Wondering how to use breast milk storage bags?
Then let us walk you through the steps with our guide on how to use breast milk bags.
Pumping breast milk has an advantage, as it allows you to store the milk for later use.
Some baby bottles are suitable for freezing, but they can take up a lot of room in the freezer and can be expensive to buy.
This is where breastmilk storage bags come in.
These bags are small and portable, letting you store breast milk without the need for pricey or cumbersome bottles.
However, these bags can be tricky to use, especially for first-timers.
If you learn how to use a breastmilk storage bag properly, you’ll find that it can save you a lot of time and effort later down the line.
If you have no clue how to use one, you’re in the right place!
We’ll cover the different types of breast milk storage bags in this article, as well as how to use them correctly.
And if you love this guide on how do you use breast milk storage bags, then make sure to check out these guides on best mini fridge for breast milk, best freezer for breast milk, and can you reuse breast milk storage bags.
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The Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags are hygienically pre-sealed with durable material and double-zipper protection to prevent leaking.
You can use these bags to safely store breastmilk in the freezer, fridge, or when traveling.
The storage bags have even been designed to lay flat for space-saving storage. This unique feature also allows quick thawing of frozen milk.
They are also self-standing and come with a large write-on area, so you can document the date and other vital information for safer storage and use.
What Are The Different Breastmilk Storage Bags?
There are two types of breast milk storage bags available on the market today. These are either reusable or disposable.
Disposable Breastmilk Storage Bags
As the name suggests, these bags are single-use only, designed to be used just once.
They don’t need to be cleaned again, as the user can simply place them in the trash after use.
Other than saving time, disposable breastmilk storage bags are BPA-free and are already sterile at the point of purchase.
They’ll normally have graduation lines on them that allow you to measure the milk.
Disposable bags take up less room compared to reusable ones, as they are made from thinner plastic.
This means that you can store more of them away, but they may not be the best choice for the environment.
Reusable Breast Milk Storage Bags
Reusable bags are a good choice for those looking for environmentally friendly options.
These bags are typically made from thicker plastic, which makes them better suited to being reused multiple times.
These are BPA-free and are usually made from food-grade silicone.
You can clean them with the same method used for baby bottles and pumps.
As they are made from thicker plastic, they are stronger than disposable bags and aren’t as likely to leak.
Like disposable bags, reusable ones will also have graduation lines, but they won’t be as visible on the plastic.
How To Use Breastmilk Storage Bags
Some may think that you simply pour the milk into the bag, then freeze it for later, but there are more steps involved.
It’s important to do this process properly.
You’ll need to know how to safely freeze and thaw the breast milk, so it doesn’t get contaminated later.
Step 1: Fill The Bag
There are two ways to fill the storage bags which will depend on your pump and the type of bag you choose.
Some will let you pump the milk straight into the storage bag.
Others will need you to pump into a bottle, then pour from the bottle into the bag.
Pumping straight into bags saves time as it removes an extra step of switching between containers.
However, as you’re pumping the milk straight into the bag, it won’t be easy to adjust how much milk you store away.
Pumping the milk into a bottle, then transferring it into a storage bag may seem time-consuming, but it lets you decide how much milk you fill the bags with.
You’re less likely to waste any milk, and you’ll know exactly how much milk was stored away for later.
Step 2: Storing The Breast Milk
Once you’ve filled the bag, you need to keep it somewhere safe and cool until needed.
First, make sure that you’ve filled the bag up to your chosen graduated line.
Ensure that the bottom of the bag is flat, as this can affect your measurements.
Next, expel all the air out from the bag, carefully to avoid any spills.
This will prevent air bubbles within the milk and save space within the freezer.
Seal the bag tightly to avoid leaks later, then write the date and amount of milk in ounces on the bag.
This will let you know whether the breast milk is fresh or not later on. Place the bag flat down in the freezer.
After all the bags are frozen, you can decide to keep them laid flat or kept standing in a container.
Step 3: Thawing The Milk
When you next want to feed your baby, you’ll need to thaw the milk safely.
It’s best to use older breast milk before using fresher breast milk. You can check the date written on the bag to ensure it’s safe.
Next, place the bag in the refrigerator and leave it to thaw.
If you need the milk quickly, place the bag in a bowl filled with warm water or under warm running water.
Never thaw frozen breast milk at room temperature, as the milk may attract harmful bacteria.
After the milk has thawed, pour it into your baby’s bottle, then heat it to the perfect temperature by using a bottle warmer.
Now you can feed your little one! Here are a few things to know before you begin thawing breast milk.
- Frozen milk can be used within 6 months, but it’s better to use it within 4. Always write the date on the bag with a permanent marker before freezing, as this will avoid you using out-of-date milk.
- If you’ve thawed breastmilk in the refrigerator, you should use it within 24 hours. This time doesn’t refer to when you first take the milk out of the freezer, but to the point when the milk isn’t frozen anymore.
- Never put defrosted milk back in the freezer. Defrosting makes the milk susceptible to bacterial growth which can multiply when refrozen.
Step 4: Disposing the Bag
If you’re using a disposable breastmilk storage bag, you can throw it away in the trash after use.
These are made for single use only, so they aren’t safe to use again.
If your bags are reusable, you can clean them in the same way you would with bottles and pumps.
Final Thoughts on How to Use Breast Milk Bags
There you have it! You now know how to use breastmilk storage bags properly.
It’s always better to store breastmilk in the proper bags, as these will always be fully sterilized and BPA-free.
You can’t guarantee this fact when using other bags, like sandwich bags, for the same process.
Just remember to only use in-date breast milk, and never place defrosted milk back in the freezer, as this can make the milk dangerous for your baby.