How Should You Carry Breast Milk in a Diaper Bag?

Breast milk is healthy for your baby and safe to carry in a diaper bag. Breast milk contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. It also contains living cells called leukocytes that help fight infection. These are not found in baby formula. Like any food, breast milk can go bad if not properly handled and stored. Follow some tips for carrying breast milk in your diaper bag to keep it fresh and avoid spills.

A diaper bag is packed and ready to go as it sits on the carpeted floor of an apartment. (Image: slearmonth2/iStock/Getty Images)

Proper Preparation

Do not simply throw breast milk into your diaper bag with the rest of the essentials. It is safer to take the time to properly prepare the milk. Before handling breast milk, wash your hands. Wash out the containers with warm, soapy water. Use a hard plastic bottle, preferably with a screw cap, to hold the milk. You do not want the breast milk to spill out of your diaper bag and onto the rest of the bag's contents. Formula bottle bags and regular plastic-storage bags leak milk easily. Place the breast milk in a heavy-duty bag instead.

Watch the Time

Breast milk does not stay fresh forever in a diaper bag. Fresh milk lasts up to 10 hours if kept at 66 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The time range drops to between four and six hours in 79-degree weather. If it is 60 degrees or below, your breast milk can remain fresh for 24 hours. Place the breast milk in an insulated lunch bag and add an ice pack before putting it into your diaper bag if you need it to last overnight. Label your containers clearly so that you know which bottle to use first and when each one expires.

Extra Essentials

Your diaper bag is essential for bringing all the items you need for your baby -- not just diapers, diaper rash cream and breast milk. Pack an extra bag for dirty diapers. Extra pacifiers, an extra shirt for you in case you leak breast milk and a change of clothes for your baby are also useful. Bring a baby blanket not only to keep your baby warm but also for privacy when breastfeeding. A bottle of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes to use on a changing surface are handy as well.

Traveling Tips

When putting breast milk into a diaper bag to take on an airplane, follow guidelines set by the Transportation Security Administration. TSA puts breast milk in the same category as liquid medications; the rules are different for these items compared to regular liquids. Pack your breast milk near the top of the bag so you can easily show it to security officers. You must declare breast milk for inspection. Officers may want to test any container over 3 ounces for explosives. Do not pack any more breast milk than you need to get you to your final destination.

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