An insulated cooler bag is an essential part of your breast pumping tool kit. The size and shape are just as important as the quality of the insulation to ensure compatibility with everything else you need as a pumping mom.
We have conducted extensive research to find the best cooler bag shapes to best suit a range of pumping mom lifestyles.
We have four shape categories and have provided the two best breast milk cooler bag options for each. Some excel in the quality of material and insulation, others just look stylish and classy.
Read on to find out more!
Options for Storing Breast Milk
You can safely store breast milk in any number of ways if you can keep it at the right temperature. However, as a pumping mom, the goal is to set up a process that is repeatable and as easy on you as possible.
Wrapping towels around ice packs in a handbag sucks – so that is out! Any of the following are viable alternatives:
- Use a regular cooler – less practical, and ugly, but does the job!
- Buy a breast pump with an included bag and cooler – definitely convenient but limits your pump choices.
- Buy a purpose-built breast milk cooler – these things are built to store milk and will be far more user-friendly.
In our opinion, selecting the best breast pump for you is the priority. If it comes with a cooler bag as part of the inclusions then that is a neat bonus, but not worth compromising the pump itself just to get a bag.
Most purpose-built cooler bags are inexpensive and provide much more space. It is also an easy baby shower gift and if you place it on your registry you are almost guaranteed for someone to grab it for you!
For the purpose of this list, we have excluded all general breast pump bags that also include a cooler. We have already covered these in another post and wanted to keep this article focused on the cooler element only.
So, this leaves smaller cooler bags that often will fit neatly inside your breast pump bag and make the most efficient use of space.
Here are our top recommendations covering four common design styles:
We have also reviewed the following breastmilk cooler bags which were the next best in each category:
Best Breast Milk Cooler Bags
We mentioned earlier that efficient use of space is one of our primary criteria when including a cooler bag in our list. The problem is that what is efficient for one is not efficient for another.
So, we have organized the list into groups based on common shapes and design styles.
This will allow you to see our top recommendation for each of the more common sizes of cooler bags so you can easily find the one that will fit in with your breast pumping setup.
Best Multi-Compartment Breast Milk Coolers
While we did say that we would not include breast pump bags in our list, this first category can be used in this way but is predominantly a cooler bag with some extra space.
We think the design is practical and convenient, and not in the same category as a pump bag because you could only fit a very small pump in there.
A manual pump or a travel pump like the Spectra S9 could fit but that’s about it. This is more of a cooler bag that you could actually use for a day out.
We kick things off with the clever multi-dimensional design of the Momcozy.
You have the additional compartment on top of your cooler space that makes this a reasonable option to use for a day out. You can squeeze anything you would carry in a regular handbag into the extra compartment while still only carrying a moderately sized compact bag.
If you need more space you can remove the divider and create one large compartment. This clever design gives you a lot of flexibility and makes your cooler bag compatible with all kinds of bottle sizes.
The quality of insulation is excellent and the 600D Peva Material can keep your breast milk cold for up to five hours without the use of an ice pack. Double this timeframe with the use of ice and you have a bag that can protect your milk for the long haul.
As mentioned earlier, you could fit a small pump in the extra compartment or just use it as an insulated lunch box. Convenient for the working mom who can leave the pump in the office and just needs a good cooler bag for the trips home.
- Superior insulation
- Removable divider
- Up to six baby bottles
- Plain design
The Meichoon is one of the more stylish offerings available. We instantly fell in love with the grey-colored material with the pink zip tags and handles.
You can configure the strap for use over one shoulder or as a backpack which is handy.
Easily fits in four larger bottles with two ice packs, and you can squeeze in an extra two bottles if you use just one ice pack.
You will have to buy your ice packs separately for the cooler section. It is also important to remember that it is still a fairly small bag relative to a standard backpack. But you can easily store snacks
- Backpack carry option
- Can fit a small breast pump
- Up to six baby bottles
- Cute color choices
- Ice packs are not included
Best Handbag Breast Milk Coolers
In this next category we are looking at a similar base shape but without that additional compartment on top.
This is less of a standalone bag for a day out and more something that will fit easily inside another bag or easily thrown in the car.
The Lekebaby gives you a compact cooler compartment that is doesn’t waste an inch, with an extra storage pocket that can hold a phone or purse but not much more.
You have fewer options with how you carry this design compared to the multi-compartment options covered earlier. You have handles that are fixed in place and a removable shoulder strap.
The handles are quite large compared to the bag itself and they can get in the way a little when compared to the Momcozy where the handle is not anywhere near the accessible area of the cooler.
A big plus is that you get a contoured ice pack included that fits the compartment perfectly and maximizes the space available to you. This is a handy extra and saves you ten bucks in extra purchases.
- Ice pack included
- Efficient use of space
- Large handles
- Limited storage pockets
We have the Teamoy as our next best option with the key difference being that the bag is almost 2″ taller without gaining much in the way of useable space.
