Late-Night Law (Sort of): Preparing for the worst

Ed. note: Since I have spend the last week and a half being sick again, I have decided to forget about the posts I have in my draft box. They weren’t that necessary, and I think its kinda pointless at this point. So we now return you to your regular scheduled blogging.

So, in about 2 weeks time, I’ll be heading up to the Pac NW with EJ and Hubby for a little vacation. We will be visiting Hubby’s family, as well as some of my friends (as I lived in the area for a few years before going to AMU).

This will be my first time flying since my junior year of college, which is to say since before I was married and had EJ.

Back before I had a permanent home in Ave, I traveled at least twice a year (Christmas Break and Summer Vacation) I never had any issues with the TSA.

But I still heard the stories

There seems to be a lot about breastfeeding/pumping mothers having problems like this woman who was denied her request to not have her milk x-rayed because it was frozen. Or this woman who was detained for refusing to have her milk x-rayed. Then there’s this woman who was forced to pump milk in the crowded woman’s bathroom, because a TSO wouldn’t let her go through security with empty bottles and her (which he insisted she would have to leave behind if she did not fill the bottles…and if you know anything about pumps, even the cheap ones are a few hundred dollars).

So, admittedly I’m a little worried. I’m hopeful that things will go smoothly, but I figure its better to be prepared so as to do as much as I can to avoid ending up being my own story.

As I’ve learned from Popehat the most important thing is to know what your rights are.

So I’ve started by pulling up the TSA’s policy on medically necessary liquids and Breastmilk, Formula, and Juice (which states that they are considered medically necessary liquids)

I also contacted the TSA through their inquiry form with the following:

I am traveling later this month out of IAH to PDX (round trip) with my 9 month old. I have heard horror stories about women and pumped breastmilk and would like some additional clarification on the policies for medically necessary liquids (which includes breastmilk)

These are the questions I would like specific answers to:

1) Am I able to request that the breastmilk not be x-rayed and instead inspected with an alternate method?

2) If yes to question 1, does this only apply to liquid breastmilk, or does it apply to frozen breastmilk as well

3) In testing the breastmilk, will anything be dunked, submerged, or otherwise come in contact with the milk inside the bottle (thus rendering the liquid not sterile and thus not suitable to feed to my infant).

Thank you in advance for your help and clarification.

I plan on also printing out this email and having it along with the policy pages from the website. It may not do anything if I do have problems, and it won’t be necessary if I don’t. But it never hurts to be prepared.


I received a response from the TSA, but it basically reiterated what is said on the website and did not address my specific questions. So I have sent an email to asking the same questions. I will update again when I have an answer from them.


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2 thoughts on “Late-Night Law (Sort of): Preparing for the worst

  1. Nicki April 13, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    This is too late, but to know for the future, studies have shown that x-rayed breast milk is no different chemically from breast milk that has not been x-rayed. Is it just because it was frozen that you did not want it put through the x-ray? You can also get a pump at a CVS for less than $100…mine was around $80 and it worked fine for 2 weeks of mastitis. Not trying to spam your blog…just discovered it and enjoying the interesting read. 🙂

  2. NaptimeBlogger April 13, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    My concern is not in any chemical change in the breast milk, but the efficacy of the immune cells, which, as far as my research has found, has not been looked at in those studies. It doesn’t take much irradiation to make cells no longer effective (I learned this in my genetics lab…irradiating yeast is fun!), or even dead. So while it doesn’t change the nutritional aspect of the breastmilk, this is a concern for me (as well as other mothers).
    I have a nice pump (battery operated), that I will be bringing with me, I just want to avoid pumping at the airport if at all possible.

    And don’t worry, you are not spamming! I’m more than happy to get comments!

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