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.
Simplisse Storage Bags:
-Has a place to write a date and amount of milk.
-Thicker bag and will stand on its own.
-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
Medela Storage Bags:
-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.
-Less than stellar reviews on amazon.com
-Around $15 for a 50-pack on amazon.com, $21 for 50-pack at Babies R’ Us.
Lansinoh Storage Bags:
-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/
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.
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.
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.
-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.