Traveling with a baby can be difficult, but traveling with breastmilk is a whole other story. If you’re breastfeeding and thinking about traveling soon, you’ll want to make sure your cooler works for storing your breast milk in the freezer while on-the-go.
Before we get into the specifics of what makes the best cooler for traveling with frozen breast milk, it’s important to mention a few features that make a cooler for traveling with frozen breast milk stand out.
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Features to look for in a breastmilk cooler bag
Breast milk cooler bags are useful for preserving expressed milk. These bags can be a family ravel life-safer when you don’t have immediate access to a refrigerator. Say you’re a breastfeeding mom who has to make a daily long distance commute to work and back with pumped milk.
In this case, a breast milk cooler bag will be your favorite companion on your commute. But this isn’t the only time you need a breast pump bag, if you’re currently breastfeeding, and you intend to pump on-the-go, then you certainly need one of these items to preserve your fresh or frozen breast milk.
Choosing the ideal breast milk cooler bag for you isn’t as simple as finding the best product out there because you have to take into account your special needs including why you need to get one in the first place.
Do you need it for daycare? Do you need it for work? Are you going on a multi-day work trip? Are you travelling outside your state or flying overseas? Or maybe you want occasional days out with your little one? Your “use intent” is the very first thing to consider when shopping for a breast milk storage bag because this will help in your decision-making process.
For instance, if you’ll be spending several hours without access to a fridge, then you need a cooler bag with high-quality insulation to keep your milk cold for at least 10 hours. On the other hand, if you need a cooler bag to preserve your milk on your commute to work and back, a product that can stay cold for 4 to 6 hours is okay provided you have an office refrigerator.
Here’s a breakdown of the factors to consider and features to look for in a breastmilk cooler bag;
- Consider what you need the bag for.
- Think of the quality of insulation you need
- Think of how much breast milk you’d need to carry; bag size and capacity.
- What carrying style will be most convenient for you
- Do you need additional pockets for extra storage?
Carefully considering the above will ensure you not only get the best cooler bag to store breast milk, but one that meets your every requirement.
Breast milk cooler bag reviews
- Medela Breast Milk Cooler and Transport Set
- Momcozy Insulated Baby Bottle Cooler Bag
- PackIt Freezable Baby Bottle Cooler for Breastmilk and Formula
- Teamoy Breast Pump Bag Tote with Cooler Compartment
- Luxja Breastmilk Cooler Bag with an Ice Pack
- Skip Hop Insulated Breastmilk Cooler And Double Baby Bottle Bag
- Yarwo Breast Pump Bag with Laptop Sleeve
- Luxja Breast Pump Bag with Compartments for Cooler Bag and Laptop
- Sarah Wells Cold Gold Breastmilk Cooler Bag with Ice Pack
- Teamoy Double Layer Breastmilk Bottle Cooler with Freezer Pack
1. Medela Breast Milk Cooler and Transport Set
With the ability to keep milk cold for more than 10 hours, this Medela breast milk cooler bag is excellent for storing and transporting milk, and it comes with 4 5-oz baby bottles and a contoured ice pack which perfectly cradles the bottles.
The baby bottles are also compatible with all Medela pumps which means you can pump, store and feed from the same bag. This is a great option for mothers who pump and travel with their infants. Each bottle is calibrated, so you always know the quantity of milk you have, plus they are dishwater safe for easy cleaning.
- This cooler bag is safe and durable
- Included milk bottles are safe and BPA-free
- Bottles are compatible with most breast pumps
- Ice packs keep breast milk cold and fresh for more than 10 hours
- Bottles may become deformed with prolonged sterilization
- This bag doesn’t fit bottles’ nipple and cap, flat lids are used to seal the bottles
- Cooler bag perfectly fits only Medela breast milk bottles
2. Momcozy Insulated Baby Bottle Cooler Bag
Whether you want a cooler bag that will fit more than just bottles and pumping gear for work, daycare, road trip or camping, you’ve got it here. The Momcozy insulated baby bottle bag is a versatile cooler bag with enough space to contain 4 9-oz bottles, your pumping gear and a change of clothes for your baby.
It’s made of fully insulated waterproof materials to keep your baby food either warm or cold with heat pads or ice packs. For portability, this cooler bag also comes with a detachable buckle for attaching it to a baby stroller and a shoulder strap for easy carriage.
