One of your most important purchases if you are pumping on the go for your baby, other than your breast pump is your breastmilk cooler bag!  Getting the right bag is essential for protecting your liquid gold!

What should you look for in a breast milk cooler bag?  You want a well insulated bag with a good tight zipper that will hold enough breast milk for your baby at daycare of for your day of pumping.  Below are some tried and true cooler bags that we recommend for our nursing mothers.

4 Bottle vs 6 Bottle Breastmilk Cooler

If you work part-time, a 4 bottle bag is sufficient; but for a full 8-10 hours between work and home, you will want a six bottle cooler.  The main reason for this is that you can pump three different times into different bottles so your 98.6 degree milk doesn’t warm up previously chilled breast milk.  You can consolidate your expressed milk later, but you always need to chill breast milk prior to adding to previously pumped and chilled milk to avoid reducing the longevity of the previously expressed breastmilk.

JuJuBe offers several high quality bottle bags that can be used for breast milk storage.  One is the JuJuBe Fuel Cell and the other is JuJuBe Be Cool.  They will both hold ice packs and up to 4 wide mouth bottles in a stacked position.

Pros:  Holds up to 4 wide mouth bottles and 2 ice packs. Stylish bag can be used as a lunch bag for mom or school-age child.

Cons:  Bottles must be in a stacked position, which may not be convenient for every situation.

Ameda offers an excellent breastmilk cooler cooler bag that includes three ice packs.  It can hold up to six standard bottles and three ice packs, but will not fit with bottle caps.  If using wide-mouth bottles, you can only fit 4 instead of six.

Pros:  Holds up to 6 standard bottles and 3 ice packs. 

Cons:  Only holds 4 wide-mouth bottles and is not tall enough to use with bottle caps if you are transporting bottles with nipples to child care.

Breastmilk Bandit has a great insulated breast milk cooler bag that holds up to 6 standard or wide mouth bottles and is tall enough to accommodate bottle caps to transport bottles with nipples to day care. This bag is perfect for use with breast pumps that include wide mouth bottles such as Spectra bottles, Ameda Mya bottles and Motif Luna bottles.

Pros:  Holds up to six 5oz standard or wide mouth bottles and 3 ice packs and is tall enough for caps to transport bottles with nipples to day care.  

Cons:  Because of the 6 bottle capacity, it is slightly larger than most cooler carriers so will most likely not fit inside a standard breast pump tote bag.  One suggestion is to use a carabiner clip so that you can attach it to your bag while you are on the go.

What about ice packs?

Gel Ice Packs vs Blue Ice Packs

There is a big difference with how long breast milk will stay cold in your Breastmilk Cooler Carrier when you choose a soft or gel ice pack vs a hard ice pack also known as blue ice.  The gel packs just do not stay frozen long enough to get you past lunch-time in even the best cooler carrier.  Hard ice packs are the best choice.  Choosing a slim hard ice pack and using at least 2 for 4 bottles and 3 for 6 bottles will allow you to fit the optimal amount of ice packs and bottles into these cooler carriers so that your milk stays cold for 8-10 hours as needed.

What about freezable breast milk cooler bags?  Unfortunately, cooler bags that are freezable also use a soft gel ice pack sewn into the bag which does not keep the breast milk cold long enough for the pumping working mother.

As always, I hope this blog helps you navigate your pumping needs.  Happy transporting!


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