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How can I ship my expressed breast milk home when I'm away from my baby?

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Updated April 21, 2009

Question: How can I ship my expressed breast milk home when I'm away from my baby?
Whether you're taking a trip from New York to Las Vegas and not taking your baby with you, or you're moving from California to Connecticut and have 100 bags of frozen milk that you want to take with you, it is possible to ship your milk safely.
Answer: The most ideal way to ship breast milk is to overnight it on dry ice or gel packs. You will want to use dry ice for shipping frozen breast milk as it will freeze everything in the shipping box. Use gel packs if you want your breast milk to be refrigerated. Neither FedEx or UPS actually have dry ice on-hand, so you will have to buy it elsewhere. Check out the Dry Ice Directory to find the closest place to purchase it. Keep in mind that most dry ice retailers only sell the ice, not the packaging, so you should speak with someone at your overnight shipping company about how to package your breast milk properly. They typically use a styrofoam box and place that in a larger cardboard box. Depending on how much milk you are planning to ship, the costs will vary, but as a reference, 25 pounds of dry ice will run you about $18.00

Once your milk is packaged and ready to ship with a "dry ice" label on the box (you can get these at your FedEx or UPS depot or, if being picked up, the driver should have them), these companies take extra care to ensure it is handled and delivered appropriately.

Most importantly, make sure that there is someone at the breast milk's destination to receive the shipment! If it is frozen, it needs to go into a freezer as soon as possible. If it is refrigerated, the same rule applies. It is important to note that dry ice will vaporize at a rate of five to ten pounds every 24 hours in a typical ice chest. This continues from the time of purchase so you should pick up the dry ice as close to the time that you need it as possible. Bring an ice chest to hold the dry ice and to slow that rate down.

Moreover, enjoy your trip! With a little organization, this will work perfectly!

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How to Pump and Store Breast Milk

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