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Travels with Baby Tip #25: Bring on the Bottles

For any air passenger, the prospect of spending unexpected extra 2 to 10 hours in the airplane–before it even leaves the tarmac–is a frightening proposition. Now try that with a baby. Or a toddler. Or for some families… both!

In this age of “unpredictability in air travel,” parents need to be more ready than ever to handle unexpected delays with their children, be it in the airplane itself, or even in the airport. Truth is, baby essentials such as diapers, wipes, and formula are not easy to come by in airports, and even airport stores and restaurants close at some appointed hour.

Aside from bringing far more diapers than you anticipate you’ll need during your flight (the importance of which is illustrated in Travels with Baby!), you should also be sure to bring plenty of snacks for the family, and liquids for your child. If you are gearing up for your first flight with your baby, especially if yours is a formula-fed infant, you may have a lot of concerns about what you can and can’t expect to bring into the cabin. Rest assured that when you fly with your baby:

* You CAN bring on prepared bottles
* You CAN bring on liquid formula
* You CAN bring on expressed breast milk
* You CAN bring on juice for your baby, and
* You CAN bring on jarred/packaged baby food

–in quantities that exceed the 3 oz. rule for other liquids and gels.

The TSA states:

“You are encouraged to travel with only as much formula, breast milk, or juice in your carry-on needed to reach your destination.”

Of course, the amount needed to reach your destination may be significantly more if you end up sitting on the tarmac an extra 5 hours! Pack accordingly, and present your child and all of your liquids for him (any filled baby bottles, sealed formula bottles, sealed juice boxes and bottles, and baby foods) very clearly and obviously to the security personnel as you approach the X-ray. Click here for more details.

These liquid items do not need to be in a quart-size plastic zip-top bag, like the personal liquid and gel items for older passengers, but for organization’s sake, you may find it helpful to store all of baby’s beverages and baby foods in a gallon-size plastic zip-top bag within your diaper bag (or two bags, if you’re going long-haul). That way it’s easy to remove everything you’ll need to present with one hand–even as you hold your child in your arms. The bag will also help contain any leaks or drips during the flight.

Also, remember you may carry on milk boxes for toddlers, too, as described in greater detail in Tip #4.

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children