If you like the look of the extra arch on the bag design itself then you may opt for this over the Lekebaby. But realistically, a cooler bag this small is likely to spend a lot of time inside a larger bag so the more compact design is preferred.
Aside from the dimensions, there is little else to separate these two coolers. They both include an extra ice pack, hold six bottles, and have a similar handle configuration.
You have a few extra design options to choose from with purple material, or a floral pattern if that is your preference. We have just shown the plain black option above.
- Ice pack included
- Multiple color designs
- Taller design less practical
Best Tall Breast Milk Coolers
In this category, we look at a different shape of cooler that is designed to hold those tall bottles (8+ Oz.).
These suit a different kind of lifestyle as they are harder to pack away inside the bag of a mom who may be hauling a pump to work.
What they can do well is provide a bit more space for milk + other items you want to keep cool. They slip easily over a stroller handle and are great for outdoor trips at the park or beach.
There are three key features of the Jax 2020 that make it stand out over other cooler bags; the stylish look (again!), the broad base measurements (while being tall), and a unique lid feature that maximizes space efficiency.
The Jax is 0.8″ shorter than the Tiblue (our next best tall cooler) but is still taller than the other design styles we have covered.
It has a square and broad base which makes it a bit easier to get a full six bottles in the cooler compartment.
Here is the length x width measurements of each for a quick comparison:
- Jax – 7.2″ x 7.2″
- Tiblue – 7″ x 6.3″
We also just loved the colors. Subtle, classy, and more accommodating for milk stains!
Where the Jax excels with space efficiency is with the addition of an elastic on the lid of the cooler. This is intended to hold up to six breast milk storage bags which really maximizes the useable space inside the cooler.
- Stylish look
- Broader base measurements
- Storage bag elastic
- Versatile storage options
- Not as tall as the Tiblue
- More expensive also
- No ice pack included
The Tiblue is the tallest milk cooler on our list at 9.8″ in height. It is our second pick though due to the narrower base which can lead to some wasted internal space.
It is almost two inches taller than the handbag style options, and also 1.5 inches taller than the multi-compartment Meichooon! So it does partly make up for that lack of girth with the extra height.
Insulation is similar to the Momcozy and can keep your milk bottles cold for up to five hours without an ice pack… and much longer with one.
The tall shape makes it suitable for more adult uses like taking a bottle of wine to a picnic. So even though it is one of the cheaper options on our list you will be able to use it outside of your parenting duties.
The downside of the narrower base is that you can hold fewer bottles at once. The large bottles fit well in terms of height, but you will only get four inside due to the width. Especially if using a separate ice pack.
You may get up to six bottles in if you stick to the smaller sippy cups.
- Suits taller bottles
- Doubles as a wine bottle tote
- Cheap price
- Narrower base
- Holds fewer bottles
Best Square Breast Milk Coolers
Last of all we will cover the smallest of the cooler categories. The designs are basic, features limited, and the functions one-dimensional.
But they are generally cheaper and an easy solution for strips from home to the office, or on shorter days out with the family.
The Luxja stands at just 5″ in height. Just over half of the 9.8″ of the Tiblue. So it will only accommodate smaller breast milk bottles but will fit nicely inside a breast pump or diaper bag.
Given the low height of this cooler, you may have to remove the nipple from the bottle to save space.
But if this is only used to store freshly expressed breast milk that is bound for the refrigerator then this won’t matter. If using it for a family day out you will have to bring the nipple separately – which is just one more thing you could forget.
However, the purchase price is cheap and it is a simple solution for your milk storage. You will have to buy an ice pack in addition to your purchase price so make sure you factor that in.
You also only have a couple of handles to carry it around. No shoulder strap option with this cooler bag. It is essentially designed to fit inside a larger tote bag or backpack.
There are multiple designs to choose from with striped patterns and plain colored options available.
- Cheap and simple option
- Small and compact
- Ice packs are not included
- No shoulder strap
- Limited storage space
The Curmio is a better quality cooler than the Luxja. The insulation is superior, the storage space is larger, and even the handles are nicer.
We have dropped it to our second pick for one reason – the price.
For this category of milk cooler bag, you can’t really extract much more value given the function is almost identical.
You get an extra half-inch in height, some extra cooling time, but the price is much higher. This is still a moderate purchase though and these extras may be worthwhile for you.
- Better insulation
- Larger internal compartment
- Freezer pack not included
- More expensive choice
The function and price range of all of these breast milk cooler bags are very similar. The main differentiator is the shape and how that fits in with everything else you will be doing in your life.
This makes your buying decision quite easy! You can just select from the best breast milk coolers that we have presented within each design.
You can go for a cooler that doubles as a bag so you only need to take one on your day out, like the Momcozy.
You can go for ultra-compact like the Luxja, or tall and skinny like the Jax 2020.
There is a shape and size to suit all uses and lifestyle choices for a pumping mom so you can keep that liquid gold in the best shape for your baby.