Breastmilk Storage Tips and Tricks

by Melanie Gray, TCM apprentice

With all of the choices available to breastfeeding moms, (which can be so overwhelming!) here is a breakdown of some of the pros and cons with common products used to store expressed milk.

Photo from target.com

Simplisse Storage Bags:
-Has a place to write a date and amount of milk.
-Double zipper
-Thicker bag and will stand on its own.
-BPA free
-Great reviews on the storage bags, not great reviews on the breastpump (manual or electric)
-Found at Babies R’ Us in Blaine and Minnetonka or online.
-$8 for a pack of 25 bags on amazon.com, $7 for a pack of 25 on drugstore.com
-Milk has to be transferred from the pumping bottles to the bag.
-Can be frozen flat

Photo from drugstore.com

Medela Storage Bags:
-Single zipper
-Supposed to be able to freeze flat
-Can be pumped directly into with the Medela double electric pumps.
-Smaller, so good for storing smaller amounts of milk.
-Thicker plastic
-BPA free
-Less than stellar reviews on amazon.com
-Around $15 for a 50-pack on amazon.com, $21 for 50-pack at Babies R’ Us.

Photo from seriouslybaby.com

Lansinoh Storage Bags:
-Double zipper
-Can be frozen flat for easy stacking
-Has a place to write date and amount of milk.
-Has a easy-pour design
-Larger bags for room to store more milk.
-Bottom seams tend to leak due to thinner plastic
-Some reviews report “freezer smells” getting into the milk.
-$6.99 on amazon.com, $7.99 at Babies R’ us for a pack of 25 bags

A cool link that shows how you can store breastmilk bags in the freezer, dispenser-style: http://greenlitebites.com/2011/06/02/breast-milk-storage/

Photo from toysrus.com

Philips AVENT VIA Breastmilk storage system:

-Pieces are all built to work together, cups be used for storage and as bottles.
-Milk can be expressed directly into the cups with an AVENT pump.
-Is BPA free and dishwasher safe.
-Easy to stack in the freezer.
-Can be used multiple times.
-Can be used for baby food storage later on.
-Amazon users report some leakage if lid isn’t carefully screwed on, some cumbersomeness with using them as a bottle, and it takes longer to defrost.
-Around $10 for a starter pack including: 2 nipples, 2 sealing disks, 2 bottle adapters, 5 cups and 5 lids. Additional cups and lids are sold separately.

Photo from drugstore.com

Sensible Lines Milk Trays:
-Milk is frozen into 1 oz serving “pops” that fit inside bottles
-Trays are BPA-free plastic, easy to wash and come with a lid for storage.
-Easy to pop-out, reusable, milk doesn’t stick to bags when defrosted.
-$20 online

Photo from amazon.com

Tovolo Perfect Cube Silicone Ice Cube Trays:
-Exactly 1 oz per cube

-Once the milk is frozen, pop them out and place the cubes in a freezer ziploc bag with the date on it so you’ll know old how the milk is.

-Found at amazon.com for around $11 for 2 trays.

Glass Bottles:
-Chemical and plastic free
-Some bottles are designed to attach directly to the breastpump (Medela has this option)
-Can be taken directly from the freezer for defrosting, no need to transfer.
-Can be placed in the dishwasher
-Needs to be labeled with masking tape.
-Needs to be carefully stored to prevent cracks or broken glass.

Storing and Defrosting Breastmilk:
The easiest way to remember storage duration for breastmilk is to remember 6 for everything:

-At room temperature for up to 6 hours.

-In the fridge for up to 6 days.

-In the freezer attached to the fridge up to 6 weeks (possibly longer if placed in the very back, not in the door).

-In a deep chest freezer for up to 6 -12 months.

The ideal way to defrost frozen milk is to place it in the fridge overnight to allow it to defrost slowly. If you need the milk in a pinch here a few helpful tips:

-Never use a microwave. It can destroy the beneficial milk properties and antibodies. It also will heat the milk unevenly, leading to hot spots that can scald baby’s mouth.

-Simply place the breastmilk storage container in a cup of warm water, close to body temperature to preserve all of the milk’s amazing properties. Changing out the water a few times will help to defrost the milk faster.

-You can also try placing the bottle under warm running water for a few minutes.

-Always check the temperature on the inside of your arm before giving warmed milk to baby.

One thought on “Breastmilk Storage Tips and Tricks

  1. This is great! Thanks! I’m currently pumping and storing LOTS of breastmilk for a friend’s adopted baby and I’m looking for other options besides the Lansinoh bags. This has given me a couple of ideas…. 😉

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