Travelling with an Allergic Infant

Travelling with an infant or child involves a lot of preparation and planning – this can be overwhelming, in addition to thinking about the needs of a food allergic infant or child. There is no one ‘rule that covers all’, and restrictions on quantity and storage of specialist allergy milk products (including milk alternatives, such as soya milk) will vary from one type of transport carrier to another. Individual carriers may have further detailed information on allowances and restrictions, under the ‘family travel’ section of their website.

Related Resources

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Food Allergies and Travel

It is not uncommon for those with a food allergy or who are the parent/ carer of a food allergic...

The UK Government website has a dedicated information section on travelling with baby food and milk. It can be accessed under the ‘hand luggage’ restrictions area of their website, or by following this link.

Breast milk

Breast milk can be carried in hand luggage even if you are not travelling with a baby. Expressed breast milk in containers up to 2,000 ml is allowed, however frozen breast milk is not permitted.

Formula milk

Formula milk, cow’s milk, other types of milk, sterilised water, and baby food are not subject to the100ml hand luggage restrictions that applies to other liquids, gels, and aerosols. However, this is only true if you are travelling with the baby. In addition, baby milk or food does not need to fit into a transparent bag, but will need to be available for inspection by security staff if requested. A concept of a ‘reasonable quantity’ is mentioned on many of the transport carrier’s websites with no formal guidance, and will be at the discretion of the security screening officer at customs.

Hand luggage allowances will vary from carrier to carrier, with some airlines allocating a luggage allowance to the infant or child and others not. Have your baby milk and food in its chosen form (powder, carton, bottle, or jar) available, as you may be required to present it for airport screening. Depending on the country you are departing from and arriving into, airport security may ask you to open the containers and taste the contents.

If you do not have enough hand luggage to accommodate your babies feeding requirements, it is advisable to speak to the carrier in advance of your travel date. You can request an extension to your hand luggage allowance to ensure you are well prepared, and your baby’s nutritional requirements are met, especially if travelling long haul. Do not rely on the carrier having a supply of baby milk, as this is unlikely to be appropriate for your child if they have a milk allergy.

Additional milk and feeding supplies can be carried in your checked baggage. It is good practice to share these supplies between your packed cases, just in case your luggage is delayed, lost or stolen.

When planning your baby’s feeding requirements, take into account the travel time to/from the airport, the total amount of time you are away for and possible delays.

Infant milk and the availability of specialist milk formulas, food varieties and brands may vary between the UK and the destination country. Do not assume your required brand will be readily available. If visiting family or friends, they may be able to research your required milk brand beforehand. Otherwise you will need to plan for this when buying and transporting your baby’s milk supply.

Travel Tips

  • Ensure you have enough formula feed and food to cover unexpected delays and stop-overs. Liaise with your GP or healthcare professional well in advance to ensure sufficient supplies are available, especially if this needs to be prescribed and then collected from a pharmacy.
  • Plan ahead by researching the carrier/airline’s individual guidance on baby milk and food, and make the appropriate adjustments to adhere to ensure you are well prepared.
  • Larger chemists at UK airports may offer a pre-order service for baby milk, which can be collected on passing through security. This may be dependent on airport size so it is advisable to check and order where possible in advance.
  • To reduce the risk of infection, it is best to make up feeds one at a time as your baby needs them. If your baby doesn’t finish a bottle, don’t be tempted to put it away for later. Germs can breed quickly in left-over milk. This may cause an upset tummy – the last thing you need at the start of your holiday!