The Transportation of Breast Milk

How To Safely Get Fresh or Frozen Breast Milk From One Place To Another

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Transporting Breast Milk

At some point, you may need to bring your expressed breast milk from one place to another. Here are some reasons you may need to transport your breast milk:

  • You are going out with your baby for the day, and you plan to give your child a bottle of breast milk instead of breastfeeding.
  • You are exclusively pumping for your baby.
  • Your child is going to day care, child care, or preschool.

When you pump in one place, but need to bring the breast milk someplace else, you have to be prepared. Breast milk needs to be transported safely and correctly to be sure that it can still be used once it reaches it's destination.

Tips For Transporting Freshly Expressed Breast Milk

Freshly expressed breast milk should be properly collected and placed into a breast milk storage bag or container. It can then be stored and/or transported in an insulated cooler that contains frozen ice packs. Breast milk that has just been pumped can stay inside an insulated cooler with frozen ice packs for up to 24 hours.

For very short trips, a container of freshly expressed breast milk can be placed on ice inside of a plastic bag or cooler.

Once you get to your destination, you can warm and use the breast milk right away, or you can immediately place the breast milk into a refrigerator or freezer.

Tips For Transporting Frozen Breast Milk

  • If you will be transporting frozen breast milk, it is important that the breast milk does not begin to defrost while it's in transit.
  • An insulated cooler with frozen ice packs should keep your breast milk frozen for a few hours. If you will be taking your frozen breast milk on a long trip, you may need to use dry ice.
  • Pack the containers of frozen breast milk as tightly together as possible and fill in any extra space in the cooler with paper.
  • Do not open and close the cooler. Keep it closed as much as possible to keep all the cold air inside.
  • If you are bringing the breast milk to a hospital, the staff may provide you with specific instructions for collecting, labeling, storing, and transporting your breast milk.
  • If your breast milk begins to defrost before you reach your destination, do not refreeze it. As long as it is still cold, you can fully defrost it and use it right away, or place it into the refrigerator.  It should then be used within 24 hours.

Shipping Breast Milk

There are also times when you may have to ship your breast milk. For example:

  • You are a military mom.
  • You have to go on a business trip.
  • Your baby is in a specialized hospital far from your home and you are unable to stay.

In these situations, frozen breast milk can be safely shipped to your home, a hospital, or a milk bank in a thick styrofoam cooler that contains dry ice.

See Also: How To Pack and Ship Breast Milk


American Academy of Pediatrics. New Mother’s Guide To Breastfeeding. Bantam Books. New York. 2011.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

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