- What are breast milk storage bags?
- How to choose the best breast milk storage bags
- How to store breast milk
- How to thaw frozen breast milk
- Final tips
As a new mum, even if you have decided to exclusively breast feed, there will be times when you need to express or pump and store your breast milk. You may have to go back to work, or maybe dad wants to take a turn during night feeds. So, the next challenge you face is how to store your precious breast milk without fears of spilling and for easy storage? That’s where breast milk storage bags come in. But first:
What are breast milk storage bags?
Breast milk storage bags have become the latest go-to product for storing your expressed milk and for feeding baby. They are made from 100% BPA free plastic that is thicker and of a higher grade than normal food storage bags. So don’t try storing your valuable milk in a normal ‘zip-lock’ food bag!
Breast milk storage bags can be uses to store breast milk in the fridge or the freezer. Plus you can store a good quality breast milk storage bag lying flat, and they will not leak, which saves you space in your freezer. In addition, you can use breast milk storage bags to thaw or warm breast milk, and to fill up bottles or to feed your baby.
How to choose the best breast milk storage bags:
Like any baby products, there are many brands to choose from. So how do you decide which one is best for you? Here’s a few handy tips to help you choose the right brand:
- Firstly, make sure you are choosing breast milk bags that are specifically designed for the purpose of storing breast milk. Breast milk bags are made from high quality, BPA free plastic which is of a higher grade than normal food bags. Plus they are prefect for the fridge or the freezer.
- Look for leak proof seals and tamper resistant lids – after all you don’t want to waste a drop of your liquid gold!
- Think about the space where you will store them in your fridge or freezer. One of the main advantages of good quality storage bags is that they can be laid flat and stacked in your freezer, saving you space. Always store frozen breast milk at the back of your freezer where there are less fluctuations in temperature.
- While most breast milk storage bags are single use and disposable, there are some brands that offer a reusable solution. The Cherub Baby brand of breast milk storage bags come pre-sterilised so that you can use them straight away. Plus you can reuse each bag up to 5 times, which is so much better for the environment!
- Finally, is there enough space for labelling on the breast milk storage bags? Writing the date the milk was expressed is very important. As is writing the name of your baby if he or she has to go to daycare.
You may also want to consider the pump and the bottles that you are using. With some breast pumps you can express directly into the breast milk bags, however you will need to check if they are compatible.
How to store breast milk.
Breast milk storage bags have become the easiest and most practical way to store expressed breast milk. Depending on your brand of pump you can express directly into the storage bags, or into a baby bottle and then pour into the bags. Freestanding storage bags can help make the process easier.
After you have labelled the bags you can store the bags in the back of the fridge for up to 4 days. If you are not going to use it during this time it is best to freeze your precious milk. It is best to store frozen breast milk at the back of the freezer for up to 6 months. However, you can store frozen breast milk in a chest or deep freezer for up to 12 months.
How to thaw frozen breast milk.
The ideal way to defrost frozen breast milk is overnight in the fridge. It’s possible to store defrosted breast milk in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Do not re-freeze breast milk once it has thawed. If you have forgotten to take the milk out of the freezer and need the milk in a few minutes, defrost it under cool, then warm, running water, or place it in a bowl of warm water.
Never use a microwave to heat breast milk. It can cause hotspots that may burn your babies mouth. Always dry the outside of the breast milk bag before you open it, and use it straight away.
A good quality breast milk storage bag should come pre-sterilised so that it is ready to use. It should be easy to fill, and should not leak when stored flat. Make sure there is ample space for labelling and to top it all it should be reusable.
It’s also worth noting that it is better to pay a little more for a better quality breast milk storage bag. Your breast milk is like gold, and you don’t want to waste a single drop!