Do you need a mini fridge for storing breast milk? The answer is probably, but it is not absolutely necessary. It is, however, a fairly low cost item that can ultimately save you a lot of time, energy, and ounces of breast milk. Remember that breast milk that is freshly pumped can be left out for 4 hours. So, that means if you don’t plan to put that milk in the fridge you should feed it to your baby within 4 hours of pumping it. This may be easy to do during the day, however, at night this may be more of a problem.
As your baby sleeps longer stretches at night, the breastfeeding parent may still be waking up to pump milk in order to keep their supply up. For some moms, this means pumping once at night, and for others, it may mean pumping more than once. You will need to determine how long you can go without pumping in order to keep your supply up. If you notice your supply is dropping then that means you need to pump more frequently. Some women can go only 3 to 4 hours without pumping, and others can go as long as 6 to 7 hours without pumping.
Mini Milk Fridge Options
Having a mini fridge for breast milk storage can make middle of the night pumping sessions much easier. Just pump your milk and put it into the mini fridge which you can plug in next to your bed. Here are some great options when it comes to breast milk storage.
This fridge is a favorite. It has both a cool and heating option. While you will rarely use the heating option, it is nice to have. The colors clearly indicate if the fridge is turned onto warm or cool. It is a great size because it is big enough to hold two to three bottles of pumped milk but also very compact, light and easy to move around with you. It is even small enough to bring to work if needed. It is priced between 30 and 60 dollars depending on if you buy it new or refurbished. It also comes in multiple colors if you are looking for a white mini fridge or even a blue mini fridge.
The Frigidaire mini fridge has a fun retro vibe. It also has a heat and cool option and can store about the same as the the fridge above. The main difference here is that the style is much different as it has more of a retro feeling to it. If this is more your style, then this is the best mini fridge for you.
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When storing your breast milk in the mini fridge you may be curious if you should be using glass or plastic. Both are good options and serve different purposes. Glass breast milk storage is for milk you plan to use in the near future, and a freezer bag is better suited for milk you plan to store.
Best Cooler For Breast Milk
While we are on the topic of breast milk storage, you may also want to think about getting a small cooler for your breast milk so that you can travel with it. Coolers for storing breast milk are not just useful for travel but they can also come in handy if you are pumping at work and have a long commute back to your home and baby. Depending on your car you may even be able to plug in one of the fridges above into your car to keep the breast milk cool.
The Yeti lunch bag can be used as a cooler for breast milk. You should also use cold packs inside the lunch bag, and when doing this, your milk should remain cold for six hours. It is well made, insulated, and sturdy, but this also means it is priced at a premium. It can be around 80 dollars. The good news is once you are done using it for breast milk storage you can continue to use it for lunch. If you are not traveling much, a good mini fridge may be the more practical option.
Howland V, Klaedtke M, Ruhnau J, et al. Impact of Storage Conditions on the Breast Milk Peptidome.Nutrients. 2020;12(9):2733. Published 2020 Sep 8.
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