What to know about going through TSA with baby food
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Bringing your little one along for a trip is a great way to bond and make lifelong family memories. Flying with your baby doesn’t need to be intimidating or stressful, and neither does getting their food through TSA. Your baby’s food is the most important thing you’ll travel with, and you’re permitted to bring frozen and bottled breast milk, as well as juices and formula for your baby on planes. All you need to do is plan ahead and budget more time at the airport!
TSA policies regarding baby food
TSA allows baby food in your carry-on bag — don’t leave your child’s food in your checked bag and risk it all getting lost in transit! Pack your formula, breast milk or juice in TSA pouches. When you arrive at TSA with your carry-on full of baby food, be sure to inform the TSA agent that you are traveling with the food before you begin your screening process. TSA will ask you to take these items out of your bag and will screen them through a separate process.
All formula, breast milk and juice will go through an X-ray screening process, the same one as your checked bag. TSA may need to test your liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items and may request you to open them. If you don’t want your baby food open, you can deny this request — additional steps will be taken by TSA to ensure they’re safe for travel without opening.
Formula, breast milk and juices are an exemption under the 3-1-1 liquids rule for flying. This means that you can bring them in quantities greater than 3.4 oz, which is not the case for most other liquids going through TSA. Additionally, TSA allows ice packs and freezer packs for the purpose of freezing baby food — you can line a cooler bag with these to keep your baby food fresh!
If you’re flying with a toddler, you can bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred, and processed food along in carry-on baggage.
Tips for getting baby food through TSA without hassle
Make traveling with baby food quick and easy!
Determine how much food you’ll need to travel with in advance
No one knows your baby better than you — you know when your baby needs to eat! Before your trip, think about how long you’ll be gone, how many times and the amount your baby eats per day. Plan to bring at least this much food for your trip!
For parents that pump, consider pre-pumping and freezing some breast milk, and bring your pump with you to supplement the rest. For parents using formula, pre-package your baby’s food in TSA baby food pouches and store them away for the trip.
Pack your baby food well & keep it with you
TSA allows ice packs, freezer packs and the like for baby food — take advantage of this! Make sure you’re packing your cooler bag tightly and putting as many of these as you need inside to keep your food frozen.
Since baby food is allowed in your carry-on bag, be sure to keep your eye on it at all times. Don’t let it leave your sight when it’s going through TSA or in the airport in general — your baby needs it and unless you’re on a very short flight, they’ll probably need to eat on the plane.
Insider Tip: Some airlines, like Southwest, allow babies and young toddlers to travel for free! Always be sure to check if there’s a child fare when booking your flight.
Give yourself extra time to go through security
Because of all the policies TSA has surrounding baby food, it’s important to give yourself extra time when traveling with it. You might need to jump through a few hoops to get it past TSA, and all food needs to be separately screened. This applies especially if you plan to bring a large amount of baby food on the plane. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this case — make sure you get your baby food through security and make your flight with plenty of time to spare!
FAQ for traveling with baby food
Can you bring squeezable baby food on a plane?
Yes! Squeezable pouches, jars or cans of baby food are all allowed on the plane and adhere to the same rules as breast milk, juices and formula. You can even bring gel or liquid-filled teething rings and toys for your little ones on the plane!
How much baby food can you take on a plane?
TSA allows baby food in “reasonable quantities” on planes. Basically, this means there is no strict cut-off for how much food you can bring on the plane. Bring only the amount of baby food your baby needs for the trip and you shouldn’t have any problems getting through security.
Can I bring water for baby formula on a plane?
Yes! Again, water for baby formula and babies is permitted by TSA in “reasonable quantities” in carry-on bags. The water for your baby formula will have to undergo the same screening process as the other foods you bring for your baby, but you shouldn’t have any trouble getting it onto the plane.
Whether you’re solo parent traveling or tag-teaming it with little ones, getting your baby’s food through TSA can be a stress-free and hassle-free process. TSA allows formula, breast milk and juices in quantities that exceed 3.4oz, which is the typical rule, and you’ll be able to bring stocked cooler bags as well if needed. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get through security and have the food screened properly, plus keep it in your carry-on bag to make sure you have it with you whenever your baby needs it. After that, all that’s left to do is enjoy your trip with a happy and full baby!
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