One of the Best Frozen Breastmilk Storage Systems
Dec 31, 2007
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Durable freezer-grade plastic, reliable closure system, pre-printed measuring lines
Cons:Disposable system means environmental impact, some small % sprung leaks, losing valuable milk
The Bottom Line: This was a wonderful system for storing frozen breastmilk, albeit with a negative enviromental impact.
Since I work full-time outside of the home and have a 1 hour round-trip commute, I knew I had to build up a large freezer stash to ensure that my daughter would only have breastmilk for the first 12 months of her life. I read a lot of reviews, tried a few different products, and this was one of the best storage systems for freezing breastmilk.
Recommend this product?
Please note that I never directly pumped into these bags, nor did I use them directly in a bottle system. I only used them to freeze breastmilk and any defrosted milk was transferred to a bottle. Thus, I can't speak to those uses.
The Storage Bag's Attributes
While they look like overpriced and oddly shaped sandwich bags (they are narrow and tall, with a wider "pleated" bottom that supposedly enables them to stand up), these storage bags have several great features that make them appropriate for freezing breastmilk:
- Thicker grade plastic. While Ziploc freezer bags feel thick (especially compared to those cheap sandwich bags that just fold over rather than zip shut), these are really thick. The thickness provides some reassurance that your breastmilk will not get freezer burn. They also enable the bags to "stand up" somewhat once filled. Of course, if you filled it with more than 3 oz of fresh breastmilk, they would flop over. I solved that by stacking them in a large tupperware to freeze upright.
- Zip-lock closure. Other breastmilk storage bags are not necessarily closed with zip-lock--though I had assumed they all should. Given the effort to extract breastmilk, I treated every ounce like precious white gold (which is what we called it in our house). I would have been furious if a twist-tie bag suddenly flopped open and spilled.
- Pre-printed "measuring" lines. I found this marginally helpful, since it didn't seem accurate, even when I flared out the bottom of the bag to ensure it was entirely open. Even though the bag has a capacity of 6 oz, I usually only froze 2-4 oz to ensure I never had to waste any defrosted milk (since defrosted milk must be used within a small time window).
I pumped everyday at work with my Ameda Purely Yours into glass collection bottles (since plastic bottles made with bisphenol-A can leach into your breastmilk). Then, when I got home, I would transfer some of the milk into these Gerber Seal N Go bags to freeze. I used a sharpie to mark the date on the outside of the bag.
While there is also space to include the name and time, I never bothered with time since I figured date was sufficient and I never sent frozen bags to daycare so name was not necessary either. For what it's worth, I sent some frozen breastmilk to daycare as a back-up but only sent those in the more durable plastic Medela collection bottles since I was afraid that the Gerber bags might get accidentally punctured by the misc. items in the daycare center's freezer.
Once frozen, I placed the individual 2-4 oz bags into a gallon sized Ziploc bag (which I then marked with the date range) and moved them to my deep freezer. Each night, I also took out the oldest previously frozen milk from the deep freezer and made a bottle for my daughter to take to daycare the next day. She would get 3 bottles of freshly pumped milk and 1 bottle of frozen milk. You should know that fresh breastmilk is best, since some of its special properties are destroyed by freezing, so I tried to build a nice stash of frozen milk to supplement those days when I had low supply, but did not prioritize freezing all the milk I pumped.
It's important to establish a good rotation system because breastmilk loses its special properties after a few months in the freezer. We purchased a stand-alone deep freezer just for my breastmilk because I was determined to nurse for at least 12 months and deep freezers can maintain a colder temperature than refrigerator freezers that get opened more frequently. FYI, I relied heavily on www.kellymom.com (recommended by my lactation consultant) to advise me about how to keep up with breastfeeding while working outside of the home.
Throughout the 9 months or so that I pumped and used about 250 or so of these bags, I had maybe 5 bags leak on me. I learned to defrost the bags in a tupperware in the refrigerator in case they did leak. I also had the Medela Collection bottles (which I will review next), since the environmentalist in me hated using disposable plastic bags.
All in all, despite the disposable nature of the bag and the leaks that sprung in a small percentage of them, I highly recommend these bags for other moms who want to freeze breastmilk.
Read more product reviews on Gerber Seal 'N Go Breast Milk Storage Bags
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