It can be nerve-wracking to think about pouring breast milk from a bag into a bottle, especially if you have spilled milk in the past. You worked so hard to pump and save that breast milk. You never want to lose any of that liquid gold!
I tried a few methods and here are my favorite tips for transferring breast milk from a milk storage bag into the feeding bottle. When I used this method, I did not spill any drops of breast milk!
So, how do you pour breast milk from a bag into a bottle?
- Thaw milk in the refrigerator.
- Stabilize the bottle.
- Use a funnel on the bottle.
- Unzip the milk storage bag
- Hold the milk storage bag with two hands
- Carefully pour milk from the bag into the bottle
- Or, you can pump into bags and feed directly from the bags.
There are a few different things that you should watch out for when you are transferring breast milk from a storage bag into a bottle. All of the best tips are shared below.
Method #1 – Transfer Milk With A Funnel
This method involves using a funnel to help make sure that milk does not spill when transferring it. The most important thing is to go slowly and pay attention to what you are doing. Spills happen when you are moving too quickly or not concentrating on carefully pouring milk.
Read on for the steps for the funnel method.
1. Thaw Milk In The Refrigerator
If you are starting out with frozen milk, the first step is to thaw it in the refrigerator. The milk does not need to be fully thawed. It is ok if it is the consistency of a “slushy”. If there are some ice crystals left in the bag, it may make it easier to pour.
If your milk is fresh, do not worry! By following this method, you will make sure that when you pour it, you will not spill it.
2. Stabilize The Bottle
The second step is to make sure that you stabilize the bottle before you pour milk into it. Your bottle may be stable while it is sitting on your countertop. If it is not, you can put the bottle into a larger glass or ceramic container, which will stabilize it.
I liked to put my bottle into a large coffee mug. This way I knew that it would not be accidentally knocked over on the countertop.
Set the bottle into the middle of a large empty mug. This way, if the bottle tips while you are pouring milk, it will not fall over. The sides of the mug will prevent the bottle from falling.
3. Use A Funnel On The Bottle
The third step is to put a funnel on top of the bottle. If you have a Medela breast shield, it makes a perfect funnel.
If you do not have a Medela breast shield, a clean kitchen funnel will work. You will want to make sure that the funnel is food-grade, and that the funnel does not contain any Bisophenol A, also known as BPA.
I found a funnel that works great, and it is BPA free. This is because the funnel was designed to put homemade baby food in pouches. As a bonus, this funnel is very inexpensive. Check out the funnel here (link to Amazon).
It is important to use a BPA-free funnel because milk storage bags and bottles that were manufactured in recent years are all BPA-free. In 2012 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) banned baby bottles with BPA.
4. Unzip The Milk Storage Bag
Before you unzip the milk storage bag, you may want to mix up the milk in the bag by squeezing the bag. This will help to make sure you get all the fat off the sides of the milk storage bag.
The next step is to carefully unzip the milk storage bag.
5. Hold The Milk Storage Bag With Two Hands
Once the milk storage bag is open, hold it with two hands. I found that it was easiest to use one hand to hold the top of the bag open. I used my other hand to hold onto the bottom part of the milk storage bag.
6. Carefully Pour Milk From The Bag Into the Bottle
Next, you are ready to pour the milk into the bottle. Be careful while you are pouring and take your time. Make sure that you aim the milk into the funnel to avoid any spills.
Congratulations! You have successfully pour milk from a milk storage bag into your baby’s bottle for feeding!
Method #2 – Pump Into Milk Storage Bags & Feed From The Bags
This is by far my favorite way to store and feed breast milk. You will love it too!
Here are the steps for pumping and feeding directly from storage bags:
- First, use an adapter to connect the milk storage bag straight to the pump.
- Then, after your pump session is over, use the secure cap to twist and seal shut the bag of breast milk.
- Next, label the breast milk storage bag with the date of your pumping session.
- Store the bag in your freezer. It is easiest if you organize the bags by week or month. This way, you can use the oldest bags of frozen milk first.
- When you need the milk to feed your little one, defrost the milk in your refrigerator.
- If you are running short on time, you can thaw the milk in the bottle warmer. The bottle warmer from this system also works to thaw milk when it is frozen.
- Twist off the cap from the milk storage bag, and twist on the bottle base and nipple
- Now, the bottle is ready to feed your little one!
There are so many benefits to using this system. Here are a few of my favorites.
Benefit #1: Low Risk Of Contamination
There are so many benefits to using this method. My favorite benefit is that there is a low risk of contamination of germs when transferring milk.
Think about all the times you are handling milk between bottles for pumping, into bags for freezing, and then back to bottles for feeding. By pumping and feeding straight from the bag, all those milk transfers are eliminated.
Benefit #2: Eliminate Accidental Spills
Eliminating milk transfers also almost completely eliminates the problem of accidentally spilling milk. Be sure that you are careful with your pump parts while pumping.
By using bags for pumping and feeding, you will not need to worry about spilling milk when transferring it between milk storage bags and bottles.
Benefit #3: Save Milk During Transfers
Another benefit is that you lose less milk during those milk transfers. Every time that you pour milk from a bottle, then into a bag, and back into a bottle, there is a risk of losing some breast milk. Those drops that are left in the bag or bottle add up over time!
Benefit #4: Save Time From Cleaning Extra Bottle Parts
Another benefit is that this system saves me so much time. I have fewer bottle parts that need cleaning. I only need to wash the nipples, and the bottle base can be easily thrown in the dishwasher.
Pumping is hard enough work. I thought that this system was genius and it helped to save me loads of time.
If you are interested in using this same system, check it out here (link to Amazon). I found that they usually have the best price.
Re-using Milk Storage Bags
Now that you’ve poured your milk out of the storage bag, you may be wondering if it is possible to re-use the breast milk storage bag. The milk storage bags are not designed to be re-used.
After the milk storage bag has been used, it is no longer sterile on the inside. Trying to clean the bag and re-use it will potentially contaminate the bag with germs and bacteria.
Always use a brand new bag when storing milk. It is not worth your little one getting sick!
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