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Your baby may love a tall bottle or warm milk — but what do you do with those bottles of liquid gold when you’re at work or on the go?
Breast milk and formula shouldn’t be left at room temperature for very long, which can present a problem if you aren’t near a fridge.
Whether you’re planning a longer trip or just want to pack some backup supplies for a day out with your little one, you may be worried how you’re going to keep their breast milk or formula cold. This is where a bottle cooler comes in handy!
A good baby bottle cooler can keep your baby’s food cold for hours, offering you the opportunity to travel and still keep your baby fed. They’re an easy way to transport milk on trips, store breast milk in your office after pumping, or bring along in your stroller on walks.
Keep your (milk) cool
No matter what bottle cooler you end up choosing, you’ll want to be safe about how you treat the formula or breast milk inside.
Also, never use a microwave to heat up formula or breast milk, as it can reduce the nutritional content and heat the milk unevenly.
With so many options, you’ll want to carefully consider what cooler makes the most sense for you. This means thinking about:
- Bag size. If you need your cooler bag to fit into a specific space for travel or storage, you’ll want to take this into consideration. You’ll also want a bottle cooler that is big enough to transport the amount of milk you plan to carry. Will you be going on lots of long trips or do you just need to transport a few bottles to daycare?
- Coldness. You’ll want a bottle cooler that is well insulated and will stay cold for long periods of time. You’ll also want to check whether it comes with a specially fitted ice pack or how it stays cold.
- Cleaning. Spilled milk can happen, especially when bottles are bouncing around during transit. How easy is the bottle cooler to keep clean?
- Carrying options. Since one of the major purposes for using a bottle cooler is transporting bottles, you’ll want a bag that’s easy for you to carry. Does the bag have a handle, shoulder strap, both? Can it fit on a stroller?
- Extra storage. While not the most essential feature, it might be helpful if the bottle cooler includes some extra storage space for your keys, wallet, or other personal items. The fewer bags and individual items you have to carry, the easier it will be to keep track of everything.
- Style. Not a necessity, but for some people this can be what sets one bag above another.
In addition to picking coolers that were in line with the above criteria, we considered recommendations from mom friends and reviews — both positive and negative.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $20–$30
- $$$ = over $30
Best standard milk cooler bag
Affordable, small, and adored by many parents, this cooler can be transported on its own or it can fit well inside various Medela pump bags along with your pump.
It’s designed for four 5-ounce bottles (which are included), so if you’re headed out for a while or have a baby who loves their milk, this may not hold as much as you’d like. But for an everyday cooler, it’s a solid option.
Best multipurpose bottle cooler bag
A bag that can accommodate the needs of your growing child, this multipurpose cooler bag is a huge hit with parents. In addition to cooling bottles, it includes two separate compartments that can be combined to form one giant compartment if you need to carry larger bottles.
It also has a detachable buckle and shoulder strap to allow you to carry it two different ways. Plus, when your kiddo outgrows bottles, it can be used to transport wine — for yourself of course!
Best bottle cooler for multi-bottle storage
If you’re headed on a longer trip, why stop at four bottles when you can pack six? This bag offers a removable shoulder strap as well as a handle, has two different openings to access the bottles, and a front pocket for extra storage.
Reasons why this bag might not be the perfect one? There’s not a lot of room in the pockets and some parents complain that the bottom isn’t very sturdy.
Best-looking bottle cooler bag
Available in a range of colors and two sizes, the solid coloring of this bag makes it a fit for any style. This bag can store up to six bottles (depending on the bottle size and bag size) as well as a breast pump. It can also keep milk cold for up to 15 hours, which is ideal if you’re planning a long trip.
Worth noting: There have been a few parents who found that the zipper snagged easily, and a few folks say it’s a little bulkier than some other cooling options since it pulls double duty as a pump bag.
Best bottle cooler bag for strollers
This stylish insulated bag from Kidthingz can clip onto a stroller for hands-free carrying. It’s lightweight and has a two-sided zipper for easy access. It only fits two bottles and an ice pack, but makes a great addition to your stroller for longer walks or trips to the park.
Worth noting: There have been a few complaints about the zipper catching in the insulation and the fact that it doesn’t come with an ice pack. But for the price (and with a 180-day money-back guarantee) it’s worth it to see if it’s a fit for you.
Best bottle cooler with added features
The cool (pun intended) thing about this cooler from PackIt is that there is no need to use a cooling pack — just flatten the cooler and freeze overnight before using.
It has a removable divider and can fit four bottles, including bigger brands like Tommee Tippee. A few parents complain about leaks, but most folks really love this cooler.
Best budget-friendly baby bottle cooler
This cooler from nanobébé only holds 3 bottles, but it’s a great pick if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option. Parents say the three-layer insulation and included ice pack do a great job of keeping milk cold over long periods of time, and that the smaller size makes it easy to travel with.
A few parents mention that this bag is also machine washable in case of spillage, and several warn that you need to remove feeding nipples on your bottles and use travel caps in order for the lid to zip closed. The best part? This bag is usually available for around $10.