend putting them inside a plastic bag in case of breakage.
Alternatively, you can measure out the powdered baby milk in advance using an easy-to-acquire formula dispenser. Many parents opt to do this when travelling with a baby as on board the plane it can be too cramped and hard to concentrate.
For true ease and convenience, we personally always fly with the ready-to-drink formula bottles from Aptamil, Hipp, Kendamil or Cow & Gate. These are already sterile, can be used at room temperature, and allow for an easy ‘pour-and-go’ situation.
Pack enough baby food to last
When travelling with a baby, you are probably thinking about making sure you have enough baby milk to last the flight, enough powdered formula sectioned out, and enough sterilised water and baby bottles.
If you are travelling to a country where you might struggle to find your usual brand of formula, consider packing extra in both your carry-on bag and hold luggage. Making sure you have enough baby food to last as much of the trip as possible is especially important if your baby is a fussy eater or has any known food intolerance.
How To Feed Your Baby During A Flight
Having a ready-made baby bottle (or a couple) in your hand luggage is the quick and easy solution, and a good idea in case you need to feed your little one during take-off or landing.
Alternatively, all airlines should have the facilities to help you make up powdered formula — again, it’s best to check this before you fly if you plan on making use of these facilities.
Making up formula during the flight
When travelling with a baby, you are permitted to take sterilised water in your hand luggage for the purpose of mixing baby milk. Many parents opt to take warm water using insulated baby bottles.
If you decide not to carry on warm water – or you run out – ask a member of the cabin crew for hot water. Many airlines have a policy restricting flight attendants from carrying hot or boiled water through the cabin, but they will be able to mix formula for you or help you do it yourself in the galley. (This is when measuring your formula in advance turns out to be really handy.)
Ready-made formula milk
This quick and easy baby food comes in small, single-portion cartons or bottles, as well as a larger ready-to-pour bottle. Ready-made formula is an easy solution to feeding your baby during long-haul flights because you do not need to think about carrying hot or sterilised water or measuring out the formula – especially when you are tired from travelling!
Ready-made baby milk is perfectly fine at room temperature, but if your little one likes it warmed, you can take a travel bottle warmer with you to use on the plane. Alternatively, ask a member of the cabin crew to help warm it for you.
It is not advised that you store warmed milk in an insulated bottle bag for more than a couple of hours, as this will encourage germs to breed and can make your baby quite unwell.
Sterilising Baby Bottles During The Flight
Don’t panic! This sounds like a hassle, but there are actually several ideas to try which can make sterilising your baby bottles mid-flight much easier than you might think.
Sterilising in advance
Depending on the length of your flight, you might get away with sterilising enough bottles in advance and stashing each one in its own sealed food bag. If your flight is too long for this, there are a few other ideas you can try…
Sterilised bottle liners
Pre-sterilised bottle liners are an easy cheat for sterilising your baby bottles on board the flight. Each liner goes inside the bottle but collapses as the baby drinks, so no air bubbles can get into their tummy.
You will need to sterilise the teat before each feed, but that’s easier than sterilising the whole bottle, right?
Pre-sterilised bottles and single-use teats
You can also buy sterilised disposable bottles with single-use teats to use once and throw away. The good thing is that these are recyclable and BPA free; the not-so-good news is that they are a little pricey.
Intended for using cold water to safely sterilise baby bottles, these sterilising tablets are easy to use both during travel and when you have reached your holiday destination.
We’d recommend taking a few in your carry-on to use mid-flight and let the rest travel in the hold.
Plan for delays
Delays happen… and they aren’t fun. When travelling with a baby, a flight delay can pose an extra problem if you have carefully planned out the exact number of feeds you might need.
We recommend packing with a contingency plan.
Have a little sterilised water on hand and an extra supply of powdered formula – and even if you hope to have enough sterilised bottles, pack a few bottle liners or a couple of disposable bottles, too, just in case.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry; an unsettled baby coupled with flight delays isn’t going to be a happy experience for anyone.
Taking your baby or toddler on a plane for the first time can seem daunting – or even downright terrifying! Actually, taking them for the second or third time might not seem much better, either. Travelling with a little one does not need to be quite such an ordeal, however.
You can help yourself by planning ahead. We have a packing list for little ones that is worth a read before you finalise what you take on your trip.
Prepare your chosen formula as much as you can – whether you choose ready-made cartons, or pre-measured power to mix on the plane. Pack warm, sterilised water and a couple of different sterilising options if you are boarding a long-haul flight.
In flight and airport staff are used to parents travelling with little ones, and most are happy to help in any way they can. Make sure you know in advance any exact rules about taking baby milk on the plane because yes, you can absolutely take enough baby food to keep your little one fed – but there are still rules and abiding by them now can save a lot of stress on the day.