Best Breast Milk Storage Bags For Keeping You Milk
Let's face it: breastfeeding is awesome, but it's time consuming. So, I can’t think of anything more frustrating than when you’ve pumped and pumped, and you’ve had to dump out milk because it has gone bad.
Part of the reason the milk becomes unusable is because it wasn’t stored properly. As a new nursing Mum, I quickly learned the ropes when it came to make sure I was efficient with my milk and I used only the best stuff available to keep my milk fresh and full of nutrients for my son.
Read on to learn all about breastmilk storage bags, why you need them, and some tips for keeping your milk safe and superior.
Not all Mums nurse directly at all times. Some Mums choose to pump their milk, and store it to be used at a later time from a bottle—this could mean the milk is placed in the refrigerator for immediate use, or put in the freezer for later use.
Breast milk storage bags are pre-sterilized bags that can hold various amounts of milk. They are BPA free, so you know that your milk is being kept in something safe when it comes in contact with your baby. And, they are easy to seal up, store, and pour out when it’s feeding time.
They should not leak, and they should preserve all the essential goodness that breast milk has to offer your baby. Each bag should be used only once, and you may think that not being able to reuse the bags will become costly (don’t even try to wash them out!).
Luckily, there are some great bags on the market that are not only easily to fill and seal, but are also very affordable!
Important Features to Consider
- Some storage bags are simply better than others, mainly because of their features. Before purchasing any bags, consider only selecting bags that are:
- Pre-sterilized. Most storage bags are pre-sterilized, but if they are not the pass on them. When they are sold pre-sterilized, they just make life easier and eliminate extra work for you (especially if you are pumping in the middle of the night).
- What good are storage bags if you are unable to view how much milk you are placing in each one? Certain babies at certain stages can and should only have a certain amount of milk. You need a bag that is clearly labelled so you know how much milk to put in, but most importantly; how much milk you are dispensing out if you aren’t pouring out the entire bag.
- Stand up feature. Mums love when storage bags can stand on their own. They can be hands free and can place it in the fridge or on the counter top without worry about it toppling over and spilling everywhere.
- Strong seal. Some bags have a twist cap top, while others boast a double zipper design. Be sure to pick a bag that is known for its high ratings due to its leak-proof design.
- Compatible with a pump. Bags that can easily be attached to your breast pump are the best way to go. This ensures you have the least amount of spillage and that little to no germs come in contact with your milk.
- Freezer ready. Lots of Mums pump extra and try to plan out their feeding schedule and amounts to be served ahead of time. So, you need a bag that is able to be placed in the freezer for later use!
- Sold in a dispenser. While this isn’t exactly a necessity, it’s awfully nice when all the bags are dispensed in a tissue-like style design. They are stored compactly and are easy to access from a dispenser.
Breast Milk Storing Tips
- Now that you are aware of some awesome storage bags, here are some helpful storing tips that may help you stay organized and make the most out of your milk.
- Stay clean. Before expressing or pumping milk, your hands should be washed thoroughly. You don’t want to track germs or bacteria into your milk.
- Store in small batches. Some Mums go on a pumping tangent, but they end up not using all of the milk within a certain time frame because the batches that they pump out are too large. It’s always best to go for smaller amounts so not a single drop gets wasted!
- Always keep it cold. Don’t wait to put your milk in the fridge. The longer it sits out, the less fresh it is. Pop it in the fridge immediately to stay on the safe side, pushing it toward the back of the fridge (optimal temperature for storage is about 39 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Freeze it wisely. You should only be putting breast milk in the freezer if you know it will not be used within 24 hours or so. Also, keep in mind that your milk will expand, so be mindful not to fill the storage bags all the way to the top if you know you’re going to pop them in the freezer toward the back.
- Develop a system. Many Mums can’t open their fridge and see bags of milk everywhere. Many develop some kind of organizational system to stack or lay the bags neatly. They also use a permanent marker to label/date when the milk was expressed or pumped to ensure the milk is nothing but fresh and safe to serve.
- Know when to toss it. Milk shouldn’t be used any later than 4 hours if you’re keeping it out at room temperature, or more than 4 days when kept in the fridge. Milk that is frozen is good to go up to 9 months. Anything later than that, it’s time to toss it!
How To Thaw Frozen Milk
Many new nursing Mums have hesitations about freezing their milk. Trust me, if you have a high quality storage bag (like the ones reviewed above), you don’t have to worry about freezer burn, leaks, or low quality of your milk. When you are ready to use your frozen milk, you can thaw it out in a few different ways!
Go for the oldest first. You want to date every bag that you place in the fridge or freezer. And, when thawing out milk, always choose from the oldest milk first. This will ensure you won’t waste any that you pumped.
Place it in the fridge. Many Mums simply plan ahead and place a frozen milk storage bag in the fridge overnight. This way, it’s ready to go the next morning when you need it! Just be sure to give yourself at least 12 hours for it to defrost.
Dunk it in warm water. I had a few friends who would place a bag in a cup of warm water, allowing it to thaw out slowly, but effectively.
Place it in a bottle warmer. Total disclaimer! You have to thoroughly read your bottle warmer’s instructions. If it allows you to thaw out a milk storage bag, then go for it! Some will and some will not. This is a quick and easy way to thaw out frozen milk.