- Enough storage space for up to 6 baby milk bottles and more
- Can be worn as a cross-body bag
- Has a detachable layer to change from 2 compartments to 1
- Extra front and side pockets for convenience
- Thick insulation for extended storage
- Doesn’t come with ice pack
- Available in only one color
3. PackIt Freezable Baby Bottle Cooler for Breastmilk and Formula
PackIt is an inventive breastmilk cooler with a technology that makes the bag itself freezable, so it acts like an ice pack. This bag is not your normal cooler bag, it has a built-in non-toxic freezable gel and needs no separate ice pack to keep breast milk cold.
When placed in the freezer overnight, the entire becomes frozen, and you can safely pack up to four 5-oz baby bottles for work, daycare, or travel. It also comes with an interior freezable divider which can be folded to create more space.
- Made with non-toxic gel and gel liner
- PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalate, and lead-free
- Lining is safe and water-resistant
- It’s collapsible which makes for easy storage
- You always have to freeze it overnight
- May need an ice pack to stay cold longer
- Doesn’t have a shoulder strap or buckle
4. Teamoy Breast Pump Bag Tote with Cooler Compartment
Teamoy breast pump tote bag is a portable cooler bag with an elegant design for both work and travel. This bag is made of water-resistant nylon materials with leak-proof lining, the large interior will comfortably store all the parts of your Spectra pump with at least 3 large baby bottles and a couple of ice packs.
This tote bag has top and bottom compartments with extra pockets for better load organization; 2 sides mesh pockets, 1 front pouch, 1 interior, and 1 back zipper pocket. The bottom compartment can store your milk supply and cold packs while the top compartment will contain your pump and change of clothes and diapers for your baby.
- Excellent for working, shopping, traveling with breastmilk etc.
- Made of water-resistant fabric
- Has a detachable & adjustable shoulder strap.
- Has plenty of room for pumping equipment and supplies
- Doesn’t come with bottles
5. Luxja Breastmilk Cooler Bag with an Ice Pack
This is a beautifully made breast milk cooler bag with a reusable ice pack. Its main compartment is designed to fit six 5-9 oz breastmilk bottles with nipples and caps. A front zipper pocket can contain a bottle set or other small things while a back pouch holds the shoulder strap when not in use. This Luxja breast milk cooler bag is compact and excellent for work, or a day out with your little one. With the detachable shoulder strap, you can wear it like a cross-body bag or carry it like a tote bag with the handle. It has enough space to contain both your milk supply and breast pumps, and the leakproof lining and water-resistant fabric keep the liquid safe and secure.
- Made of safe water-resistant fabric
- Can fit 6 larger bottles
- Comes with a reusable freezer pack
- Has extra pockets
- No adequate insulation
- The lining is not waterproof
6. Skip Hop Insulated Breastmilk Cooler And Double Baby Bottle Bag
This Skip Hop insulated cooler bag is designed to hold 2 large bottles or sippy cups which is just perfect for a day out with your little one. It’s insulated interior and a freezer pack can keep your baby formula cold for up to 4 hours. It can also fit your breast pump parts too.
This bag is made with only safe materials, the lining is wipeable and easy to clean and an interior mesh pocket offer more storage options. With an adjustable strap, you can attach it to anywhere including your baby stroller. It’s a cute cooler bag for day care, work or a day out with your baby.
- Insulated interior with easily wipeable lining
- Adjustable strap for convenient carry
- Has an included ice pack
- BPA and phthalate-free, made with only safe materials
- Can hold only 2 bottles
- An ice pack is a bit too small
7. Yarwo Breast Pump Bag with Laptop Sleeve
The Yarwo breast pump bag is a great choice for working moms, it’s essentially a work bag, travel bag, laptop bag, shopping bag, and weekend tote bag, all in one! It has a roomy main compartment for baby stuff including a small insulated cooler bag, diaper bag, wipes, clothes, and a sleeve for a 15” laptop. A side pocket for your Spectra S1 or favorite pump gear and a back pocket with a magnetic button close can hold a few small things.
It’s an all-in-one bag designed to help a busy mom stay organized, and it’s fashionable and an excellent cooler for traveling with breastmilk.
