How to Pack Formula for Air Travel [Step by Step Guide]

how to pack formula for air travel

Traveling with a little one can be challenging, but it mustn’t be a battle. The secret to a stress-free flight with your toddler is being prepared and having all the essentials packed and ready. And with the proper preparation and knowledge, you can navigate airport security seamlessly while ensuring your little one’s nutritional needs are met.

Are you embarking on your first trip with your formula-fed baby? Are you unsure what to pack to ensure you and your baby are comfortable? While you’ll need a few items, baby formula should be on your list.

Need some tips on how to pack formula for air travel? Well, you’ve come to the right place for all the information. We’ve gathered some essential tips to help you pack your baby’s formula while traveling on an airplane.

Hopefully, the tips in this article for packing formula on flights will make your experience as a formula-feeding parent super smooth and satisfying. Let’s now crack the code on how to pack baby formula for plane travel!

How to Pack Formula for Air Travel

Being the parent of a bottle-fed baby shouldn’t put you off exploring the world. It’s possible to plan a vacation to any of your favorite destinations with your kid(s) and feed them on the go.

All you need right now is a few handy tips on how to pack a formula bottle for air travel, especially when traveling with your newly born for the first time. 

This section will mention some quick and vital tips on packing baby formula for air travel. Take a look and try to keep them in your mind as a formula-feeding parent to ensure convenience. 

1. Familiarize Yourself with Airline Regulations

Before starting your trip, ensure you know the airline’s rules about traveling with baby formula. Every airline has guidelines, so check out their website or call customer service for details.

Good news – just like breast milk, baby formula powder doesn’t have to follow the liquid restrictions at airport security. But it’s a good idea to let the security officer know that you have formula powder with you, as they might want to do extra checks for safety reasons.

Inform the Transport Security Administration (TSA) officer at the beginning of the screening process that you carry either warm formula, bring breast milk, toddler drinks, wet wipes, or baby food. You can also remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from your other belongings.

TSA officers may need to test the liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items. Although not required, it is recommended that formula and breast milk be transported in transparent, translucent bottles, not plastic bags or pouches, so you won’t have to undergo additional screening procedures.

See Related: What is Customs at the Airport? Here’s What to Know

2. Carry Your Powdered Formula 

Baby milk formula on kitchen background
Africa Studio / Adobe Stock

Bringing your formula for your little one is crucial when you’re off on an adventure to a different state or a whole new country. Trust me; you don’t want to mess with their tummy by suddenly switching formulas.

Plus, imagine the horror of not being able to find the right brand when you arrive at your destination. By packing powdered formula instead of liquid, not only is it lighter and easier to carry on the bag, but you also avoid any pesky liquid restrictions. So go ahead and prepare those formula bottles ahead of time and make your journey stress-free.

See Related: Budget-Friendly Family Vacations

3. Store Some Formula in Carry on Baggage

Blue and Pink Backpack

One of our top suggestions is to prepare bottles ahead and have prepared formula packed in your carry-on or diaper bag. This can come in handy if your luggage gets lost or delayed, especially during connecting flights.

Fret not if you’re pondering how to pack formula in a diaper bag! Just measure the required amount in a clean travel formula container and stash it in your diaper bag for easy access. It’s a brilliant idea to have a formula in your diaper bag, whether you’re flying or not.

4. Choose the Right Water

Adorable child baby drinking water from bottle
Oksana Kuzmina / Adobe Stock

The water quality changes from region to region, and using tap water to prepare the baby formula might be unsafe. The sudden water change can negatively impact your toddler’s health, even in boiling water. In such cases, using bottled water is the best option.

Check the water bottle label to see the sulfate and sodium content. Ensure the sulfate is less than 250 mg/liter, and the sodium is less than 200 mg/liter.

Do you want to know a little secret? Consider buying water bottles with a picture of a baby on them, as they suit infants (e.g., Evian). Bottled water makes the safest bet for air travel.

See Related: Essential Packing Tips for Travel to Maximize Your Trip

5. Carry Enough Powdered Formula 

Powder milk for baby and blue spoon
Dragana Gordic / Adobe Stock

No matter how long your trip is, carrying enough powdered formula should be one of your priorities when traveling with a baby. Changing your baby’s formula brand is never the right decision, especially when you’re on vacation. It might upset the baby’s stomach and eventually end up with you worrying about the kid than enjoying your holidays.

