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Two moms trying to raise their families a little greener, a little healthier, and with a whole lot of love. All this while trying to save a little green along the way. Product reviews, green ideas, money-saving tips, and more!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Breast Milk Storage Bags

As a first time mom I took every parenting class my O.B. office offered. In each and every class the nurse discussed the benefits of breastfeeding. I had every intention of giving breastfeeding a try but I didn't know many people who had tried and maintained exclusive breastfeeding. Most people I had spoken with said they had given breastfeeding a shot BUT; their milk didn't come in, they didn't have enough milk, the baby was too hungry, they didn't have the time, it hurt, etc, and so they supplemented with formula or they stopped nursing all together. I honestly thought that the majority of new moms tried nursing but eventually turned to formula. I would say that my dedication to breastfeeding didn't truly start until my milk came in. Not that I wasn't committed when T and I were still in the hospital but at that point it still didn't seem real to me. It wasn't until the morning that I woke up with gigantic rock hard boobs that I knew this was the most natural experience for T and I.

Let me tell you, breastfeeding didn't come naturally for me, and the emergency c-section didn't make it any easier immediately following T's birth. I remember reading in books and being told that a proper latch was not supposed to hurt. So why did my toes curl and my body wrench in pain every time T latched on for the first week or so? According to the nurses and lactation consultants I was doing everything right I just needed to give it a little time. It did get better, much better, and once I got the knack of breastfeeding I was determined to provide T with breastmilk for his first year of life. In my mind this meant stockpiling as much frozen milk as possible! When I reached over 200 ounces my husband and I purchased a deep freezer so the milk could remain frozen for a year if needed. I would need lots of milk storage bags to store all the milk I envisioned I would be able to collect. I was fortunate enough to be able to take a 5 month leave from work so during that time I pumped like crazy (in addition to nursing T). I set collection goals for myself (200 ounces, 400 ounces, etc). I felt a huge sense of accomplishment each time I added to my stash. So, through this process I tried out a variety of milk storage bags. While the 'greener' storage solution would be to use reusable breastmilk storage bottles or containers that wasn't an option for me with the quantity that I was looking to store.

The first bags I tried were the Medela Pump and Save breastmilk bags. These bags are BPA free, feature a zipper top, no-spill bottom, and exclusive self-stick strap that attaches to breastpump. The bags also have a special double-walled plastic which retains the beneficial properties of breastmilk. These bags are pre-sterilized, disposable, long-term freezing bags, and are compatible with all Medela breastpumps for pumping directly into the bag. I never pumped directly into the bags so I can't comment on the that feature. These bags hold 5 ounces of expressed breastmilk and feature a tab that allows you to record your name, amount stored, and the date. In general I loved these bags but I wish that they would hold just one more ounce! These bags will cost around $18.99 for a 50 count. These are definitely the priciest of the 4 mentioned here but they do seem to be the best quality.

Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags became my go to bag. The main features I liked about this bag were that it is BPA free, has a double zipper feature, and it can hold 6 ounces. I felt that the more milk I could store in a bag the more room I may be able to save in my freezer. This bag also features a pretty large tab to write pertinent information on. I loved how flat these bags froze when placed flat in the freezer. They froze in super thin sheets and saved me a ton of room. However, these bags are thiner than the Medela bags which I didn't think was a problem until I started to defrost my frozen milk. There were a number of times when I would defrost the milk in a container of warm water and the bag would begin to leak. Can you imagine my horror! It seems like these bags tear or ding easily. I had to resort to defrosting all my Lansinoh bags inside another plastic zip lock bag so I could save any milk that could possibly leak out of a tiny tear or hole. I never had any problems with my Medela bags leaking. However, after my experience with leaking bags I will ALWAYS defrost the storage bags inside a zip lock bag, no matter what the brand of storage bag I used. The Lansinoh bags will cost about $11.99 for a 50 count. These seem to be the best value out there.

I also tried out
The First Years Easy Pour Milk Storage bags. These were my least favorite of the milk storage bags I tried. Honestly, I hated them. In my opinion they were bulky, I hated the easy pour handle, and the easy pour spout was by no means easy. These bags also held 6 ounces which was the only aspect that I liked. Another downfall of these bags is that they do not have a tab to write the date and ounces stored. The space to write the information is right on the center of the bag. Call me crazy or paranoid, but I didn't want my milk laying against marker ink. I imagined the ink seeping through the plastic and tainting my precious milk. I also felt that these bags were pretty thin and I thought the 'zipper' was difficult to close. I would use these bags again if I was in a pinch and had nothing else available, but that is about the only circumstance. The First Years milk storage bags will set you back about $7.00 for a package of 25. (I could not locate info on if these bags are BPA free)

A friend of mine uses the
Gerber Seal N Go storage bags and loves them. I have not been impressed with any Gerber product that I've tried so I didn't even bother to try these bags out. The Gerber bags will cost around $12.99 for a 45 bags. (I could not locate info on if these bags are BPA free)

The Lansinoh bags were the primary bags I used and they met my needs. I will definitely use these bags again with future babies, BUT will always defrost them inside another zip lock bag. Without these milk storage bags I would not have been able to store upwards of 800 ounces of breastmilk for my little T. (800 ounces may sound like a lot, but if your little one is drinking 20 ounces of breastmilk a day those 800 ounces will only last 40 days!) In the end, I did meet my goal of providing T exclusively with breastmilk for his first year of life. Wahoo, what a great sense of accomplishment and what a wonderful give for my little guy!


  1. I use the Lansinoh bags now too. I started with the Gerber bags but love the double seal on the Lansinoh bags.

    Congrats on making it to a year! I have a post on my blog about the cost savings of BFing and some reviews of products I love started/coming soon.

  2. Thanks for the tip on thawing the milk - I also love the Lansinoh bags and would have been devastated had I lost milk in the defrosting process!

    A tip for anyone who cares - you can attach the Lansinoh bags directly to your pump cone with some scotch tape. It's so easy!

  3. I love the Lansinoh bags, too! I actually had more of a problem with the Medela bags leaking.

  4. Thank you for the informative post, i appreciate it.

  5. Thanks for the tip on thawing the milk - I also love the Lansinoh bags and would have been devastated had I lost milk in the defrosting process!

  6. Thank you for the informative post, i appreciate it.

  7. Thank you for the post.
    We are expecting our first born this Jan and I am dedicated to exclusively breastfeed our child. This post will surely help me in choosing the right storage bag for my milk to ensure it's quality.
    Again, thank you

  8. The Gerber bags are actually really good, they don't leak and are easy to write on. I'm not generally a Gerber fan, but I do love these bags, and I have pumped for six babies :)

  9. I had been using Lansinoh bags, but due to expense I switched to the Up & Up Target brand. I feel like they're a bit thicker plastic - have the double zipper seal & a big writing space on the tab (not in contact with milk). Haven't had one break yet!! Disclaimer, tho: I haven't been able to freeze any milk - keeping up with my little oinker means no "stockpile" in my freezer - about 40 oz. On hand in the fridge at all times - so if freezing affects this bag's durability, I cannot comment.

    Good job to all BF'g mamas :)