Planning a trip away? Exciting! But when you’re on the move & away from your own kitchen, all that sterilising, scooping and mixing may start to seem a bit complicated. Check out our tips on how to travel safely with your bottle-fed baby.
The safest way is to travel is with sterilised bottles of pre-measured water, and separate formula powder to mix into the bottle just before feeding baby. Experts also recommend boiling and cooling the water you use to prepare formula, until your baby is at least 3 months old. Remember, you should never travel long distances with pre-prepared formula in bottles. If you prepare formula in advance, keep cool in a chilly bin or insulated bag and use it within 2 hours maximum, and then it needs to be thrown out due to the risk of bacteria growing.
Your travel toolkit
Some babies are happy to drink formula at room temperature, whereas others prefer it warmed up. Here are your options:
- Powdered formula dispenser. A plastic container fitted with dividers makes it easier to carry pre-measured amounts of formula powder. When you need to feed your baby, simply add the pre-measured powder into a bottle containing the correct volume of water. Shake well before offering to your baby.
- A bottle warmer. With a portable warmer, you can warm up the bottle containing just the pre-measured water, and then add the formula powder immediately before feeding your baby. Some bottle warmers run on batteries, others have car battery adapters. Remember to test the temperature of the formula on your wrist before feeding.
- Thermos. You might prefer to heat water at home and let it cool to luke warm (boil and cool water if baby is under 3 months old) and pour it into a clean thermos. Just before feeding your baby, pour water into a bottle, add the formula powder, shake well, and test the temperature of the formula on your wrist before feeding.
- Bibs and wipes. For the inevitable spills, dribbles, misses and muddles!
Travelling with formula on a plane
While there are restrictions on the liquids you can take on a plane, these usually don't apply to food or milk for your baby (To be safe always check directly with the airline you are flying with before leaving).
That means you can usually take what you need for the journey in your hand baggage. This includes:
- Expressed breast milk, formula, or cow's milk (for toddlers over 12 months old),
- Boiled cooled water to make a feed (must be in a baby bottle),
- Baby food.
Make sure you pack extra water, formula powder and baby food in case of delays. It’s always safest to travel with baby bottles pre-filled with cooled boiled water, so you can add the formula powder right before feeding.
On the plane most cabin crews will warm babies' bottles, but double-check with the airline before you fly.
- It’s a good idea to feed your baby on take-off and landing - the swallowing action helps prevent painful ears.
- If baby doesn't finish the whole bottle, don't be tempted to save it for later. Germs breed quickly in leftover milk, and no one wants a sick baby on holiday!
- If you’re making up formula on board, NEVER use tap water from the airplane bathroom. It’s not safe to drink.