Jul 07 2008

How to bring home EBM from traveling

Published by at 8:37 pm under All,Breastfeeding,Brfg: Tips/ Opinion,Brfg: Travel

As I was trying to re-write this post, I got lazy. Yes, I wrote “RE-WRITE” because I realized I’ve written this before for MMB.

Well, bringing home EBM is not a new stuff. I learnt it from a supermom, SiawFui in MMB, and improved it as I have more experience, and with the change of airline rules etc. When I came back from New Zealand, I received lots of enquiries on how to do that. As SF was my guru in this, I consulted her. She suggested that we write an article and place in the FAQ area.

cooler box, AI and ice packs

Though 4 years have come and gone, the tips in the article is still useful and valid. So, I think instead of re-writing it, I’ll just provide links to that article, which is now split into 4 parts after Lilian revampt the pages:

In the articles, we have provided tips like:
- What do you need?
- How to choose the right cooler box?
- How to store the EBMs when traveling?
- Where and when to express?
- Ensuring EBMs safe in hotel freezer
- Sterillize pumps when travling
- Transporting EBMs home
- Custom/security issues at airport (though a bit out dated)

We also provided pictures of our pumps and cooler boxes. But I have to admit these articles cover only shorter distance, for traveling within this region.

2 years ago when I traveled to US when Isabel was still a baby, I had to bring back frozen EBM in more than 30 hours journey. I did it twice. Once very successful, once nearly failed (due to not enough frozen milk to fill the space) as some milk already thawed. The tips in the above article won’t help. It was a total new experience for me. If you want to know how I did it, read EBM from Chicago and New York.

In fact, I wrote quite a lot in this category Brfg: Travel. Do check it out, coz I have shared some challenges following the liquid ban policy, about my experience in Manila and in China Guangzhou. Things are definitely getting more and more challenging and nasty for us breastfeeding moms. That’s when we feel we need support the most!


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8 responses on How to bring home EBM from traveling

8 Responses to “How to bring home EBM from traveling”

  1. Mon 14 Jul 2008 at 11:15 pm

    Hi there! Not sure if u remember me. I’m the one who wrote to you before and working in Miri.

    Anyway, am planning my trip this November and hopefully will be able to express lots of BM and transport all the way from Holland-KL-Miri. I think total journey will take something like 18 hrs (including stopovers). I was wondering if frozen EBM kept in cooler bags together with the ice (that comes with the cooler bags) and wrapping up the coller bags with lots of clothes will withstand the whole trip? I plan to put it in my checked in luggage as I don’t think I’d be able to handcarry it during thr Holland-KL route.

  2. suzetteon 24 Jul 2008 at 10:24 am

    M: I think I know who you are – you and I work in the same company? Sorry for the late response coz I was busy to clear some backlogs due to taking few days off (mom admited to hospital).

    Wow, going to Holland! If you are keeping frozen EBM in cooler bags (soft), they might melt pretty quickly. For long distance, I would recommend that you use cooler box (hard). It can keep cold for a longer time and the container can be checked in separately. Also, importantly it can store more than the usual cooler bags.

    I’m sure if you go to Holland, it would not be just 1 or 2 days trip. If it is 5-6 days (in total, including journey), then a small to medium cooler box would be good. Would you be in KL office a while? If so, I can even lend mine to you!

  3. [...] have been sharing over here in this blog, about how I transported my precious expressed breast milk from overseas. Even so, there are still a lot of questions coming in, for more detail. It is actually quite hard [...]

  4. michelle tan hpon 24 Nov 2010 at 10:42 pm

    dear suzette: i’m back from France.

    Thank you so so much for all the help and encouragement u gave me! I managed to bring back frozen milk from my last trip to Lyon, France. Transit Amsterdam. Total travel time after checking out from hotel ( after packing the frozen milk in the cool box) till Malaysia: 19 hours.