To avoid such hassles and make your trip successful, it is wise to pack reasonable quantities of formula with you. It’s good practice to fill more than you think you will need. After all, this is about feeding your kid – it will only be better to have it and not need it than not.

See Related: How to Pack for a Month-Long Trip [Step-by-Step Guide]

6. Pack Sterilizing Equipment

Blue Container with Small Handle

Another crucial tip on traveling with ready-to-feed formula is sterilizing all items. For instance, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service report recommends sanitizing and sterilizing all feeding products for kids under 12 months.

Moreover, it is best always to carry sterilizing wipes to keep your seating area clean on the plane. Moreover, you don’t want to contaminate clean bottles by mixing them with dirty ones. So, have extra bags to keep clean and dirty bottles separated. 

Hopefully, you will consider these helpful hints while figuring out how to pack the formula for air travel! Remember, if you’re using ready-to-use baby formula, take it from a freshly opened baby formula container. Also, discard any leftover formula in the refrigerator for over two days.

See Related: Best Travel Water Purifiers

Must-Have Items to Travel with Baby Formula

To pack smartly for air travel, it’s indispensable to include all the necessary items for bottle feeding your baby. We’ve compiled a list of infant-feeding products parents can buy for a smooth vacation with their bottle-fed infants.

These are the items that bottle-feeding parents highly recommend to make your journey hassle-free. You may not need to purchase everything, but having the right essentials is crucial. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Bottles

Transparent Baby Feeding Bottles

When it comes to keeping your kids happy and well-fed on the go, one thing that can make all the difference is their favorite feeding bottles. We all know how fussy little ones can be regarding what they eat or drink, so having their trusted warm bottles ahead is necessary.

Not only does sticking with the bottles they use at home ensure familiarity and comfort for your child, but it also saves you from any potential feeding battles while traveling.

Of course, there’s always the option of using single-use disposable bottles for convenience. But let’s not forget that they can be pretty expensive in the long run, as you’ll need to restock them throughout your vacation constantly. Plus, the quality of these disposable bottles can vary greatly, and you don’t want to risk any leaks or spills during feeding time.

See Related: Best Travel Atomizers: Portable Options for Trips

2. Powder Formula Dispensers

Termichy Baby Formula Dispenser
Powder Formula Dispensers / Amazon

Formula dispensers are perfect for many parents traveling with kids and are extra helpful for feeding babies. These fantastic travel formula dispensers provide convenience and help pre-measure the ideal amount of formula for each bottle.

Say goodbye to messy spills and inaccurate measurements – these dispensers are a game-changer for parents on the go. Load up the compartments with powder before leaving home, and when it’s time for a feeding session, mix it up in the bottle without any stress or hassle.

See Related: Best Travel Bottles For Toiletries

3. Bottle Liners

Playtex Nurser System Drop Ins Bottle Liners
Playtex Bottle Liners / Amazon

Parents often have to juggle multiple tasks when traveling with infants. There’s a lot to consider, from packing the essentials to organizing transportation. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce the incredible convenience of pre-sterilized disposable bottle liners for all your on-the-go feeding needs.

No longer will you have to worry about the hassle of sterilizing bottles while you’re on vacation or visiting family and friends. Just remove a liner from the pack, pour in your desired formula or breast milk, and attach it to your baby’s preferred nipple.

It’s as easy as that! Not only does this save you valuable time that can be better spent enjoying quality moments with your little one, but it also ensures optimum hygiene without compromise.

4. Bottle Warmer

Baby Bottle Warmer

Have you ever struggled to keep warm water for your baby’s bottle on the go? Well, fret no more because the fantastic bottle warmer is here to save the day. This incredible thermos flask is specifically designed to keep water hot to warm your little one’s bottle wherever you are convenient.

One of the standout features of this bottle warmer is its baby food or formula container. Place your infant’s bottle and some hot water inside this container, and voila! Your baby’s meal will be warmed in no time at all.

