Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Breastfeeding: Storing Breast Milk

Storing the milk we so arduously pump and fret about is definitely high on any mommy's list when she's considering leaving the baby for work, or even just to go out and run errands. Many friends of mine freeze their breastmilk flat using breast milk storage bags. But for those times you need less than 5-6 oz, or you're just thawing enough to make a little baby food? You need to try this technique.

Though I wish I could take the credit for this entire idea, I cannot. A friend told me that she used regular ice cube trays and popped them into baggies for storage. That way she could pull out however much she needed without a lot of waste- BRILLIANT! 

I guess I perfected her idea.

My friend told me her ice cube trays had about 3/4oz per cube. I'm too much of a type A person to just leave my baby's nutrition at 'roundabouts'. I started to search for an ice cube tray that were as humanly close to 1oz as possible.

I found the Tovolo perfect cube ice cube trays and ordered two sets. They were exactly 1oz per cube. Once they arrived, I knew I would need to start storing milk ASAP to be able to return to work at 6-8 weeks postpartum.

Anyhow, so here's my how-to on storing my milk.

1. Get your trays, preferably clean and sterilized. I put mine in the dishwasher, and I'm confident they  were sufficiently sterilized by the temperature of the water.

2. Take your pumped milk, combine with all milk from that day. Prepare your milk for storage.

3. Grab your ice cube trays, and pour the milk in them. I recommend using a measuring cup with lip for pouring (or even a pitcher), so that nothing spills when you're transferring the milk.

4. Then carry them SLOWLY to the freezer. You can put parchment paper over the top tray if you feel you need to cover it. Don't use wax paper, I've tried it, it didn't work well for me. But, I don't always cover them.

5. The next day, pull your trays out and sit on the counter about 10 minutes to let the silicone trays warm up a little.(No pic of this step! Sorry!)

6. The pop the ice cubes out into gallon sized freezer baggies. Using this method, allows you to store more with less waste and space. Then lay each cube out in the baggie, flat next to each. Stacking them in rows.

7. I date the bag for the week I pumped them. When I had my crazy oversupply, I was storing two bags per week in addition to the milk I would need for the baby. Then, as I needed the milk, I would rotate the bags around the freezer, bringing the bag I needed up to the side.
Storing baggies like this saves a TON of freezer space. And yes- that is baby food.

I will be posting information about Lipase and scalding process, what necessitated it, how to make your own hands-free pumping top and about homemade baby food.  (links will be updated as posts are written)

How do you store YOUR breast milk?


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I figured, this way, I could pull just 1-2 oz if I was short for her daycare bottles or that much when I make her cereal or food!

  2. Great idea...I usually store mine flat and in wipes cases, I am not sure why wipes cases...I think my mind thinks extra freeze protection lol. The ice cube trays are a great idea though.

  3. Wow ... I wish I would have thought of this when I was pumping lol

  4. Wow I wish I would have thought of this when I was pumping. For sure with the next baby

  5. This sounds genius, but I wonder if this is sanitary? I sure am sick of spending so much money on storage bottles.

    1. I sterilized those ice cube trays frequently, and would transfer the cubes the next AM into the bags. I would say it's as sanitary as though freezing with milk storage bags.


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