Taking a Lot of Formula in Checked Luggage and Extreme Cargo Hold Temperatures

Updated on July 09, 2010
R.M. asks from Aurora, CO
12 answers

My 10m baby is highly allergenic to cow's milk,soy and is on Alimentum powder. We are going on an international trip which takes about 20hrs flight time. I was planning to take about 40 16oz cans in my checked bags to last 4 months because alimentum is not available in that place (india). Other similac and enfamil formulas are available but not alimentum or nutraginem. My baby's primary food is formula. He eats a little bit of cereal and solids. He will be almost 12m at the start of the trip. Abott customer service told me that they recommend storing infant formula between 32-95 degrees F and there's a good chance that in the cargo hold it will be exposed to extreme temperatures (below 32 degrees F) and that formula exposed to extreme temperatures could affect the consistency of the product and cause separation.

I am feeling desperate. Has anybody taken formula in their checked bags for long international flights?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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answers from Denver on

I would agree to pack powdered formula but, also wanted to add something else...make sure the can is still sealed. While flying to Mexico we packed extra cans of formula and on the way back, one can was just recently opened, it exploded in my luggage bag! What a horrible mess to clean up. I should have known it wouldn't stay shut but, was one of those things I didn't think about while packing in a rush.

Good luck and enjoy your vacation!!!



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi R.~ I am so happy I came across your post, because I actually help prep parents to go to India many times. Congratulations on taking your baby to such an amazing place.
Let's first deal with your formula issue once you are there. Yes, you have to take your formula with you. You have to take it in your checked luggage and it will be fine. Pack POWDERED formula. The powdered formula is okay with the temperature changes; the problem is with the liquid ready to feed. So pack powdered formula only. Please be careful and pack enough formula to last the entire duration of your trip. Many parents forget that the amount of formula the baby takes in increases as they get older. So be sure you take more with you than baby is consuming today. Since the water has to be boiled there anyway, make sure that the water is well boiled and cooled prior to making the formula.
Now I think it is worth it to call Ross Laboratories and order on line a case of ready to feed single served bottles. (They are the 2 ounce size carried in hospitals). These bottles carry on the plane with you. It is a lot easier than mixing formula on the plane. Also a lot easier to get through TSA & Customs. They are a bit more spendy; but everyone says it was well worth it. I have had some girls take the powdered for the plane ride there and carry the ready to feed ones on the plane with them but to use them on the plane ride back because of the water issue. This allows them to only lugg enough on the plane for one-way. Remember the ready to feed will have to be carried on regardless if it is for the return flight. Dubai
Also know the formula they carry in India even though it has the same name sake, is not the same formula. The babies that use it there have guts that have adapted to it, but can give a baby from here diarrhea. It is not the same even if it was not a speciality one. So stick to what you bring. If you are stopping over in Dubai or staying there, that is the best chance of getting anything that you may need.
Even though he is older 10 months old; please be careful with the solids you introduce to him there. The food here in the US (even if it is Indian food) is a bit different. Also know that (white) rice will calm down most GI upsets in baby. It has to be the white rice and rice prior to adding the spices.
I hope this helps. Be sure to bring multiple changes of clothes for him on the plane and at least a change of shirt for yourself. Be sure to take a few bottles as they will not be abled to be washed on the plane. If your bottle comes in a disposable bag form, it may be worth it to carry those instead of bottles that need to be washed. The ones you use in India can be washed and is not a big deal of the type.
I sure hope this helps. I guess the bottom line to answer your question is..... Powdered Formula is fine to packed in your checked luggage.... Good Luck!
I am adding this based on a post that is after mine. Keep your baby on the formula even if he were to be near 12 months at the time of travel. The parents I work with have found the babies do not do well with the food and the prep in India. Each one I have had that tried to make the transition while there ended up with some sick little ones GI wise. The little gut just has not been preped for it. So stick to what baby is use to. Also be sure to bring all of the infant over the counter medication you may need. That has been helpful to them as well.... A little side bar; regardless of what your relatives say..... 10 months is too early to potty train.... Laughing Out Loud!!!! When one of my best friends got back as well as one of my patients; both traveling with a 11 month old.... Both came back saying Grandma says they should be potty trained.... I thought that was really funny and decided we were sending all of the US kids to India for potty training to take a load off us here... Have fun R. and take plenty of pictures with your family with baby... Enjoy every moment and the next time you are there baby can ride the elephant....



answers from Denver on

My girlfriend has her formula and diapers shipped to the location of her vacation I never thought of that but what a great idea. Did you also think about contacting the manufacturing perhaps they could help.



answers from Denver on

I have two thoughts. First, why can't you take powder? I am familiar with India and know water is not readily available, however bottled water has got to be easier to get than alimentum. Second, can you order it online once you arrive at your destination? Just order it from the manufacturer and have it shipped. Maybe check if they will ship to India before you go. Good luck. I traveled to the Philippines with my infant and dealing with the food issue is not fun. I had to bring a lot of baby food as they just don't have baby food in the Philippines and she was having gagging issues and couldn't get solids down readily..



answers from Denver on

Can you ship it instead?
I would call the Alimentum people and ask for advice on how to get it there, and how it will be affected by possible temp fluctuations...
Certainly at 12 months solid foods are a good way to go. I find that in other countries they have great ways of introducing solids that we never thought of. Might be a great experience for your little one.
Also there may be some powdered almond or hemp milk available in stores or online? Certainly you can get goats milk in India...which is very high in nutritional value for your baby.
Good luck!!



answers from Colorado Springs on

I have not taken it on board before, but I know some flights have temperature controlled cargo areas (for pets), so I'd call the airlines. Also, did you think about mailing it? It'll probably be the same though, about the temperatures.



answers from Detroit on

can you ship it ???



answers from Charlotte on

R., I take it that this is liquid form. Can you buy it in powered form instead?

So sorry that I have no other advice...



answers from Denver on

Hi R. - I dont have too much information for you except that perhaps you could find a way to insulate it like in a softsided cooler, etc. It will protect from heat and from cold.

You might also check with the formula manufacturer for ideas on storing/shippin - they probably have a customer service area



answers from Denver on

I would say pack powder... seem the easiest solution and it shouldn't have an issue with the temp.
BUT I will say that my oldest child (now 2) was totally off formula a week before she turned one. My 2nd kiddo (now 10 months) will most likely be off formula as well by 12 months. From 10-12 months their eating habits grow tons and you should really start amping up the types of foods you feed him.
Truly after 12 months formula is not necessary.
One might argue they need milk after 12 months, but many kids (like yours) can't do dairy and perfectly fine! As long as you are feeding him a well balanced meal he will have no issues.
Good luck



answers from Fort Collins on

If it is in liquid form.Then i don't know.But if it is in powder ,it is fine.I put mine(going from State to France) in a separate small suitcase .(i took just four cans of powered ,it was just for two months and baby was breastfed and formulas fed,about half and half).I did isolated each can with bubblewrap to make sure they stay upright ,do not check too much or/and spill.
Hope this help.



answers from New York on

I had taken formula for my 8 mon old last year when I had gone to India. I was using Similac. I had carried only two cans for the initial 1 month (my doc had advised that it was safe to use fromulas available there but not initially since It wd be too much change for him). I had carried it in check in cargo and it was ok -no oeffect on consistency (I was carrying powder formula)
Hope this helps...