With breastmilk being considered “liquid gold,” we know that you’re looking for a breastmilk storage bag that can rise to the challenge of protecting it. But what are the best breastmilk storage bags?
There are some considerations to take into mind when choosing a breastmilk storage bag that include:
- Freezer space. How much freezer space do you have, and how will the bags need to fit inside the space? For example, if you have limited space but the need for a lot of storage, breastmilk bags that freeze flat might make more sense for you than choosing bags designed to stand upright.
- Handler. Who will be handling your breastmilk bags and what are their needs? Your partner who has been through babies before might be a little different than a 15-year-old babysitter feeding a baby with breast milk for the first time.
- Budget. The cost of breastmilk storage bags is usually pretty minimal, but other options, such as reusable bottles, may also make more economical sense for your family, so you can consider all storage options for your breastmilk.
Breastmilk Storage Bags
Plastic breastmilk storage bags are definitely the most commonly used method for storing, freezing, transporting, and thawing breast milk. They are a preferred option primarily because they are so inexpensive, easy to use, and efficient.
In general, we recommend that you use the brand of breastmilk storage bags that come with your own individual breast pump, simply because some of the bags are specifically designed to work with your breast pump. For example, some breast pumps will allow for you to pump directly into storage bags.
However, even breastmilk pumps with specific storage bags don’t require that bag only in order to work; you can freeze the milk in one bag, then transfer it to another storage container or option if your pump or bottle requires it, so your options are pretty flexible. Some of the most popular breastmilk storage bag options are Lansinoh bags ($12.99 for a pack of 100 bags on Amazon) or Medela bags ($14.99 for 100 6-ounce bags on Amazon).
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your breastmilk storage bags:
- Double-bag it. When using a new bag that you aren’t familiar with yet (read: you totally aren’t sure if it’s actually going to work or leak all over the place), feel free to double-bag it. That way, any leaks that may occur will stay in the second bag and not all over your purse or pump bag.
- Fill bags halfway. Especially if you will be having a new caregiver or a partner who will be learning the ropes on how to fill bottles from your breast milk bags, it may be wise to fill the bags only halfway after you pump. That way, whoever is filling the bottles can get some practice with the correct pour-in technique and if spills happen, less of your liquid gold is wasted. Phew!
- Never re-use breast milk storage bags. No matter how tempting it is, the risk is just not worth it. Even if you wash out a previously-used breast milk storage bag, it could still be contaminated and the plastic in the bag could break down, exposing your baby to particles, or causing the bag to leak or not seal properly. When in doubt, throw it out and use a fresh bag.
Bag-Free Breastmilk Storage
Instead of bags, some families may find that investing in reusable or disposable storage bottles is a better option for their families. In reality, you can use most any freezer-safe plastic or glass storage container.
Some families may want to freeze breast milk directly in the baby bottles their infant will be using for convenience, while some mothers may want more eco-friendly options, which usually includes reduced-chemical storage bags or ditching the plastic completely in lieu of glass storage. You aren’t limited to strictly using bottles or bags for breastmilk storage; you could creative with your storage and try different options, such as:
- Baby food containers. This set of 12-count freezer containers could serve triple-duty as breastmilk storage, baby food storage containers, and later, excellent lunch snack containers for your big kids.
- Mason jars. Surprised? Some experts say it’s totally fine to use a regular glass mason jar to store your breast milk in. It’s easy, affordable, and convenient.
If you do choose a bag-free option, be sure to check with your doctor or pediatrician before using it for breastmilk storage and ensure that you are properly sanitizing the containers, following the CDC’s recommended guidelines for freezing and unthawing, and regularly inspecting your containers for any signs of breakdown, like cracks.
Breastmilk Storage Travel Options
If you’re a mom who travels frequently, you know that storing and transporting your breast milk can be a huge challenge when you’re away from your baby, especially for longer trips.
Some moms make it work by bringing coolers, ice packs, and their own supplies, but there are other options to ship your breastmilk directly back to your baby when you’re on-the-go through solutions Milk Stork or the cold shipping option with FedEx, ensuring you don’t have to lug a suitcase full of breast milk on a place with you. Genius.
Do you have a go-to favorite for breastmilk storage bags? Let us know!