Which breast milk storage bags are the best? If I’m trying to cut down on single-use plastics, what alternatives do I have to these bags? And what’s the best way to use these tools to store my breast milk? Great questions, mama. We’ve got answers.
Back when my boys were babies, pumping and storing milk was at the very top of the list of things I hated dealing with as a new mama. (After I was done pumping, potty training took its place at the top of that particular list…)
On the Mindful Return blog, we’ve covered a number of pumping-related topics in the past, including:
- Cooler Bags for Breastmilk Storage and Transportation
- Pumping at Work: An Honest Look at Life as a Working – and Pumping – Mom
- Sending Milk and Daycare Snacks: Logistical Tips & Tricks
- Pumping and Feeding Your Baby on Travel Just got Easier…with Mamava
- Pumping Rooms as an Office Building Amenity: Amen!
- What’s a Freemie? A Genius Invention for Pumping Mamas.
- Sarah Wells Breast Pump Bags: An Interview with Sarah Herself!
- Oh, the Places You’ll Pump! (read this when you need a laugh)
But until today, we’ve never specifically covered those pesky little breast milk storage bags.
Being a few years out from pumping (hard to believe my boys are now 7 and 9!), I queried my Mindful Return alumnae community, and they were excited to share. Here are their pumping mama pro tips.
Which Breast Milk Storage Bags Are the Best?
The questions I put to my Mindful Return mamas were: What breast milk storage bags have you liked? Which have caused you problems (if any)? And are there other storage tips you think I should include?
Here are the bags they preferred:
Kiinde Twist Pouch Breast Milk Storage Bags: Lots of mamas wrote in to say that they were “huge fans” of these breast milk storage bags. You can pump directly into the bag from most pumps and then put a nipple on them (with adapters), so that no other bottles are needed.
Pros? No bottle washing. Saves space in pump and daycare bags. And they have an easy-to-twist top.
Cons? They don’t freeze flat, so they do take up more space in the freezer. The bottle may not work for you individual child. And they’re more expensive than the other storage options.
Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags: These were my own personal favorites when I was pumping, and the Mindful Return alums still like them. As one mama noted, “if you freeze them flat and thin in small increments, they store and thaw really well.” Her “small increments” caution is important; too many ounces (in my experience, more than 6), and they can explode!
Ameda Store’N Pour Milk Storage Bags: Word on the street is that they don’t leak. The tear-off spout is also awesome for pouring defrosted milk into a bottle. The mama who recommended these even got them free through her BlueCross & BlueShield insurance.
Target Up&Up Breastmilk Storage Bags: The mama who recommended these said she freezes these flat and hasn’t had any problems with them.
Looking to Avoid Single-Use Plastic Bags? Check Out These Other Breast Milk Storage Options
If you are trying to avoid single-use plastic and want more environmentally friendly options, the Mindful Return mamas have advice for you on that front, too. They recommend storing in glass, plastic, and silicone containers:
- Medela Containers: You can freeze milk in the normal Medela bottles with screw-on lids or in Medela’s Breast Milk Storage Bottles.
- Silicone Food Storage Bags: These bags are reusable, and measuring from the bottle you pump into can eliminate the need to have measurements on the bags themselves.
- Ceres Chill Breastmilk Cooler: This cooler is made for mamas who are on the road or who don’t have ready access to a chilling fridge. It keeps the milk cold all day, and there’s no plastic waste.
Breast Milk Storage Bag Pro Tips
Once you’ve got your breast milk storage bags, what do you do with them? Well yes, of course you fill them with milk. But with liquid gold in your freezer, you want to make sure you don’t lose any!
Here are some practical tactical storage tips:
- Freeze in different increments, so you have bags with 1, 2, 3, 4 ounces, etc. When baby’s intake amounts change (which they inevitably do!), you can mix and match to get the right amounts without wasting.
- Wire drawers in your freezer? Freeze the bags flat on a baking sheet, and then put them upright in bins like these, sorted by date.
- Creative idea from a Mindful Return mama: stack the bags vertically in cardboard cream cheese boxes in the freezer!
- Check with your insurance company, to see if they’ll pay for the breast milk storage bags. One mama said her insurance companies sends her 200+ bags for free, when she says she needs them.
- If insurance doesn’t cover the bags, it’s likely that your flex spending account does!
Best wishes on your pumping journey, mama. It’s no walk in the park, but we’ve got your back as you go through this exhausting – and amazing – period of life.
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave.