How to Find the Best Breast Milk Storage Bags (2018 Reviews)
It wasn’t easy, but you finally managed to conquer your torturous breast pump.
You feel a sense of accomplishment looking at the spoils of your victory – your nutritious breast milk.
Now you just have to put it in something before it does spoil.
You need to find the best breast milk storage bags, so all your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
Quick Comparison: Our Top 5 Breast Milk Storage Bags
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth breast milk storage bag reviews below.
Why Should I Buy Special Bags?
If you are like I was when I was a new mom, you might wonder why you can’t just use a ziplock bag that you would find in any grocery store. After all, it would be more convenient, and if you can store food in them, shouldn’t they be fine for breast milk?
Here’s why you should pass on the plastic baggies and opt for breast milk storage bags:
- They are different from ziplock bags – they are specially made to store breast milk.
- They are BPA-free, thicker and can be used to freeze, thaw and warm the milk.
- Breast milk storage bags are heavy duty and sterile, which means your baby has a smaller chance of getting sick from any stray germs.
- It’s much easier to pour milk out of a breast milk storage bag than it is a ziplock bag -- many of them have spouts just for that reason.
Breast milk storage bags are also not the same thing as the bottle bags that are sometimes used for feeding. Those bags are much flimsier and are not recommended for storing milk – they are only to be used for feeding purposes.
Why Can’t I Use Cheap Breast Milk Storage Bags?
You wouldn’t go shopping and pick out a pair of shoes simply because they are the cheapest ones in the store. You don’t want to pick out breast milk storage bags solely based on price either – you want to look for quality, and you need to ensure the ones you pick are meeting all of your needs. Even though they are all just bags, some of them have features that make them better than others.
This is why you should consider choosing high quality storage bags over cheap, inferior brands:
1. For the Reliability
Whoever made up that old saying, “It’s no use crying over spilled milk,” had clearly never pumped their breasts.
Nothing can cause a woman to feel like she is turning into The Incredible Hulk faster than a leak from a breast milk storage bag.
Pumping that milk isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. To see a puddle of it on a refrigerator shelf is enough to bring out some serious rage in any woman. My screams of agony would echo around the world if one of my bags of breast milk went to waste.
More in Pumping: 33 Ways You Can Pump More Milk
2. For the Convenience
Superior bags have a design that makes it easy to pour milk into and out of these bags without spilling a drop.
As a new mom, it can feel like you’ve spent half your day pumping and you only end up with enough milk to fill a sewing thimble. So you want every last drop accounted for.
3. For the Safety
Unless you are a compulsive cleaner, your refrigerator can be a gross, nasty place. Just to be on the safe side, you want to make sure any breast milk you save is tightly sealed in a heavy duty bag to prevent any contamination from getting in.
You also need to label the breast milk with a date so you can toss any that has expired. The dates also help you rotate the stock in the refrigerator or freezer by allowing you to put the freshest ones in the back. Some bags have designated writing areas that are in an easy-to-spot location.
What Should I Look For in Breast Milk Storage Bags?
The main thing you’ll want in breast milk storage bags is durability. If you put that bag in the refrigerator or freezer and it gets a hole in it because something else punctured it, you’re going to be upset. And by upset, I mean ugly crying.
Is spilt milk something to get that worked up over? Not ordinarily, but you worked hard to express that milk. You gave up your time and comfort to do it. And when you have a limited milk supply, any waste makes you feel even worse. So you’ll want to look for a thick, durable bag that will limit those leaks.
You’ll also want to consider the size of the bag. If your baby is a newborn, you’ll want to go with a small bag -- one that only holds up to four ounces. That way you’re not thawing an 8-ounce bag and watching half the milk go to waste, or you’re not only filling that giant bag up to 4 ounces and watching that other space in the bag go unfilled. That will get expensive.
How Do I Use Breast Milk Storage Bags?
Before beginning to pump, you should wash your hands first, just like you would do if you were preparing dinner for your family (source).
After you’ve finished pumping, you take the milk you’ve collected and put it in a storage bag which you’ll either store in the refrigerator or the freezer. All you have to do is open your bag, pour the milk in and then remove the excess air from the bag before sealing.
You might be tempted to cram as much milk into one bag as you possibly can to get the most bang for your buck. You don’t want to do that, though. You should only put as much milk in one bag as you think your child will drink in one feeding.
If you use 8 ounces of breast milk in a bottle and start feeding your baby, but he’s only able to drink 4 ounces at a time, you’re out of luck.
Once your baby has started feeding off that bottle, any extra breast milk in there needs to be thrown away – it can’t be saved. Once your baby’s saliva has mixed with the breast milk, it can’t be refrigerated again (source).
If your baby needs more than you’ve given her in one bag, you can simply add more milk to her bottle from another bag. Then you can reseal that bag and put it in the refrigerator again until you need the rest of it.
Another reason you shouldn’t overfill the bags is that if you plan to put them in the freezer, the milk will expand as it freezes. You don’t want to throw away bags that have popped open in the freezer because you were trying to overstuff them.
How Will I Know Which Bag is The Freshest?
You should label the bag with a date and time to make sure you know when it was pumped. If your refrigerator is anything like mine, things get shoved around, moved from shelf to shelf and jammed way in the back. It’s easy to lose track of which one is the oldest bag if you don’t label it. It’s a simple step that takes the guesswork out of milk storage.
