Alyssa Milano isn't the only mother who's been hassled by airport security over breastmilk. In fact, a year ago a California mom won $75,000 in a lawsuit against TSA after she refused to allow her breast milk to be screened in the x-ray machine and wound up waiting in a holding area for an hour as a result.
Airport security is constantly changing, so travelers have to pack smart and stay on their toes when it comes to knowing our rights and knowing what will be expected of us at the checkpoint. New kinds of threats pop up constantly, so much of the security process is left to the discretion of the screeners and their supervisors. The unpredictability of the screening process is part of what makes it effective at keeping explosives and other hazardous materials from making it through to the plane. Yeah, it's irritating that we can never be sure what TSA will ask or do, but potential terrorists can't be sure either—that's the whole point.
But here's the pro tip I'm itching to share with you: as you may recall from elementary science class, liquids can become solids when they get cold enough.
So, about traveling with breast milk. TSA's obsession with liquids is nothing new, so we shouldn't be surprised when breastmilk, as benign as it is, is subjected to extra scrutiny. Especially since nursing moms are usually carrying more than a three ounce container. Medications, baby formula, baby food, and breast milk are "allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3 ounces, and they don't have to be in a zip top bag," (even if you don't have your baby with you) according to TSA. However, it's up to the security officer to decide what a "reasonable quantity" is, and even then they may decide to open the containers for additional screening. This is a risk you take when you carry on any kind of liquid, but especially in larger quantities.
But here's the pro tip I'm itching to share with you: as you may recall from elementary science class, liquids can become solids when they get cold enough. Turn your milk into a TSA-friendly solid in the freezer before your trip! It won't be subject to the same scrutiny it would be in its liquid state. Yay, science! So if you're going to be taking large quantities of breast milk on a plane, or any quantities at all, freeze as much of it as you can, and you have a considerably better chance of getting it past security without questions, testing, or additional screening.