Most breast milk bags are made of plastic, pre-sterilized, and intended for a single use. After breast milk is frozen and thawed in this kind of bag, the bag should be discarded. However, new reusable breast milk storage bags made of silicone are now an option, too – here’s how they work and when you should use them.
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Pros and cons of reusable breast milk bags
Some of the advantages to using reusable bags include:
- They don’t leak! They are very well-made and sturdy.
- Because you’re not always throwing away plastic bags, they are very eco-friendly.
- They are made of silicone and allow you to avoid using plastic.
- After you’re done breastfeeding, you can use it for other things (it’s similar to a Stasher bag with a slightly different shape).
The only real con is the price – reusable breast milk bags are more expensive than disposable bags.
Additionally, they might not make sense for all reasons you might want to freeze milk.
When to use reusable storage bags
Reusable bags obviously don’t make sense for building up a huge freezer stash – both because the price of the bags is too high, and because of the point of the bags is to reuse them.
So when does it make sense to use a reusable bag? Here are a few scenarios.
- If you’re pumping breast milk at work and won’t feed it to your baby for a few days or more (say, you pump on Friday and your baby won’t use the milk until Monday), it might make sense to freeze the milk rather than store it in the refrigerator. If you do this every week, reusable bags make sense.
- You are a “just enougher” (meaning you pump about as much as your baby needs each day) with a small freezer stash that you’re rotating.
- You prefer to travel with milk (going to and from work, or on a plane) in bags rather than bottles, because they take up less room.
However, if you’re freezing thousands of ounces of milk so that you can wean early and keep giving your baby breast milk until they turn one, it doesn’t make sense to use a reusable bag. You won’t actually be reusing the bag (because when you thaw and feed the milk, you won’t be pumping anymore).
Defrosting breast milk
You can defrost breast milk in reusable bags the same way that you would in ordinary plastic bags – in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in warm water.
You may also be able to use silicone bags to defrost milk frozen in plastic bags. Here are some stories showing how I did this:
Cleaning the bags
Before cleaning a reusable breast milk storage bag, check the manufacturer’s instructions.
However, most bags can be hand washed in the sink (and then air dried). Another option is to wash them on the top rack of the dishwasher, and they can be sterilized in the same manner as other breast pump gear.
Where to get reusable breast milk bags
Here are a few options for buying reusable breast milk bags.
Junobie makes super cute yellow, white, pink, and green breast milk bags made out of silicone. They hold 8 oz each.
Momcozy’s silicone breast milk storage bags have a twist top seal and hold 8.5 oz.
Legendairy Milk silicone breast milk bags hold 8 oz of breast milk – take 15% off with the code 15EPUMP!
Have you ever used reusable breast milk bags? Tell us your experience in the comments!