How to Bottle Feed a Baby on a Plane
Bottle feeding a baby was so much easier for me than breastfeeding on a plane. I loved that I could give my boys the best milk possible, but I was clumsy, got drenched regularly, and in the end had trouble with breastfeeding as my boys got older. Being a full-time working mother when Dek was a baby also meant bottle feedings were just part of our lives, no matter what form of liquid was in them. Having lived on both sides of the baby milk options world, I’ve pulled together a few bottle feeding tips that will get you up into the friendly skies and off on your next adventure.
Unlike your breastfeeding counterparts, you will need to pack a little more for your bottle feeding baby. Cover ups don’t need to be in your wardrobe, but bottles and formula, or chilled breast milk do.
- Baby Bottles. Bring enough clean bottles to last your flight plus two more in case of delays.
- Baby Formula. Pack enough baby formula or breastmilk for your flight plus one day. Similac and Enfamil made those handy 4 oz. packets already pre-measured. I also swore by my powdered baby formula dispenser when traveling with my kids. You could measure out up to 8oz per slot and have it ready to go the second you need it.
- Water. Do yourself a favor. If at all possible just buy a bottle of water when you get through security. Ask one of the shops if they have any room temperature water so you don’t have to worry about a chilled bottle for your finicky baby.
- Burp cloth. Babies burp and spit up, especially when bottle feeding baby on a plane. That’s part of life. Never, ever forget your burp cloth. I always preferred to use the prefolded cloth diapers as burp clothes, because they soaked up so much more than the other burp clothes.
Formula. If your baby likes a warmer bottle, here’s a great bottle feeding tip– ask the flight attendant for half a cup of hot water to mix with your bottle of room temperature water. Be very careful and test the baby bottle first before you add the formula. The hot water planes make for their tea is VERY hot. You may only need a tiny bit to get it to the perfect temperature for your baby’s bottle.
Breast milk. If you plan to carry breast milk onto the plane to feed your baby you will need a way to keep it cool and then warm it back up.
- Cooler. Bring a small lunch bag cooler to store your breast milk. Add a plastic bag filled with frozen grapes from home to act as an ice pack, and bring extra plastic bags to fill with ice in the airport and on the plane. You can also bring an ice pack with you on a plane in the USA to keep milk cool.
- Breast Milk. If you can bring frozen breast milk with you for later in your flight it will slowly thaw as you travel, leaving it ready for baby when you need it.
- Warming a bottle. Ask your flight attendant for a half-cup of hot water. Stick your bottle or pouch into the cup to thaw or warm up your breast milk. Double check the temperature before you give to your baby to make sure it is not too hot. Bottle feeding a baby a hot bottle is dangerous in the air, just as it is at home.
- The beauty of the bottle is that you can bottle feed a baby virtually anywhere and no one will blink an eye. You don’t have to worry about your top or getting your baby tucked under a nursing cover up. You just mix your baby bottle and pop it in baby’s mouth. I still prefer an aisle seat whenever traveling with my boys just for the ease of access to my bags, and the extra elbows space to dig through my bag for what I need. Window seats will give you an added spot to prop yourself up and a pretty view to bottle feed baby though.
Here in the USA you are allowed to carry breast milk onto a plane. Don’t go overboard, just bring what you will need for the flight and any delays that may occur, but TSA cannot stop you. If they do, ask for a manager or superior officer.
According to TSA.gov, “When carrying breast milk through security checkpoints it is treated in the same manner as liquid medication. Parents flying with, and without, their child(ren) are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is presented for inspection at the security checkpoint. Additionally, empty bottles and ice packs are permitted under these conditions.”
Please note that you will still need to separate your liquids, whether it is breast milk or baby food, just like all of your other carry on liquids. They can be in greater quantities than 3 oz., but they will still need to be inspected.