If you plan to bring milk bags to a daycare or a childcare provider so your baby can have breastmilk while you are at work, you should also write your child’s name on the bag. I spent a year right after college working in a daycare while I looked for a job in my profession and it was unbelievable how many people would forget to put their child’s name on the bag.
At any given time in the daycare there were multiple bags of breast milk in the refrigerator, but there was no way to tell who they belonged to. Grab a marker and always write a name on bags you are taking outside of your house.
Breast Milk Storage Bag Reviews
Now that you know exactly what to look for when buying storage bags, as well as how to safely store you milk --
These are our top 5 picks in 2018:
These are some of the larger bags on the market, and they have a patented double zipper seal, which means your breast milk shouldn’t end up all over the refrigerator shelf and your nearby fruits and vegetables.
It saves you from having to clean up your fridge and pump extra milk to make up for the loss. Lansinoh bags have a pourable spout to help get breast milk into bottles without spilling a drop.
These bags are designed to lay flat in the refrigerator or freezer to save room while storing multiple bags.
- It’s easy to tell when the double zipper is closed.
- If your baby is a little older and needs a larger quantity of breast milk, you might like these big bag sizes. The bags say they hold 6 ounces.
- Moms worried about the environment should be happy to know these bags are recyclable.
- These don’t have a plastic smell or taste.
- To open these bags you have to tear the top off and open a perforated edge which some women may find takes longer than opening other storage bags.
- Moms might not like that these bags are tricky to stand up while pouring milk in because they are made of a thinner plastic than some other storage bags.
These bags also use a double zipper seal, and they guarantee they are 100 percent leak-proof. NUK bags have a top seal that prevents tampering and have a gusset-free bottom which should mean fewer leaks from the bags’ corners.
The bags are self-standing, but they can also be stacked in the freezer to save room. The bags hold 6 ounces of milk. When frozen, you simply run warm water over the bags to thaw the milk. Because the bags are waterproof and seal well, all you’ll get is pure milk after you’ve melted it and poured it into a bottle – not a watered-down mixture.
- Moms may find it easier to get the air out of these bags because they aren’t as thick as some other bags.
- The writing section used for labeling is on the tab, not on the bag like some other brands.
- Because these bags are thinner, moms may find it’s trickier to get them to stand upright without a struggle. They will stand up, but it takes a little bit of work.
- Moms may not like the sometimes strong plastic smell these bags have.
These bags were made with a multi-ply design to help avoid splits and cracks. Ameda Store ‘n Pour bags have resealable zippers that are easy to close.
They also have a pour spout to cut down on spills. The bags are BPA free and safe for the freezer.
These bags are made of a thick plastic that helps the bags stand up on their own, which frees moms from needing extra arms to get milk transferred into the bags. Ameda bags are smaller than many others, only holding 5 ounces.
- Moms should like that the bags don’t often burst if they aren’t overfilled.
- Women may like that the handy pour spout will allow them to fill a bottle even while they are holding their baby.
- Moms might not like that if they use these bags in the freezer, they won’t be able to freeze the full 5 ounces because the bags don’t have much room left at the 5-ounce line. Some bags contain a lot of extra space just for the expansion created when the milk freezes, but these don’t.
- The shape of the bag – the top is smaller than the bottom -- makes them difficult to stack evenly in the freezer.
These bags are not only BPA free – they are latex free and phthalate free. Mommy’s Precious bags stand up by themselves because of their gusseted bottom design, so you don’t have to struggle and prop them up just to fill them.
The bags are made in China and uses a double zipper lock for closure. These are some big bags – they hold up to 8 ounces of milk. Once filled, they freeze flat to save on storage space. These bags claim their measuring lines are 95 percent accurate, which should be a big help to women who are tracking every ounce their child eats.
- The accurate measurements should help moms assess how much milk to pour into each bag.
- The safety seal on the bags prevents bacteria from entering the bag before they have been used.
- Moms may find these bags tricky to open because of the perforation on the bag.
- Although the plastic is thick, moms may worry it feels a little too brittle, especially in the freezer.
Latex and BPA free, these bags also are made from a phthalates-free material. Bow-Tiger bags stand on their own and have a double zipper seal which makes them less likely to leak.
Made of a thick, sturdy plastic, these bags hold 6 ounces each and come with a safety seal to ensure the bags haven’t been contaminated before use.
A sizable record panel on these bags has a spot for you to write your baby’s name, the number of ounces in the bag, and the date and the time you pumped the milk.
- These bags don’t spill when you are pouring milk into them because the plastic is so rigid.
- Moms may appreciate the fun heart decorations on the bags.
- These bags have a lot of extra room after the full mark, which might make moms feel more confident the bags won’t leak after the milk expands in the freezer.
- Moms might not like that pens won’t work on the labeling area – you will have to use markers or sticker labels.
- Women may not appreciate having to use scissors to cut the safety seal tops off these bags.
Our Top Pick Is...
Lansinoh takes the prize as my favorite breast milk storage bag. Despite our best efforts as moms and protectors of our breast milk, spill and leaks are a fact of life. They will occasionally happen with every brand out there. But the pourable spout and the patented double zipper seal makes leaks a rarity, not an everyday occurrence with these bags.
Lansinoh bags are the best all-purpose storage bag – they work well in the freezer when thawing out milk or for milk that is kept in the refrigerator. They don’t have that horrible plastic taste or smell. They hold a little more milk than some of their competitors, which is nice for when your baby’s appetite begins to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked
questions about breast milk storage bags to help you in your breastfeeding quest: