When Elle was born and took to nursing, I was crazy neurotic about ‘protecting’ my milk supply (pumping extra to make sure I made enough to feed her) and saving my milk to continue feeding her exclusively breast milk when I returned to work. Because of the over pumping, I really became a Holstein. I have tried three brands of storage bags (Medela, Lansinoh, The First Years) and rated them on several categories.
Ease of use
- Medela bags had a paper tab that allowed it to be attached to the pump equipment so I could pump directly into the bag, very easy. (Note: you have to know you are going to freeze that batch to make use of it. Often times I pump into a bottle first because it is much easier and sturdier, then I freeze the portion that we won’t need for Elle’s dinner with daddy.)
- Lansinoh bags are bigger and hold more, which make them easier to use. (I will talk more about that later.) These are also incredibly easy to pour, they have a handy picture on the package I bought.
- The First years, while this bag had a “pour handle” it was stupid and annoying to me.
Durability of bag (perceived and basic use *I didn't throw it out the window or run over them with my car)
- Medela seems thicker and better put together on the edges.
- Lansinoh is thick, but not as thick as Medela
- First years looks cheap like a store brand sandwich bag.
- Lansinoh has two zippers. I love it. Easy to seal. The capcity makes it very very easy to seal without getting milk stick in the zipper tracks.
- Medela has a good seal, but convenience of pumping directly into the bag often messes up the zipper tracks. Also, more than once this bag pops open in the freezer as contents expand (even when I only use it for a few ounces instead of the advertised capacity of 5 ounces)
- The First Years bags again look cheap and unreliable.
- Lansinoh has a taller writing space which works for me. There is no space to write my name, but I am only pumping and storing for me, not at a hospital so I don’t care.
- Medela has a good space, but because I use a sharpie marker it is a bit narrow for me. It has a name line if you are storing milk for multiple mommies.
- The First Years label space is terrible. It is actually ON the milk, not a tab above and it is really hard to write on. I would be afraid of breaking the bag with a pen or contaminating the milk.
Capacity (actual in practice)
- Lansinoh actually holds 6 oz for freezing. That is great.
- The First Years hold 5 or 6 oz in practice.
- Medela says it will hold 5 oz, but if you actually put it in and freeze the bag the zipper pops. This has happened to me several times and I wasted milk. In practice I would say this holds about 2.5 oz in the freezer (I call them snack packs!)
Conclusion:Because I am looking for value, I like the Lansinoh bags. The Medela bags are much more expensive and hold less (I need to buy more). I would use Medela if they were less expensive, but at my BRU they are twice the price of Lansinoh.