- Versatile all-in-one baby bag
- Made of heavy-duty nylon fabric for durability
- Elegant and stylishly designed for the fashionable mom
- Easy to carry with a portable top handle
- Somewhat pricey
- No accessories included
8. Luxja Breast Pump Bag with Compartments for Cooler Bag and Laptop
This is another excellent multi-functional breast milk bottle bag with multiply pockets and an included padded laptop pocket for improved organization. It’s great for daycare, work, and travel, and it can be carried like a backpack or a tote bag. The roomy bottom compartment can contain a small milk cooler bag with about 4 5-oz milk bottles and a lunch box while the top compartment can be fully opened and comfortably fit your Spectra pump, laptop, and other accessories. There are also 2 side pockets to hold other small items. My favorite thing about this Luxja breast milk bag is that it can be either carried as a backpack or tote bag, how cool?
- Made of heavy-duty, scratch-resistant nylon for durability
- Can be carried as a backpack or tote for convenience
- It comfortably fits all your essentials, milk, pump, laptop, etc.
- Side pockets can hold keys, water bottles, diapers, etc.
- The bag is not leakproof
- The $40+ price tag is expensive
9. Sarah Wells Cold Gold Breastmilk Cooler Bag with Ice Pack
This Sarah Wells Cold Gold cooler bag is a favorite for many moms. It’s designed to contain up to four 8-ounce breast milk bottles and keep them cold for about 8 hours.
It comes with a reusable ice pack, and it’s compatible with almost all breast pump brands you can think of. Two thermally insulated side pockets can hold your pump gears, bottles, and other accessories.
This cooler bag is an excellent mom companion for a day out with your infant, daycare, outings, or travel. By adding some extra ice packs, you can keep your milk cold for longer than 8 hours or frozen for up to 6 hours. This bag comes in various beautiful prints and colors, so you’ll certainly find one that perfectly suits your taste.
- Stylish and functional cooler bag
- Has an adjustable and detachable handle for convenient carry
- Made of safe materials, PVC-free, BPA-free, phthalates, and lead-free
- Comes in different print designs and colors
- A little expensive
- Included ice pack is not durable
- No extra pockets
10. Teamoy Double Layer Breastmilk Bottle Cooler with Freezer Pack
The Teamoy Double Layer Breastmilk Cooler is an insulated baby bottle cooler with enough room for 6 9-oz breast milk bottles. It’s an excellent carry-on for a day or overnight trip with your baby, the insulated interior and includes reusable ice pack works together to ensure your breast milk stays cold for hours.
Side mesh pockets are great for hiding keys, phones, diapers, and other small items for quick access. And the top compartment is perfect for snacks or lunch. The cooler itself is leak-proof and wipeable, its fabric is durable water-resistant nylon material.
As a handbag or shoulder bag, you can use it for work, daycare, or as a carry-on on a plane.
- Includes reusable ice packs
- Has a smooth wipeable leak-proof lining
- Has an extra pocket for hiding items like keys and phones
- Can hold up to 6 9-oz milk bottles
- Does not include bottles
Buyer Guide & FAQs
Different types of breast milk coolers
Breast milk storage bags come in various designs and capacities, but they all have the same basic function; store fresh breast milk in an insulated environment for hours, so it doesn’t go bad. But there are two distinct types of coolers for breast milk, the cooler bag, and the thermos-style cooler.
Breastmilk Cooler Bags with a contoured ice pack
These are the most common breast milk coolers you’ll find and there are two types, with the major distinguishing factor being the cooling mechanism. The majority of the milk storage bags on the market have a separate cooling system which is usually a contoured ice pack. In this case, the ice has to be frozen solid and placed in the cooler to keep the milk cold.
The other types of milk storage bags have an integrated cooling system. Instead of a separate contoured ice pack, the bag has integrated ice gels which makes the entire bag freeze when placed in a freezer. This type of cooler bag doesn’t require external ice because the bag itself acts like one, like the PackIt Freezable Lunch bag, here.
Thermos Style Cooler
While breast milk cooler bags are the most common milk storage containers, an uncommon type of cooler for fresh milk is the thermos cooler which is essentially an insulated flask that’s designed to store breast milk in an ice bath and keep it cold for up to 20 hours. The Ceres Chill breast milk cooler is an excellent example of a thermos-style cooler.
Key points for consideration before buying?
