After a few months into my pumping journey, I wondered if it was possible to pump directly into storage bags. I did some research, and this is what I found.
So, how do you pump directly into storage bags? To pump milk directly into storage bags, you can use breast milk storage bags designed specifically for your pump. Another option is to purchase an adapter to allow the milk storage bags to fit your pump.
Here is a description of the process for pumping directly into storage bags as well as a comparison between the different types of bags that are available.
How to Pump Into Storage Bags
There are three main brands of storage bags which allow you to pump directly into them: Medela Pump and Save bags, Lansinoh bags, and the Kiinde system. Each of these systems typically require an adaptor to attach the pumping flanges to the storage bags.
When you are nearing the end of pumping and the bags start to get full, it is important to carefully remove the flanges to ensure milk is not spilled.
Benefits Of Pumping Directly Into Storage Bags
One benefit to pumping directly into storage bags is that it can save you a lot of time because there are fewer bottles and pump parts to clean.
Another benefit is it also reduces the potential for germs to transfer from pumping bottles into the storage bags and into the milk.
It can also save time because you are not taking an extra step to transfer milk from bottles into storage bags for freezing.
Drawbacks To Pumping Directly Into Storage Bags
One drawback to pumping into storage bags is that the bags are costly. It can be even more costly if you do not pump enough milk to fill the bags each time you are pumping.
For example, if you only pump 2 ounces during one pump session, you may waste a bag because 6 ounces of milk can fit in the bag.
Check with your insurance company to see if they will cover breastmilk storage bags to help reduce the cost.
Bags are unable to be reused, so they are not very environmentally friendly. Additionally, if you pump more than 6 ounces per breast per pump session, you will need to stop mid-pump and switch bags so the bags do not overflow.
Bags are flimsy and do not sit on the counter well, so they must be sealed immediately after pumping to prevent spills.
A tip to prevent spills is once you remove the full bag from the flange, set the full bag into a coffee cup so it has more stability and will not tip.
Comparison of 3 Brands of Breast Milk Storage Bags
|Brand||Average Cost per Bag||Maximum Ounces of Milk per Bag||Use of Adapter When Pumping Directly Into the Bag|
|Lansinoh||$0.12||6 oz||Use with Lansinoh pump, or use Medela adapter|
|Kiinde||$0.33||6 oz or 8 oz||Need adapter that comes with Kiinde starter pack|
|Medela Pump & Save||$0.40||5 oz||Bags come with adapter|
Pumping Directly Into Kiinde Storage Bags
The Kiinde system is the most expensive, but it is also the easiest to use. It is expensive because you first purchase the starter pack, and then you also purchase the bags for pumping.
The Kiinde system comes with adapters for most major manufacturers like Medela, Spectra, Avent, Ameda, and Hygeia. The adapters will connect your pump flanges to the Kiinde bottles and storage bags. The bags then attach to the Kiinde bottles you use to feed your baby.
In order to use this system, you need a starter pack or gift set to get the adapters. The gift set contains all of the adapters to attach to your pump. Because the gift set costs a little money, I searched around for the best price and found it the cheapest here.
With the Kiinde system, milk is pumped directly into the bags, and then the bags attach to the bottles. The nipple screws onto the bottle and your little one will drink directly from the bag you pumped into.
Kiinde bags cost on average $0.33 per bag and hold either 6 ounces or 8 ounces. Even though the bags are more expensive than the Lansinoh bags, I found that the convenience of the bags was a huge benefit and time-saver.
The greatest thing about the Kiinde system is that it is an all-in-one solution. It can save you a lot of time cleaning pump bottles and feeding bottles.
The system is also more stable, and there is less risk of spilling your liquid gold from the Kiinde bags both while you are pumping and when you have finished pumping.
The bags can also be stored in the freezer if you pump more than your little one eats in a day.
Pumping Directly Into Medela Storage Bags
Medela Pump and Save breastmilk storage bags attach directly to Medela flanges. Each box of bags come with adapters to attach the bag to the flange. If you are already using a Medela pump or Medela flanges, this may be a good solution for you.
Medela Pump and Save bags cost on average $0.40 per bag and hold a maximum of 5 ounces of milk per bag.
The cost of these bags can add up quickly. To save money, ensure you pump between 4 and 5 ounces per breast if you would like to attach each flange to a bag.
If you pump less milk in each pump session, for example, a total of 4 ounces between both breasts, you can attach a storage bag to one flange and a bottle to the other flange.
Then, pour the milk from the bottle into the storage bag, filling the bag with the combined milk from both breasts during your pump session.
Pumping Directly Into Lansinoh Storage Bags
The main benefit of the Lansinoh bags is that they are less expensive at $0.12 per bag and they hold a larger volume of milk (6 ounces) than the Medela storage bags.
Lansinoh bags will attach snugly directly onto Lansinoh flanges. If you do not use a Lansinoh pump as your main pump, you can still use the Lansinoh bags.
This is the hack I used to pump directly into Lansinoh bags.
- Purchase a small set of Medela Pump and Save bags to get the adapters that come with the bags.
- Purchase a set of Medela flanges.
- Use a pair of scissors to snip a hole into the Lansinoh bags above the zipper so you have a small hole to hook the adapter onto the bag.
- Twist the adapter onto the Medela flange.
- Use the holes you snipped to hook the Lansinoh bag onto the Medela flange and adapter.
Can You Pump Directly Into Milk Storage Bags With a Spectra Pump?
If you have a Spectra pump, you have a few options:
- Use the Kiinde system with the included adapters.
- Use an adapter to connect Spectra flanges to Lansinoh bags.
- Hack your Spectra pump to use Medela flanges.
One of the pumps I use is a Spectra, and I was very happy when I found this adapter to connect Spectra flanges to Lansinoh bags. It is very secure, and pumping into bags instead of bottles saves me so much cleaning time.
The third option to hack your pump to use Medela flanges with your Spectra pump is a little more complex.
I used this adapter to connect my Medela flanges with my Spectra pump, and it worked very well. Then, you can use either the Medela storage bags or the Medela hack above to use Lansinoh bags with Medela flanges.
Pumping Directly Into Nanobebe Storage Bags
Nanobebe recommends pumping into bottles and then transferring milk from the bottles into the bags. They do not recommend pumping directly into these bags.
You can read more about using the Nanobebe bottles in my article here.
Can you heat thawed breast milk in storage bags?
Yes, it is possible to heat breast milk in storage bags. Thawed milk in a storage bag can be heated in warm water or in a bottle warmer to prepare it for feeding. Be sure to check that the storage bag is BPA free.
How do you heat frozen breast milk in storage bags?
In order to heat frozen breast milk in storage bags, run warm water over the bag. Then, the bag may be heated in warm water or a bottle warmer and fed immediately. Bags may also be thawed in the refrigerator. Once the milk has thawed, it must be used within 24 hours.
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