Whether you are exclusively pumping or just occasionally, you will want to make sure you have enough breast milk bags on hand to do so. The amount that you need really depends on how often you pump and how much of a stockpile you need. Keep reading to find out the answer to how many breast milk bags do I need.
Pumping moms have a lot to keep track of. One of those things is ensuring you always have a supply of breast milk bags.
The last thing you want to have to happen is to pump your milk only to find out you are out of milk bags.
If you are ending your pregnancy, you may want to stock up on milk bags, and you might be wondering how many breast milk bags you need.
How many breast milk bags do I need?
This is going to depend mainly on your situation. To determine how many breast milk storage bags you will need, consider the following:
- How often are you pumping?
- What is the capacity of your bags?
- What is your freezer storage space?
- How much milk do you want to freeze in each bag?
- How much breast milk do you pump at each session?
On Instagram, I did a survey, and the vast majority of moms said that they used 3-4 milk bags a day and most people stored about 3-4 ounces at a time.
How much milk do you pump a day?
This may vary. You may not know if you are still pregnant or haven’t started pumping yet. But knowing how much you pump a day will help you get a better idea of how many milk bags you need.
What is the capacity of the bags you like?
While the capacity of a bag will vary, most can hold about six ounces of breast milk. However, you may not want to fill your bags to total capacity. This brings me to the next question to consider…
How much milk do you want to freeze in each bag?
Many new parents choose not to fill their bags to capacity, simply because they don’t want to waste milk when they defrost it. If you are giving multiple bottles a day, you can usually freeze larger amounts. However, if you only want to give a bottle now and then, filling a bag with six ounces may result in waste.
You can get a rough estimate of how much your baby will need in a bottle with our breast milk bottle calculator.
How much breast milk do you pump at each session?
For those who pump a lot of milk at one time, you may need more bags and you may fill them up more.
Here are some averages based on different amounts of breast milk pumped each day. I have included an upper and a lower range, just to account for those who may want to freeze less in each bag:
2-6 ounces: 1-2 bags a day
7-12 ounces: 2-3 bags a day
13-20 ounces: 3-4 bags a day
20-25 ounces: 4-5 bags a day
26-35 ounces: 5-6+ bags a day
Where to Buy Breast Milk Storage Bags
There are many trustworthy places to buy breast milk storage bags, including:
- Online retailers, such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart
- Brick and Mortar Stores, including Target, Walmart, Buy Buy Baby, etc.
- Grocery Stores
- Pharmacies/Drug Stores
- Boutique Baby Stores
Where you purchase your bags may depend on what type of bags you prefer. For instance, if you like a specialty brand like Kiinde, your only option may be on the Internet.
Online vendors have the widest selection of breast milk storage bags, with various brands and sizes available. Most will also offer free shipping for larger orders or items that can fit within standard package size limits. Popular online sites include Amazon, Walmart.com, and Target.com.
Drug stores are another source for purchasing quality breast milk storage bags. However, due to space constraints in stores, not all stores may carry the same selection that is available online. Stores like Walgreens and CVS will sell one or two brands of premium storage bags which should be sufficient for most needs.
Supermarkets may also be a good choice because they typically carry several brands.
You may also be able to find free or discounted milk bags for sale in local Facebook groups. However, you should be cautious about this and ensure the bags are not compromised by the person you are getting them from.
How to use Breast Milk Storage Bags
They aren’t hard to use, but as with all breast milk storage, you should be careful when handling breast milk.
- Start by thoroughly washing your hands before handling the breast milk storage bags.
- To avoid contamination, ensure that the breastfeeding pump, spouts, and nipples are sterilized before use.
- If you plan on using a breastmilk storage bag to store expressed milk, be sure that the milk has cooled down or is already cold when filled in the bag. Overheated milk can spoil more quickly than chilled milk.
- Fill the bag with breastmilk according to the desired amount but do not overfill as this may cause leaks or damage to the bag during storage and transport. The recommended filling capacity should be indicated on your chosen storage bags’ product label or packaging.
- Once you have filled the bag with breastmilk, seal it shut firmly, ensuring no air bubbles are left inside, as these can contaminate your expressed milk over time and affect its quality.
- Lastly, label each breastmilk storage bag with date, time, and volume information so that you can keep track of how long you have had each batch stored in your freezer without guessing when it was expressed.
Here is a handy way to transfer breast milk if you are looking for a way to reduce spillage:
Best Breast Milk Bags
There are many milk bags out there, but they aren’t all created equally. In 11 Best Breast Milk Storage Bags – Mom Approved we share the best ones that parents everywhere love!
How Much of a Breast Milk Stash Should I Have?
When building your breast milk stash, there is no one size fits all answer. The amount of breast milk you should have stored depends on how much you pump and plan to use in the future. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that mothers store between two to four ounces daily so that they have enough for a full day’s meal while they are away from their baby.
It is also essential to consider how long you plan on being apart from your baby when deciding how much of a breast milk stash to stockpile. If this amount is longer than 24 hours, you may want to keep closer to the 30-day mark and build up more significant reserves, as well as create smaller bags for each day’s worth of meals or snacks. This will give you peace of mind knowing that if something unexpected happens with your pumping schedule or your supply, you have a backup available.
Finally, it is essential to note that storing too much breastmilk can be wasteful and expensive, so find the balance between stocking up just enough and overdoing it!
Are Breast Milk Storage Bags Necessary?
In short, it is not necessary to use breast milk storage bags. However, they do offer many benefits that make them a great option. Breast milk storage bags are generally more cost-effective than other kinds of bottles and containers used for storing breastmilk and are much easier to transport. They are also durable and reusable for multiple uses, which can help reduce waste and save you money in the long run.
Using breast milk storage bags can also be a real timesaver when expressing and storing your milk efficiently. Since they come pre-sterilized and ready to go, you don’t need to take the time or effort required to wash and sterilize bottles or containers every time you express your milk.
With that said, some moms pump enough for just one or two feeds, so for them, storing them in bottles in the fridge makes more sense!
Overall, using breast milk storage bags can be incredibly convenient to store your expressed breastmilk but depending on your needs; it may not be the best option for everyone.
Breast milk bag alternatives
If you are looking for some disposable breast milk alternatives, you may like some of these reusable breast milk storage options!
Some people also really like to use Mason jars for storing breast milk.
Can you Use Breast Milk Storage Bags More Than Once?
The practice of reusing a disposable breast milk storage bag is not encouraged. They are disposable for a reason, typically sterile products before you open them. While some may be stronger than others, reusing a bag makes it more likely that you will experience leaks or ruined milk.
If you would like to reuse bags, there are reusable storage methods that might be a good option for you. These can be pricier and not as easy to store, but numerous benefits exist.
Hopefully you’ll feel more confident in knowing how many breast milk bags you will need after reading this post. Let us know if you have any questions!
Other Breastfeeding Posts You May Enjoy:
- 30+ Galactagogues for Increasing Milk Supply
- Blue Gatorade for Increasing Milk Supply – Does it Help?
- Body Armor for Milk Supply – Does it Work?
- The Best Foods to Increase Milk Supply
- How Often Should I Sanitize Breast Pump Parts?
Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.