    What i learnt:
    KLM air line latest policy: one luggage per person. ie we must check in our ice box in our luggage bag

    How to obtain dry ice?
    I had difficulty obtaining dry ice from Novotel, Lyon, France. Actually bought techni ice ice pack from babyland, SS2 ( RM25, cheaper than other shops) , freeze it in the freezer at -18 celcius for 5 days, and used it as dry ice. My husband was creative enough to get paper bags from small cafes so we didn’t have to wrap the ebm one by one with oversized newspapers. Once we took the frozen ebm out from the freezer we just put each packet of ebm in those paper bags.

    How to fill up space in the ice box as towel was bit bulky. my ice box was smaller then your’s.
    We scrunched newspapers to fill up the spaces in the ice box, these were also useful as insulators.

    Where to find place to pump?
    Initially while i was touring around the old town of Lyon, i tried to pump in toilets, hospital toilet, hotel toilet.. after that i gave up finding toilets. I just brought a scarf, wrapped it around me, and pumped at the benches along the park. That was more feasible.

    How was the security in Lyon, France?
    They didn’t allow me to bring in ice packs and my chilled milk that i had expressed at the air port. I had already checked in my luggage. So had to throw that away ;( i tried to explain that i’m a breastfeeding mom. They said only if my baby was with me, then only i could carry milk. Otherwise i need a doctor’s letter.)

    Airlines and local securities are totally TWO different things.
    I emailed airport securities at KLIA, AMSTERDAM, LYON and also my airline: KLM.

    Reply from KLM CRM MANAGER: Breastmilk is not a restricted item and may be taken onboard. You may carry a total of 2.5 KG in dry ice packs. If you are expressing at the airport/onboard you can arrange a request with our KLM reservations to have a note made in your booking : SRFRAG IN CABIN – we can then confirm that you are taking the pump/milk with you. Do take note of course that the actual security check at airports is not controlled (or owned) by the airlines – so if the officers at the security check have any doubts they have a right to question and make a final decision. (which i DID have problems with the security in Lyon. STRICTLY NO LIQUIDS UNLESS YOU HAVE A BABY WITH YOU OR DOCTOR’S LETTER.

    Reply from KLIA Corporate Communications Office:
    Please be advised that the exemptions for baby milk/food as hand carry is as below:
    •Baby milk/food must be accompanied by infant of age 7 or below.
    •Proof of authenticity and justification for exempted liquids for medical or special and dietary needs
    If the traveller is travelling without her baby, she must provide a letter to prove that she has a baby and certified by medical practitioner that the liquid is her breast milk.

    ;) i feel so happy after this success !! glad that u could do it for Cherilynn. tough though!! but thanks for all the support from u and my husband and friends

  5. michelle tan hpon 24 Nov 2010 at 10:43 pm

    opps, spelling error..glad that I could do it for Cherilynn. (typing in the dark cos feeding my baby who’s half asleep!!)

  6. suzetteon 27 Nov 2010 at 2:01 am

    Michelle, congratulations for successfully bringing back your frozen milk! This is so encouraging! I can do it, you can do it, and many moms can do it!! Thanks a lot for your update and sharing here. It is always good to get the latest update, as things and policies keep changing. I will likely create a post and share you comments in the post separately, so that this can be highlighted to as many as possible! Cheers!

  7. May lingon 07 May 2015 at 9:41 am

    Hi, I come across your blog through internet.It really very useful for mom for traveling oversea without lo.I’m going to NZ next week for 11days. I just want to know can we use techni ice pack? I saw you use ice cube ,how ling can it stay cool? Should I use ice gel pack ?

    When travelling,if I just use normal cooler bag (instead of box )plus ice pack, do u think is ok?

  8. suzetteon 13 Jul 2015 at 11:24 pm

    May Ling, sorry for the late reply… Traveling from Malaysia to NZ does not that that long. If you are using Techni Ice, or any Iced Gel pack, you must make sure that you use a lot of them. The best thing with ice cube is that it can go into every gaps between the frozen ebm, which is what the TechniIce and GelPacks can’t do.

    If you are using only normal cooler bag, you can only transport child ebm instead of frozen ebm. For the distance from NZ to KL, I’m quite concerned if your ice packs can last that long. I won’t recommend it ler…

    Do update us your success story!!

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