Can you use ziploc bags for breast milk?

Can You Use Ziploc Bags for Breast Milk? (Fridge Storage or Freezing)

Pumping breastmilk requires a lot of supplies. It’s not uncommon for moms to realize at the last minute that they’ve run out of a needed supply. If you’re storing breastmilk in the fridge or freezer, you might wonder if you can use Ziploc bags for breastmilk storage.

You can use Ziploc bags because they can be cleaned and safely placed in the fridge or freezer. However, Ziploc bags aren’t designed for liquids, so it’s important to place the bag in a cup or other container before storing it to avoid leaks.

Keep reading to find out the best way to store breastmilk and how you can use Ziploc bags to store milk safely when necessary.

What happens if you run out of breast milk storage bags?

So you’ve just pumped breastmilk for your baby, and suddenly you realize you’re out of breastmilk storage bags. These bags are perfect for storing breastmilk because they’re sterile, they have measurements on the bag, and with some brands, you can even attach them to the pump so you don’t have to transfer your breastmilk.

But what do you do if you’ve run out and can’t stock up? First, don’t panic. There are other ways to store breastmilk if you’re in a pinch. Although it may not be ideal, it is safe to use Ziploc bags for breastmilk storage in the fridge or freezer. However, there are some guidelines you’ll want to follow to keep your breastmilk safe for baby to drink. 

Is it okay to use Ziploc bags to store breast milk?

If you’re looking for a way to store breastmilk without designated breastmilk storage bags, Ziploc bags can be a great alternative. They’re something you likely always have around the house, so if you run out of breast milk bags and don’t have time to buy more, it’s easy to grab a Ziploc bag from your cabinet. Many parents are concerned about the materials in the products they use, and rightfully so. With Ziploc bags, as long as you clean them and use them properly, they’re safe for storing breastmilk.

The biggest problem with using Ziploc bags for breastmilk is they aren’t designed for liquids, which means they don’t seal very well. The best way to combat this is to place the breastmilk inside a bag and then place the bag in a cup or another container to avoid leaks.

So let’s look at what Ziploc bags are made of and what makes them safe for breastmilk storage.

What kind of material are Ziploc bags made of?

According to Ziploc’s website, their bags are made from polypropylene, a synthetic resin used in many plastic products. Manufacturers have also used polypropylene in medical masks, and a study by the National Library of Medicine examined its toxicity. Even with high levels of exposure, the study didn’t find any adverse effects from the plastic material.

Are all Ziploc bags BPA-free?

Even though BPA is frequently used in plastic products, Ziploc brand bags and containers are BPA-free. The presence of BPA in products has become a concern, especially in recent years, leading to studies on the effects of BPA in areas such as reproductive health. Ziploc bags are also dioxin free, which has become another health concern regarding plastic materials

Are Ziploc bags sterile?

When you purchase Ziploc bags, they are likely clean but not sterile. For a product to be considered sterile, it must be manufactured in an environment that prevents or eliminates any possible contamination. So even though the bags are likely free from any dirt or other visible contaminants, they’re not necessarily manufactured in a sterile environment. 

Can you sterilize Ziploc bags?

Ziploc bags are heat resistant and meet the FDA requirements for microwave usage. The question is, is it necessary to sterilize Ziploc bags? According to the CDC, it’s recommended to sterilize infant feeding items, especially if the baby is under two months or premature. But the CDC also stated that it might not be necessary for older and healthy babies. 

Unless your baby is under two months or has another health concern, washing the Ziploc bags with soap and water will suffice.

What happens if you run out of breast milk storage bags?

Things can slip through the cracks when you have a baby at home. You may have been up all night with the baby, and in your sleep-deprived state, you didn’t realize you were out of breastmilk storage bags. If you don’t have time to get any before you pump, you may look for an alternative around your house. Ziploc bags are a safe option, but there are other ways to store your breastmilk safely.

How to freeze or store breast milk without bags

When you need to find a way to store breast milk with the materials you have on hand, choosing something safe for your baby is essential. Thankfully, several products you might have around your house allow for safe storage when you run out of bags.

No matter what container you put the breastmilk in, remember breastmilk can be stored:

  • At room temperature for up to 4 hours
  • In the fridge for up to 3 days
  • In the freezer for up to 6 months

When you need to store your breastmilk without storage bags, your options include:

  • Glass container
  • Tupperware
  • Baby bottles

Glass container

A glass container can be an effective alternative to storage bags since glass is considered food-safe and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals like some other containers. Whether you have a glass food storage container or a glass mason jar, use what you have on hand to store your breastmilk safely. Products like mason jars can be placed in the freezer, but make sure you take any necessary safety precautions and don’t fill the container to the brim. 

Tupperware

Tupperware is another safe option for storage if you don’t have any storage bags left. It is important to check the materials, but like their storage bags, Ziplock brand containers are BPA-free. If the containers you have are Tupperware brand, their containers have been BPA-free since 2010.

Baby Bottles

Since you’re pumping breastmilk for your baby, there’s a pretty good chance you have at least a few baby bottles. If you have nowhere else to store your milk, you can store them directly in the bottles. Most brands can be frozen, though you’ll want to check the specific manufacturer’s website before placing any product in the freezer.

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