I’m a strong proponent of fed is best but boy does being a formula feeding mama complicate things when you are traveling. Formula feeding adds on a whole extra layer of equipment and logistics to think about and was arguably one of the things I stressed about the most before we started traveling with our little lady.
This post is filled with tips for traveling with formula and lessons we’ve learned. Hopefully I can help ease any anxiety you might have about traveling as a formula feeding parent. This is not a sponsored post, just items I swear by for any formula feeding mom or dad who will be travelling and flying with formula!
Be sure to also check out our flying with a baby post and our dealing with jet lag in babies post.
FORMULA FEEDING TRAVEL TIPS
How To Travel With Formula: Must Have Items
I highly recommend bringing your formula with you (within reason of course). It may seem like a no-brainer, but many parents would disagree with the value of schlepping your specific brand with you on your travels.
You never know when your little one will refuse a different formula or if the new brand will give them tummy troubles. It is for this reason that we choose to bring our formula with us when travelling.
Powder Formula Dispensers
These handy containers are perfect for any on-the-go parent but are extra useful when travelling. We used 2 of the PC Powder Formula Dispensers on our trip to get us through the day but any similar container will do. These dispensers allowed us to pre-measure out our formula to quickly mix up bottles wherever we were.
Convenient Bottle System
Our go-to bottles for travel are the playtex baby nurser baby bottle with drop-ins. We chose these bottles because it meant less stuff to carry around during the day and less clean-up when we got home which makes them perfect for travelling.
Read more reviews and check prices for the playtex baby nurser baby bottle here.
Bottle Brush & Dish Soap
No matter which bottle system you choose, you will inevitably be doing some washing at the end of the day so bring along your bottle brush and some travel size dish soap. No one wants to be searching for dish soap after a 36 hour travel day in a foreign country!
Obviously sterilizing is less of an issue for the older babes. Some people argue that it’s not even necessary for the younger ones but we found sterilizing every few days worked for us.
We chose the Latch Sterilize Bags as each bag could be used 30 times and held a lot of bottle parts (there are many versions of this product on the market). Sometimes we were washing bottles in hotel bathroom sinks and these bags gave us some peace of mind that things were actually “clean”.
You can buy the Latch Sterilize Bags here!
Pro tip: Most standard hotels won’t have an in-room microwave but if you ask nicely most hotel staff will let you use the staff microwave.
We’ve taken a hybrid approach during our travels. When we knew we would have access to a kettle or stove top we brought a reusable bottle and boiled our water on the road.
Other times, including for flights, we’ve opted for bottled spring water. Whichever option you choose, you can bring your water for formula through airport security, so think about which option makes the most sense for your travels.
There are also some great options on the market now for easy to carry water filters to make sure you have clean water on the road. You can read more about that here.
OTHER PRACTICAL ADVICE
Book apartment style accommodation. Not that a regular hotel room won’t cut it (I mean a sink is a sink), but it’s just so much more convenient to have a proper kitchen sink, microwave and sometimes even a dishwasher at your disposal when you are formula feeding.
You can find great prices on apartments to stay in on airbnb or check booking.com and filter by apartment.
Get your baby used to room temperature bottles. This was the best piece of advice I was ever given. Room temperature bottles mean you can truly feed anywhere and everywhere. That said if warming is a must, nearly every hotel, restaurant or flight crew will give you a cup of hot water to warm the bottle.
Get your baby used to feeding with distractions. This was the second best piece of advice I was given when we started bottle feeding. It’s easier said than done in the beginning but its worth the extra effort in the long run.
Flying with Formula
Keep all your formula supplies together when passing through airport security. Formula feeding isn’t without accessories so zip lock bags will become your best friend. Keep everything together so its at your fingertips when you are going through security.
Be prepared to answer questions. Fed is best. But not everyone agrees. You will likely hear, along with a confused or judgmental look, “Oh, you don’t breastfeed…how come?” more than once during your travels. When it first happened, I was surprised. It’s good to be prepared for those situations.
WHAT DO OTHER PARENTS SAY ON FORMULA FEEDING TRAVEL TIPS
Travel Mad Mum asked some fellow traveling parents to weigh in with their best formula feeding travel tips. Here is what they had to say:
- In the UK, Boots Pharmacy offer a pick up air side service. When ordering online customers have to select pick up in store at checkout. This saves the hassle of taking formula through security or using up valuable space in checked bags.
- If you don’t want to use the sterilization bags or don’t have access to a microwave, invest in some form of cold water sterilization system such as Milton tablets which can sterilize your baby supplies in 15 minutes.
- Use a thermos to keep pre-boiled water warm on long plane rides or travel days.
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Have you found this article by Courtney on formula feeding travel tips helpful? We love hearing from you. Leave a comment and we can get back to you.
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More about the Author Courtney
I’m Courtney from From YOW with Love. My husband is Jeff and my daughter is Millie. We are a Canadian family living in the lovely, but often underestimated, capital city of Ottawa. We both work full time but have made travel and exploration a priority for our little family. You won’t find perfectly edited photos and advice on full-time travel but you will find real life stories about our family adventures as we learn to live and travel with our one year old daughter.
Saturday 21st of December 2019
I am also traveling with a young baby. I wash the baby bottles in the sink and then boil it with bottled water in the kettle with the lid open so that it boils for a longer time.
Saturday 6th of July 2019
Very hellpful, thank you very much.
Wednesday 1st of May 2019
How to mix the formula when using the playtex liners? Should i mix it directly into the liner or mix separately and pour it in the liner? Soon I am going to have 18 hrs plane journey with my 9 month baby so Please advise
Travel Mad Mum
Sunday 5th of May 2019
You can do it either way. Some people feel that mixing it in the liner is a little more difficult to get it fully mixed but most people have no issues. Just measure the water into the liner and then add your formula and mix.
Saturday 23rd of June 2018
Thanks for the advice! its a great help. We will be taking our 5 month old to Europe on a 5 week vacation. How would you recommend packing the formula? I will need to take about 12-15 cans. Do I leave the formula in the can. I am only wondering because the cans are so bulky and take up a lot of room.
Thursday 12th of October 2017
Great advice! We are planning a trip to South Africa in January and our little one will be 7 months old. It will be our first international trip with our son. I honestly was most nervous about how to pack and implement bottle feeding during this trip. I appreciate the advise about bringing bottled Spring Water. In the US it’s recommended to use purified bottled water but I’ve found the ph balance is very acidic compared to spring water. Thanks again. I definitely feel more at ease about traveling with my formula fed baby.