Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have expressed breast milk and you don’t have anything to store it in? Have you considered putting your breast milk in ziploc bag? Today we are going to question if it’s okay to store breast milk in ziploc bags and if there are ways to make emergency milk storage safer, and what are some other options for when you have run out of breast milk storage bags.
Can You Store Breast Milk in Ziploc Bags?
Yes, you can store breast milk in zip lock bags as long as they are clean and food safe. In fact, food safe Ziploc bags are a great way to store expressed breast milk if you have run out of breast milk storage bags.
It’s important to know that ziploc bags aren’t intended for storing liquids, so they aren’t an ideal way to store breast milk, but if you have run out of other storage options they will be fine in a pinch.
However, there are a few guidelines that you need to follow to ensure healthy and proper storage:
- You should store your breast milk in bags that are BPA-free. Make sure the bags aren’t just household plastic bags or disposable bottle liners.
Alternatively, you can use storage bags that are specifically designed for milk collection and storage.
- Make sure that the bags are sturdy and free of holes. You should also store them in a place where they won’t get punctured or damaged.
- Keep the Ziploc bags held upright in cups to better protect your bagged breast milk. You can also put the bags in a cup, Tupperware container or some other metal container to minimize the risk of tearing on the shelves of your fridge or freezer.
- Be sure to wash your hands before pumping or handling breast milk that you’ll store.
- The Ziploc storage bags should be squeaky clean and thoroughly dry. There’s no need for sterilization, simply wash them in hot soapy water or the dishwasher.
- Don’t use Ziploc bags that have previously been used for meat or other uncooked foods.
Can I Freeze Breast Milk In A Ziploc bag?
Yes, absolutely. If you have run out of dedicated breast milk storage containers, you can freeze your breast milk in a ziploc bag. To freeze expressed breast milk in a Ziploc plastic bag, place the bag into a cup or other container before filling with your milk. Make sure that there is no air left in the bag before sealing, but leave a little space for the milk to expand. Remember to write the date that you expressed the milk on the outside. Defrost in your fridge or in a cool water bath–do not defrost on your countertop. Remember that once frozen, breast milk will only keep for up to twelve months.
How Long Can You Store Breast Milk in Ziploc Bags?
The answer to this depends on the conditions of the place where you’ll be storing the breast milk in Ziploc bags. Here’s a simple breakdown:
- If the Ziploc bags are kept at room temperature between 60°F (16°C and 85°F (29°C), the stored freshly expressed milk can for 3 to 4 hours.
Given that the milk was collected under clean conditions, such as thoroughly washed hands, properly cleaned pump parts, and clean Ziploc bags, you can keep it at room temperature to use within a maximum of 6 to 8 hours.
- If the Ziploc bags are kept in an insulated cooler (such a cooler with an ice pack) at around 59°F (15°C), the milk can be stored for up to 24 hours
- If the Ziploc bags are stored fresh in the refrigerator at a temperature of 39°F (4°C), the breast milk will be good for up to 72 hours. If the milk was collected under clean conditions, it may be able to push it for 5 to 8 days.
- If the Ziploc bags are kept in a refrigerator freezer at 0°F (-18°C), the breast milk can last for up to 6 months.
How Many Breast Milk Storage Bags Do I Need?
The amount of storage bags that you will need will depend on if you are using reusable or disposable bags, how you are planning to use them, how often you pump, and your milk supply. A baby under 6 months will drink around 25oz of milk per day. If you are exclusively pumping you would need up to 8-10 bags per day. Luckily, many disposable breast milk storage bags are sold in packs of 100.
Can You Store Breast Milk In Freezer Bags?
We don’t recommend using a standard freezer bag to store breast milk. Freezer bags are not designed to hold liquids and may rupture or split in your freezer, causing a huge mess and ruining your milk.
Can You Store Breastmilk In Sandwich Bags?
We don’t recommend using sandwich bags or Ziploc bags as a first option for storing breast milk. The bags are not intended for storing liquids
What To Use When You’ve Run Out Of Storage For Breast Milk
If you have expressed milk but ran out of storage bags, there are still some great options for how to store your breast milk. Here are some ways to store breast milk in things you probably already have in your house.
Your pumping bottles
Many breast pumps come with 2 or more bottles which you can use to directly express into. These are the perfect way to store your milk if you have run out of bags. Of course, you will need to find a way to store your milk before the end of the day!
Leftover Glass Jars and Mason Jars
Glass jars are an excellent way to store pumped breast milk. Make sure your jar is clean and sterile by washing it thoroughly with soap and hot water. Place your empty jar and lid in a saucepan and cover with tap water. Bring it to the boil and allow it to boil for 5 minutes before removing the jar very carefully because it will be extremely hot. Allow the jar to cool on a clean surface before using it to store breast milk. You can freeze breast milk in a glass jar, just make sure to leave an inch of headroom as the milk will expand as it freezes.
Tupperware or Food Storage Containers
Clean Tupperware is a great way to store milk if you have run out of breast milk storage bags. Just make sure it’s very clean and leave space for the milk to expand in the freezer.
Ice Cube Trays
Ice cube trays are perfect for storing milk. You can freeze a tray of breast milk icecubes, and then transfer the frozen milk to a freezer bag or other food safe storage container.
Your best option for storing breast milk is dedicated breast milk storage bags like these. However, sometimes things happen and we run out of other options. Ziploc bags shouldn’t be your first choice for storing breast milk, but if you have no other option, it is better to store the milk in a clean, BPA free ziploc bag than to waste it.
Always keep your child’s health and safety in mind when storing your breast milk in any vessel.
So can you store breast milk in Ziploc bags? Yes, you can. BUT you must make sure the bags are very clean, BPA free and damage-free. Store the milk filled ziplock bags in another container (such as a cup or a tupperware) to stop them from leaking into your fridge or freezer.