Are you traveling and are looking for the best cooler for breastmilk? Here are some of the tops picks from experienced moms:
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Breastmilk coolers come in really handy when you have breast milk and don’t have access to a fridge. Pumping or expressing breast milk is a time- and energy-intensive job, which makes it really frustrating when your pumped breast milk goes bad before it’s been used because it warmed up too soon. Before choosing a cooler, think about your budget, how much you will be pumping & how long you plan to store the milk in the cooler.
Do You Need A Breastmilk Cooler?
Before you invest in a breast milk cooler, ask yourself if the investment is worth it. The best way to do this is by considering how much breastmilk you will be pumping and storing at one time and if you will have access to a fridge where you will be pumping.
Most people find that investing in a durable cooler bag for work is best because they can store their breasts milk discretely for longer periods of time without worrying if it will go bad.
Another reason for a breastmilk cooler is if you are traveling and will need to be transporting the milk with you. Whether you plan to using it while traveling or to take it back home, a cooler will be essential.
How Long Will Breastmilk Last In A Cooler?
The CDC says that breastmilk in an insulated cooler with ice packs can be stored safely for up to 24 hours. Be sure to keep the bag out of direct sunlight to keep it cool as long as possible.
How To Keep Your Breastmilk Cold At Work Or Traveling
If you are traveling by car you can use a car fridge to ensure it stays safely cool as long as other foods you might be taking with you on your trip.
If you are traveling by plane choose an insulated cooler. If you are able to freeze your breastmilk in breastmilk storage bags then you won’t need to add an ice pack and you will be able to fit more milk in a smaller bag.
For keeping your breastmilk cold at work and do not have access to a fridge then choose an insulated bag or a thermos style cooler depending on how much milk you will need to store.
Different Types Of Breastmilk Coolers
Thermos Style Cooler: Holds breastmilk discretely. It also can be used for other liquids. A great part is it’s all in one with the pump and the storage. The only downside is that you won’t be able to store a whole lot of breastmilk.
Cooler Bag: Can be versatile and affordable depending on the bag that you choose. There are two different types of cooler bags, one you freeze the ice pack and set it in the bag, and the other you freeze the entire cooler. That could simplify things by not needing the added ice pack but could also take up a lot of freezer space.
Things to Consider When Choosing A Breastmilk Cooler
- Size: Consider how much you will need to store when you are transporting your milk. Also, be aware that you might need more space as your baby grows and you will be pumping more milk.
- Style: Do you want a cooler that is more low-key while at work or transporting it? Or would you prefer it to stand out so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle at work or at daycare?
- Type: Would you like a thermos style or insulated with an ice pack? There are also ones where you freeze the entire bag.
- Budget: Investing in a high-quality breast milk cooler is crucial for minimizing your risks of wasting this precious resource and compromising the health and safety of you and your baby.
- Performance: How long do you need it to be stored? Will it just be used to be transported to and from work?
- Easy to clean: Do you want something that can be quickly wiped down or would you rather be able to do a deep cleaning with hot soapy water?
- Versatility: Would you like it to carry other things such as snacks, lunches, or even your breast pump?
- Carrying options: Do you want it as a backpack or a shoulder strap? Would you like it to be able to clip onto another bag or stroller?
- Extras: Would you want something that needs to be charged or can be pre-chilled in the freezer? Would you want it to come with ice packs that fit specific bottles that you will be using?
Such an awesome and unique breastmilk storage container. You can choose to store your breast milk in the inner chamber for up to 12 ounces and just add ice water to the outer chamber to keep it cool for over 20 hours. Or you can store it in the outer chamber for up to 24 ounces and have the ice water in the inner chamber. I love that you can pump directly into the container to keep it simple. You can you most pumps without an adapter like the Medela or use an adapter with others such as the Spectra. One mom said she was able to pump into the container and ice-cold while at Disney the entire day when it reached up to 100 degrees.
Works with most pumps
Keeps cold for 20+ hours
Easy to use for travel
There is a learning curve on how to use it
Not suitable for multiple pumping sessions
This is a top-rated cooler on Amazon. It is great for occasional use. The Medela breast milk cooler is an excellent option if you don’t use this resource on a day-to-day basis but need one for occasional travel. Small, lightweight, and easy to fit into a larger bag, this option takes up little space when not in use. It holds 4 5oz Medela bottles but some have said the Spectra bottles will also fit. The ice pack has a contoured shape to keep the bottles cool. It has a shoulder strap but no hand strap. It can be easily labeled but not a lot of storage space.
Easy to clean
Could blend in with other bags at daycare
The PackIt cooler is a freezable cooler which means you place the entire cooler into your freezer for 12 hours before use. There are no ice packs needed since the walls are insulated with a freezable gel. There is a center wall with the gel as well to keep the bottles cool on all sides. This cooler is able to fit four 5-ounce bottles. There is a compartment in the front for easy labeling.
Easy to clean
No ice packs needed
Fits in most pumping bags
Needs to be in the freezer for 12 hours before use
Outside of the bag can be cold to touch
This is a very durable cooler that holds a ton of breastmilk for travel. It has a shoulder strap as well as a hand strap and works great as a carry-on bag. It is more on the pricey side but moms swear by this cooler for keeping their breastmilk cold for long periods of time.
Higher price point
Zipper can be hard to use
Very stylish cooler bag that will keep your breastmilk cold for up to 8 hours. It comes with an ice pack that makes up a middle wall to keep four 8-ounce bottles evenly cold. It is a simple but durable design that is easy to clean. It has no shoulder strap but it does have a hand strap with a clip that makes it easy to attach to your stroller or to another bag. This cooler has a compartment in the front for ease of labeling.
Holds larger bottles
Comes with an ice pack
Larger in size
Higher price point
This stylish vegan leather tote is great for discretely storing your breastmilk and can be used to store lunch after you are done breastfeeding. One mom said she was able to fit her Medela ice pack, four bottles, her flanges, and her pumping equipment! It is designed to be stored in the CleverMade diaper bag backpack.
Lots of room for storage
No shoulder strap
Doesn’t come with an ice pack
This is a great option if you are needing lots of storage space. It has a great stylish design that is able to fit six larger bottles. I love the clever storage space with the added strap on the inside of the lid to store breastmilk storage bags. The strap also unhooks to loop through the hole at the top of your storage bag to keep them upright and prevent leaks. It comes with a hand strap as well as a shoulder strap with clips so it’s easy to strap on to a stroller or onto another bag.
Large storage capacity
Great for breastmilk storage bags
An ice pack isn’t included
No compartment for a label
This is a wallet-sized cooler with a water-based ice pack lining the sides. You pop the entire cooler into the freezer the night before you need it. It is great for short times of transporting a small amount of milk in storage bags but isn’t great if you would like to store bottles.
No ice packs needed
Requires freezing before use
Pumping or expressing breast milk is a time-intensive job. Choosing the right cooler for you helps ensure that your breastmilk, as well as your hard work, isn’t wasted. There are so many options, but luckily, there are a few best breastmilk coolers for pumping moms that are worth the investment.
Be sure to check out The 5 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags (Comprehensive Guide & Reviews)