When it comes to storing breast milk, it is of utmost importance to know what kind of breast milk cooler bag you’re buying because it is for your infant. Here are a few key features to keep in mind while purchasing the best cooler for traveling with breast milk:
This is certainly one of the most important things to consider when selecting a breastmilk cooler bag because the quality of insulation is directly affects how long the bag will keep your breastmilk cold. Some cooler bags have built-in aluminum tin foil lining for improved insulation while others use high-quality fabric or foam insulation. While the former promises better insulation, it’s also important to ensure that the fabric is water-resistant and leak-proof.
Your preferred cooler storage capacity will depend on how much milk you ideally want to transport at different times. There are bags that contain up to 6 5-9 oz milk bottles like this Luxja cooler bag and smaller bags like this Medela breast milk cooler contains 4 5-oz breastmilk bottles with an ice pack to keep your breast milk cold for more than 10 hours. While you may want a compact cooler, ensure the cooler you settle for is portable and at the same time big enough to comfortably contain the amount of milk you want to transport.
From my experience, the best cooler bags are well insulated and come with a durable reusable ice pack that is contoured to perfectly fit the bottle shape. And I suggest you go for one such product. Thankfully, there are several cooler bags with reusable ice packs but unfortunately, not all are sturdily made this is where you have to be careful. I’ve heard of ice packs that leak or burst which is can be messy. Contoured reusable ice in a well-insulated bag will keep your breast milk cold for much longer.
Ease of cleaning
Freezer bags will have to be cleaned at some point, if not often, then occasionally, and this should be easy enough for you. As a breast milk storage bag, there can be spills in the bag which will require thorough cleaning to prevent bad smell and possible contamination. Some milk bottle cooler bags are machine washable while some others have a leak-proof and wipeable lining.
Your ideal breast milk cooler bag should definitely be easy to carry since its main purpose is for transporting breastmilk storage bottles. There are tote-style cooler bags with detachable shoulder straps, so they can also be carried as cross-body bags, these are the best in my opinion. There are also cooler bags with detachable buckles that can attach to your baby stroller. The most important thing is that you find something that works well for you.
Extra storage options
In addition to your milk and pump gear, will you like to store some personal items in your cooler bag? Some products come with extra zippered pockets or side mesh pockets to provide space for phones, key, wallets, diapers, etc.
Stylish and versatile
If you consider yourself a classy and working mom who travels a lot, then you may want a cooler bag that is stylishly designed and can accompany you to your travels. A cooler bag has to be practical, but it also has to fit your personal style. An impressive option for an elegant bag for the mom who is a working professional is the Yarwo breast milk pump bag with a 15” laptop sleeve.
How long can frozen breast milk stay fresh?
Frozen milk can stay fresh for more than 6 months in the freezer. But once the milk has been thawed, it can stay fresh for up to 24 hours after which it should be discarded. CDC recommends that thawed breast milk should never be refrozen, it should be consumed within 24 hours or discarded.
How long do ice packs last?
This will depend on the environment. In an insulated environment, ice packs can stay frozen for up to 24 hours.
How long do breast milk cooler bags keep milk cold?
This will depend on how insulated the cooler bag is. Freshly expressed breast milk can stay fresh in an insulated cooler bag for up to a day. Ice packs in breast cooler bags can stay cold for up to 10 to 12 hours, but it also depends largely on how well insulated the bag is. If it isn’t very insulated, then the ice pack can last for about 3 to 4 hours. On average, ice packs stay cold for up to 8 hours in breast milk cooler bags.
What insulation material is the best for cooler bags?
The best insulated breast pump bags have multilayered insulation which usually includes an outer layer, a middle layer and an inner lining. The middle layer is the most important part because that’s the part that provides the much-needed insulation. And the insulation material can either be water-proof and heat reflective aluminum foil liner, plastic or heavy vinyl.
How can I clean my cooler bag?
With machine washable bags, you simply wash with a washing machine. But a lot of these bags are not machine washable, but they are also pretty easy to wash. To wash, simply soak in warm soapy water and carefully scrub clean, dry in a dryer or steamer sterilizer.
Working and nursing a baby has never been easy, but by storing breast milk in convenient cooler bags mothers have found a way to make it work with minimum stress. Breast milk bags come in different sizes, shapes, designs, and accessories, and you can always find one that perfectly fits your needs.
The Medela cooler bag is an excellent choice for commuting from your job and back. And when traveling with breastmilk through an airport or on a road trip, the Yarwo all-in-one breast pump bag is all you need as a carry-on on your flight.