Say goodbye to the risky practice of placing a bottle of prepared formula under warm tap water that might not have accurate temperature control. With the bottle warmer, you can rest assured that your baby’s feed will be heated just right without concerns about overheating.

See Related: Best Travel Water Purifiers & Filters

5. Bottle Soap and Brush

ALINK 16” Long Bottle Brush Cleaner
Long Bottle Brush Cleaner / Amazon

Taking care of your baby’s bottle hygiene has never been easier! After each feeding, it is crucial to clean the bottle thoroughly to ensure optimal health and hygiene for your little one.

No matter what bottle system you use, cleaning becomes an indispensable part of your routine. Always pack a bottle brush and dish detergent wherever you go to simplify this process.

These essentials will save you from any last-minute panics when it comes time to clean. Imagine the peace of mind of knowing that you can maintain a germ-free environment and keep your baby happy at all times.

Remember, your baby’s immune system is still developing during the early stages of life. That makes it even more crucial to prioritize cleanliness regarding their feeding equipment.

6. Burp Cloth

Colorful Clothes

Flying with a baby can be an adventure in itself, and you’ll definitely encounter the occasional burping and spitting up. It’s completely normal, and that’s why I’m here to tell you about the ultimate solution: the trusty burp cloth. Don’t ever forget to pack one because it will save you so much hassle.

Let me introduce you to the cotton chenille burp cloth – a game-changer in baby travel essentials. Unlike other burp cloths on the market, cotton chenille burp cloths have superior soaking abilities. They are made from a soft and plush fabric that absorbs more liquid than you could ever imagine.

Moreover, these burp cloths are practical and incredibly comfortable for your baby. The gentle touch of chenille fabric ensures maximum comfort against their delicate skin—no irritations or discomfort here, just pure bliss for babies and parents alike.

See Related: Essential Packing Tips for Travel to Maximize Your Trip

7. Backpack

Backpack with disposable diapers and child's accessories on white background
New Africa / Adobe Stock

Even if you have bought a baby bag or preferred luggage for air travel, you may find using a backpack simpler. When you have a suitcase in one hand and a stroller in the other, carrying a backpack seems more straightforward than a shoulder bag.

If you take the backpack route, purchase a bag with many compartments to keep all the needed items (above-mentioned) handy. Wide, padded shoulder straps will make the load-carrying more comfortable.

Overall, bottle feeding can be challenging for new parents. This is one of the many skills they need to learn for a smooth travel experience. But, within no time, and with the right tools and tips, they can become pros in it in no time.

Hopefully, the information in this post will help you understand how to pack formula for air travel and keep your little one nourished and healthy.

See Related: Top Travel Hacks

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I need to declare baby formula at airport security?

The answer is – Yes. The formula for infants or toddlers is allowed in a reasonable quantity through airport security.

In addition, you can inform the security officer at the beginning of the screening that you’re carrying formula packs with you in your carry-on bag. Be warned; there’s always the risk you’ll have to verify it is baby formula, mainly if it is in liquid form.

How can I warm baby formula on a plane?

As discussed above, you can consider carrying a bottle warmer (a flask) filled with hot water to warm your baby’s formula. Or you can ask the crew to use the galley to make up your bottle. Most commercial airlines will be more than happy to accommodate you.

How can I pack a baby formula for air travel?

If you’re bringing baby formula on your trip in containers, tins, or cartons, pack them carefully in your carry-on or checked bags to avoid mishaps. To keep them safe, use zip-lock bags to hold the formula containers and add some padding for extra protection.

If possible, go for non-glass containers; they are less likely to break and lighten your load. And for a bonus of freshness and a cool formula, consider including frozen gel packs or bring ice packs to keep the formula partially frozen while you travel.

How much-powdered formula can I pack with me on a plane?

You can carry more than 3.4 ounces of powdered formula on a plane. That said, you can only bring 3.4 ounces of bottled water with your carry-on to prepare the formula on the go. Moreover, it is worth keeping some baby formula in a diaper bag or handbag if you’re concerned about your baggage being delayed or stolen.

How long is stored powdered formula good for?

The powdered formula, still protected by its original seal, is good until the expiration date listed on its ready-to-feed bottle or container. Once you open it, the formula lasts just for a month. After that, you should start with a new container to ensure nutrition.

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.