Do you have extra breast milk that you need to freeze? Here are the basics of how to prepare your breast milk to store in the freezer, how to pick the best breast milk storage bag for you, and how to figure out how many milk storage bags you’ll need.
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Breast Milk Storage Bag Basics
Before you buy breast milk bags (and especially before reading any reviews), a few general things that you should know:
- Unfortunately, there are no reusable breast milk storage bags. Breast milk bags are generally pre-sterilized and intended for a single use.
- All breast milk bags leak sometimes, so if you go to amazon, you’re going to see “my breast milk leaked when I used these bags” in the reviews for every single option. Your goal is to get a bag that leaks less often than most other bags, and then to defrost your milk in a way that minimizes or eliminates waste.
- The milk measurements on breast milk bags (for pretty much all brands) are not particularly trustworthy. If accurate amounts are important to you, measure the amount of milk in a bottle or on a food scale before you put it in the storage bag.
- Keep a Sharpie with your breast milk freezer bags and write down the amount and date pumped on the bag. If your milk may be used in a childcare setting at some point in the future, write your baby’s name on it as well.
- When you’re freezing breast milk, lay it flat to freeze and then put the resulting frozen brick into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag for long-term storage. Storing breastmilk flat saves space versus freezing upright. Additionally, the Ziploc bag will help prevent the breast milk from getting freezer burn.
- Once you fill up a Ziploc bag, write the month that milk was pumped on a sheet of paper in big block letters with your Sharpie and then put that in the Ziploc bag. This way, you don’t have to dig through your freezer to find the oldest milk, which you should use first.
Pumping Into Breast Milk Bags Versus Just Using Them for Storage
There are two ways to use breast milk freezer bags:
- Pump directly into the storage bag (usually by attaching the bag to the pump using an adapter).
- Pump into a bottle and pour the milk you want to freeze into the bag. (Note: If you do this, use your flange as a funnel to avoid spilling milk.)
Which one you’ll want to do depends on your system for handling and storing breast milk. If you pump just enough milk for your baby (with maybe a little extra to freeze), and you are usually with your baby, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to pump directly into storage bags.
On the other hand, if you are an oversupplier who frequently freezes the milk from one pumping session per day, pumping directly into the breast milk storage bag saves you the hassle of washing two bottles.
Also, some women who work or are apart from their baby during travel prefer to transport milk in breast milk bags instead of bottles, because they take up less room. If you’d rather carry breast milk back and forth in storage bags, then pumping into them directly might be easier.
Otherwise, it probably makes the most sense to just pump into bottles and transfer the milk you plan to freeze later.
The Six Best Breast Milk Storage Bags
Below are six of the best breast milk storage bags, with the pros and cons of each type.
Lansinoh Breast Milk Storage Bags
Lansinoh makes a great, lower-priced breast milk bag that is compatible with several breast pumps.
- Strong bags with a double seal. (In my personal experience, these are the least likely to leak.)
- Ability to pump directly into the bags using an adaptor with Lansinoh pumps as well as with some Ameda, Evenflo, and Medela pumps
- Easy to store breast milk flat with these bags
- Holds more milk than other bags (technically 6oz, but I’ve put up to 8oz in there without any issues)
- Low Price
- Adapters not compatible with Spectra S1 or S2 (only the Spectra manual pump)
NUK seal N’ Go Breast Milk Bags
NUK breast milk storage bags are another basic, low-priced option.
- Durable bags with a double seal
- Easy to pour out of
- Lays flat well in the freezer
- Low Price
- Not designed to work with any adaptors
Booby Bags are one of the largest capacity bags available.
- Very large capacity for breast milk bags (up to 8oz)
- Double seal
- Cute design – each bag has a bird and a fun fact on it (though the fun fact might be the same on every bag in the box)
- Writing area is on the bag itself rather than on the top tab, which is awkward when it’s full
- Can be difficult to open
Kiinde Breast Milk Storage Twist Pouch
The Kiinde Breast Milk Storage Pouch isn’t just a breast milk bag, it’s a whole feeding system!
- With this breast milk bag, you can pump into it and then store, warm and feed right from the bag (you will need to buy an adaptor separately that fits your pump; all major breast pump models are supported)
- No need to ever transfer milk, which means fewer spills
- No washing bottles, ever
- Higher price point, and exclusive pumpers will need a lot of bags.
- Higher level of waste than pumping into reusable bottles (however, these bags are recyclable)
- To use the full system, your baby will have to take the Kiinde Squeeze bottle for feeding (some babies are picky about what bottles they will take)
Dr Brown’s Breast Milk Storage Bags
These storage bags are built to be extra sturdy.
- Has extra thick sides for durability
- Double seam to prevent leaks
- Doesn’t lay as flat as other breast milk bags (and it’s difficult to get the air out), which makes storage harder
- Not designed to work with any adapters
Medela Pump & Save
The Medela Pump & Save bags come with adapters that can be used with most Medela breast pumps.
- Can pump directly into these bags using adaptors, which are included
- Good for pumping when you’re away from your baby
- Easy to spill when pouring into bottles if you don’t remember to turn the bag sideways (otherwise the milk pours out of the adapter holes)
- Smaller than other breast milk storage bags (only holds up to 5oz)
- Can be difficult to seal if you get any breast milk in the sealing area
What to Consider about When Choosing a Breast Milk Storage Bag
So which of these six breast milk storage bags should you get? Here are some things to think about.
Do you want to pump directly into breast milk storage bags?
If so, you’ll want a breast milk bag that is intended to work with an adapter and works with your pump. (For breast milk storage bags compatible with Medela, your options are Pump and Save, Lansinoh, and Kiinde. If you’re wondering how to pump into storage bags with a Spectra, Kiinde is your best bet.)
If you do not want to pump into storage bags, I would cross the Pump and Save and Kiinde breast milk bags off of your list.
How many breast milk storage bags do you need?
It depends on whether you’re pumping into bags or not, and how much extra you’ll have to store. If you’re pumping into bags, you’ll need twice as many as the number of pumping sessions you’ll be doing that.
For example, if you pump directly into storage bags once a day due to oversupply, you’d need two bags per day, or about 60 per month.
On the other hand, if you’re storing extra milk that you pump into bottles, you can calculate it by determining the number of ounces you want to store in each bag and the amount each day that you usually have leftover.
Say you have 5 oz extra each day and want to store in 3 oz portions. You’d have an extra 35 oz each week, which divided by 3 is 12 bags. Twelve bags per week means you’d need about 50 per month.
How much storage space do you need in your bags?
What do you think is the best breast milk storage bag? Tell us in the comments!