Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Traveling with Breastmilk

Mothering Magazine has a nice piece on Traveling With Breastmilk, including some creative tips on packing it and technical advice on how long it stays good:
When our country goes to orange alert at the airports, mothers who travel without their babies are not allowed to take their pumped breastmilk in the cabin of the plane with them. Women have traditionally been encouraged to keep pumped breastmilk on ice, so they often took it in their purse or carry-on bag. Now, however, toting breastmilk in your carry-on bag without a baby has become officially forbidden and deemed "suspicious." Of course, if you had the baby with you, you wouldn't need to pump and carry precious breastmilk. What is a mother to do? Get clever.

New research in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine has come to the rescue. The researchers took frozen breastmilk and thawed it, refroze it, refrigerated it and left it out at room temperature. Essentially, they beat it up. What did they find? Breastmilk is fairly robust and does not grow bacteria easily nor lose vitamins A and C or free fatty acids (FFA) to any degree that would harm a full term baby. Breastmilk fresh from the breast or thawed in a clean container can be left at room temperature for less than 8 hours. This means on a day trip, you can safely pack expressed breastmilk in your checked bag and take it home just as it is.

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