Hi, moms!  If you're like me and interested in breastfeeding, you know breast milk has been called "Liquid Gold" for good reason. I've read countless books and forums online to learn more about breastfeeding and discovered how important it is to have a "freezer stash" (supply of frozen breast milk) on hand. The next thought I had was, "Well…how do I store it?"  There are multiple methods and I'll go over each of them in detail.

1. Bags

There are so many brands available, it's enough to overwhelm a new mom. Lansinoh and Honeysuckle are popular brands—there are so many more, but these are the two brand names I see the most and that came the most recommended by the moms I surveyed.

Pros

  • Each bag stores 6 ounces at a time.
  • These bags can be stored flat and stacked when completely frozen.

Cons

  • Leaking is a common problem and the culprit appears to be the seams of the bags.  If the bags explode during the freezing process, you've lost a lot of milk.  To minimize loss during thawing, you can place the bags in a container to catch any milk that might seep out of the seams.
  • Not all babies can eat 6 ounces of breast milk at a time. Therefore, it's up to you to remember to label and store the leftovers safely for the next feeding. I don't know about you, but I'm not very good at remembering a lot of steps when I'm sleep deprived.
  • They are not reusable.
  • They’re expensive even when buying in bulk because you have to keep buying more.
  • With the exception of Honeysuckle’s Oxo-biodegradable bags, breast milk bags are not environmentally friendly.

The Lansinoh link posted above sells them in packs of 100 which comes out to be $0.17 per bag. For the same pack of 100 bags, the Honeysuckle and Oxo-biodegradable options are more expensive on Amazon.

Assuming you pump 12 ounces in a 24-hour period (every mom will produce varying amounts of breast milk), you'll be going through two bags and $0.34 a day.  In a little under two months, you'll have to buy another pack of 100 bags. Most moms I've talked to want to either breast feed for 12 months or give their child pumped breast milk for 12 months. That means you'll be buying these bags at least six times a year, costing you over $100.

2. Ice cube trays

Pros 

  • Cheap: most freezers either come with one or two trays.  Even if your freezer doesn't have a tray, they don't cost very much to buy.
  • Reusable: you can freeze just about anything in these trays as long as you wash them properly in between each use. Water, coffee, juice, homemade baby food…you get the idea.
  • One or two trays don't take up a lot of space.

Cons 

  • No lids: if you're clumsy like me, you might accidentally tip the tray when getting it to the freezer or when you're trying to set the tray down in the freezer. Either way, I don't want to be literally crying over spilled milk.
  • Not all freezers can accommodate ice cube trays. For example, my old freezer was a no-frills, old-school model. Our new one has a built-in ice cube maker and dispenser, so getting an ice cube tray to fit takes up a lot of room in a smaller freezer.
  • If you produce a lot of milk, you're going to need a lot of trays, which means you're going to need a lot of dedicated and flat space in your freezer.

3. The better options

So what are your other options? Here are two that I like. Something to keep in mind is that you'll have to dedicate a way to store the final frozen product. You can use either freezer bags or freezer-safe storage containers.

Milk Line

One product that caught my eye is Milk Line. Apart from the cute name, it addresses all the issues I have with storage bags an ice cube trays—it's reusable, it's compact, and there's a lid! And priced at $21.95, it won't break your bank! Some of the reviews I read state that there are two trays per order—even better!

What sets this particular product apart from the rest is its design. Breast milk is frozen into 1-ounce sticks—genius! The slim sticks fit into basically any bottle, and it's already pre-measured in 1-ounce increments so you can thaw as much (or as little) as you need.

Qubie

A product I really like a lot is Qubie. Like Milk Line, these are reusable and come with a lid.  What makes this different is the fill-up-to-here line. It takes the guessing out of how much to pour. Like the name suggests, the tray freezes things into easy-to-remove cubes. The price is also really affordable at $19.99 per tray.

I love how the lid is designed.  The dividers that separate each 1-ounce cube from another are built directly into the lid. The lid also fits snugly on top of each tray. The tray is very flexible, and the material used to make the lids is rather slick so all it takes to pop out the cubes is a quick twist of the hands.

This product can be used to freeze pretty much anything—from breast milk to homemade baby food to marinara sauce—in easy-to-measure 1-ounce cubes. That's what sets this product above Milk Line for me. I ended up buying four of them—I couldn't resist getting at least one in every color!

My $80 investment in these trays will not only serve me well when I'm freezing breast milk, but I can freeze just about anything (like my impending foray into the crazy world of “Feeding A Toddler”) whenever I feel like it.  The best part of getting these versus the bags? I don't have to worry about bursting seams, wasting milk, spending money repeatedly on a product I can't reuse or repurpose, and I can feel better knowing that I'm doing my small part in trying to be kinder to the Earth. Happy pumping, mamas!

 

This is a guest post by Bonnie from Los Angeles, CA.