Choosing A Breastmilk Storage System
There are endless options available for storing breastmilk.
Everything from glass and plastic bottles to freezer bags
and trays has been designed specifically for storing expressed
milk. With so many storage systems to choose from, selecting one
storage method can be a challenge.
Which storage system you will use will be determined by:
- How much breastmilk do you plan to store (at any given time)?
- How much storage space you have available?
- How often you plan to use your expressed breastmilk for feedings?
- How long you anticipate storing your expressed milk?
Healthcare professionals and La Leche League recommend storing expressed breastmilk in one of the following three container types: glass, clear, hard plastic (polycarbonate) or cloudy, hard plastic (polypropylene).
Freezer Storage Bags and Disposable Bottle Liners
Plastic storage bags are a great space saving storage option if you have limited freezer space for your expressed milk. However, you should be sure to only use freezer storage bags and not plastic bottle liners when storing breastmilk.
Breastmilk freezer storage bags are designed for storing and freezing breastmilk. These bags easily fit onto your breast pump and allow you to express milk directly into the bag. Freezer storage bags are thick, pre-sterilized, and seal easily. They also have an area designated for labeling the milk with dates.
Disposable bottle liners are designed for infant feeding, not breastmilk storage. Bottle liners are not recommended for storage because the thin plastic cannot protect the milk from freezer burn, the bags do not seal easily, there is no area for labeling, and the seams of the bag may burst during freezing and leak during thawing.
When selecting a milk storage system, convenience often takes precedence over the decision. For this reason, mothers often opt for plastic storage bags because they take up less space and are single-use items that do not require cleaning. However, while the bags are convenient for storing they are less convenient for feeding because pouring milk out of bags can be awkward.
Breastmilk storage trays are another convenient storage method. These trays are made of flexible plastic that allows you to store milk in convenient one-ounce cubes. The small cubes thaw very quickly and make it easy to prepare small bottles to avoid waste.
Other mothers find it far more convenient to pump, store, and feed from the same container. By using bottles for storage the repeated transfer of the milk from one container to another is eliminated. Hard, clear plastic bottles are great for storing and feeding refrigerated and frozen milk.
Regardless of which storage system you choose, you should always be sure to clean your storage containers properly prior to use. For tips on keeping your pump and storage containers clean refer to the article Cleaning Your Pump.
Return to: Breastmilk Storage Tips & Tricks