So now that we have your pump working properly and all that liquid gold breast milk flowing ever so gently, it’s time to figure out where to put it! Once again there are a lot of choices when it comes to breast milk storage containers and we’ll attempt to break them all down for you here.
No matter what pump you are using, there are collection containers that attach to the pump. For all the Medela pumps, these are the regular Medela bottle containers. You can actually take a nipple and attach it right to the pump bottle and give it to baby.
If you’re exclusively pumping, this might be something you would do, but chances are that you probably wouldn’t so you need to transfer the milk somewhere else. Medela does sell lids that can go on the collection bottles, and for short storage in the fridge, that works OK, but I personally don’t recommend it for long. The reason is all the fat and cream will harden and attach itself to the bottle and then when you go to transfer to another breast milk storage container, it will be difficult to get that delicious, fatty and nutrient rich portion off the bottle. I don’t know about you, but tossing ANY amount of pumped breast milk is enough to make me cry so I try to avoid this.
When baby is first born and your milk hasn’t come in yet, you might store the colostrum in the smaller tube style breast milk storage containers. Sometimes the hospital will provide you with a few of these but they aren’t a very long term solution. Once your milk comes in, you’ll likely fill this style of container rather quickly. Again, you have the same issue with the bottles also where the fattier breast milk will congeal to the sides and you’ll lose some of that upon transferring to the freezer. Another downside of these style containers is they will fill your freezer space very quickly! No more room for those make ahead meals or slow cooker in a bag ones. Your freezer will be full of breast milk storage containers instead!
My personal favorite way of storing breast milk after pumping is storage bags. They are super easy to label and sort and can also be frozen flat for space saving storage. Just like everything that has to do with breastfeeding and breast pumps, storage bags come in a lot of options. In general, you just need something that has a nice, writable label on it and also has the tear off strip on the top. The tear off strip lets you know your breast milk storage container is brand new, sterilized and ready to use.
I like to pump into the bottles (of course) and then transfer to storage bags right away if possible. As I mentioned, that keeps me from losing any of the fattier milk or nutrients that would get stuck to the bottle once the milk gets chilled. There are a LOT of brands of these storage bags but Lanisoh Breastmilk storage bags are by far my favorite.
I hope that helps you make a decision on what type of breast milk storage containers you would like to use! As always, if you have any questions or want our opinion, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!