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Your baby may love 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.
As you might guess from the name, a baby bottle cooler bag is an insulated bag designed to hold and keep cold baby bottles within a cooler temperature range.
Think of it as a diaper bag and fridge combination — minus the need for electricity. Much like a diaper bag, a baby bottle cooler bag is designed to be taken with you and your little one when you’re out exploring the world or just out and about.
Not leaving breast milk at room temperature for prolonged periods is where the fridge part comes in. Thanks to ice packs and insulating materials, everything stays cool, so you don’t have to worry about the milk being left at room temperature for too long.
Manufacturers of baby bottle cooler bags use a variety of insulation materials to keep their bags cool. Some have an aluminum foil liner, while others rely on a gel liner. Foam and gel insulation are often used in combination with gel or aluminum foil liners. In general, baby bottle cooler bags require a separate ice pack, but some are all-in-one, with a removable ice pack in a sleeve, or fully integrated into the bag.
While many baby bottle cooler bags won’t advertise every material used to keep items cold, keep an eye out for items that are made with PVC, BPA, phthalate, and lead-containing materials. These materials are often on the no-go lists of health-conscious parents. In a food carrier, there’s a small possibility trace amounts could leach into what you’re feeding your baby. (However, there’s no research or evidence to support this concern at the moment.)
You can also consider products that have undergone environmental testing. For some parents, this offers extra comfort in knowing the types of materials surrounding their baby’s food.
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 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
If you’re looking for a basic cooler bag without a ton of bells and whistles to transport pumped milk, the Medela Breast Milk Cooler Set comes with everything you’ll need, including a contoured ice pack. 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 full day adventure 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.
- includes a contoured ice pack and four 5-ounce bottles
- fits inside the Medela Sonata, Freestyle, and Pump in Style breast pump bags
- the materials are BPA-, phthalate-, latex-, and lead-free
- the bag is only designed for 5-ounce bottles
- it won’t zip shut if the bottle nipples are attached, so you’ll need to take those separately and attach them before feeding
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!
- has a detachable buckle and shoulder strap so you can carry it multiple ways
- it has a removable layer, so you can separate the interior into two smaller compartments, or use a single bigger one
- designed to be a wine carrier, too
- it doesn’t come with an ice pack — you’ll have to purchase one separately or use one you already own
- some users complained about the zipper breaking within a few months of use
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 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.
- can hold six bottles
- comes with a removable shoulder strap and a contoured ice pack
- has zippers at the front and top opening, as well as a zippered front pocket
- the pocket doesn’t have that much room to store things
- some users complained that the bottom of the bag wasn’t as sturdy as they would have liked
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.
- available in two sizes and in multiple colors
- can store up to six bottles and a breast pump
- two compartments allow items to be separated
- it’s on the bulkier side, as it’s designed to hold a pump, too
- some users felt the zipper snagged easily
Best bottle cooler bag for strollers
This insulated bag’s handle can snap around a stroller handle for hands-free carrying. It has a front pocket for easy access to objects while you stroll, and the slim profile means that it can fit in many diaper bags if you’re short on space. It fits up to four bottles and comes with an ice pack for longer walks, picnics, or trips to the park.
The interior lining is heat-sealed and pulls up for easy cleaning if you have milk spills. It also has a variety of colors and patterns to choose from.
- the handle includes a snap, so it can be attached to a stroller or diaper bag
- the lining is heat-sealed and, according to the company, it “pulls up” for easy cleaning
- comes in a variety of colors and patterns and is budget-friendly
- it’s smaller than some of the other options on our list, and may be too compact for longer trips and adventures
- many users commented that this bag can be prone to tipping over
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 it 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.
- the bag can be frozen, so you don’t need an ice pack
- it‘s made with PVC-, BPA-, phthalate-, and lead-free materials
- there are plenty of colors and patterns available
- it’s only designed to hold 5-ounce bottles
- the outside can be cold to the touch, because the whole bag is placed in the freezer
Best budget-friendly baby bottle cooler
This cooler from nanobébé only holds three 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.
- this bag has a budget-friendly price
- it’s machine-washable
- the bag’s handle includes a snap to make it easy to strap onto a stroller
- bottle nipples need to be removed from the tops of bottles for them to fit inside this bag
- the included ice pack didn’t get a thumbs up from some users, so you may need to find a durable alternative that stays cold longer
Best for 2 bottles
This cooler bag shines for folks looking for an option to hold two bottles — whether it’s because you have twins or just like to pack a backup bottle for outings. The zipper design is one of the features that make this bag stand out, as it provides easy access to one or both bottles.
This bottle bag comes with a freezer pack and has an easy-to-adjust strap for attaching to a stroller handlebar. It has an interior mesh pocket for storage and comes in a variety of colors and designs, so you can find one to match your personal style. It doesn’t have outer pockets, though, so don’t count on it for storing or carrying more than the two bottles.
- two-way zippers allow for easy access to one or both bottles
- has an easy-to-adjust strap, and an ice pack is included
- it’s only designed to hold two bottles or sippy cups, which may not be enough for longer trips or all-day adventures
- it doesn’t have external pockets
If you’re willing to spend a little extra money on a cooler bag, you might love the Sarah Wells Cold Gold cooler bag. The company has put a lot of thought into the little features. It’s available in a wide range of colors and patterns, and has a sturdy handle with a clip that opens, making it easy to attach to other things (you could even attach it to your stroller handle).
It includes an ice pack, an extra pocket for pump valves, and even a sleeve for your baby’s photo. It is a bit bigger than some of the other options on our list, but that also means it can hold four 8-ounce bottles, which is great for older babies and toddler-sized cups.
- available in a wide range of color and pattern options
- it can hold four 8-ounce bottles.
- includes a pocket for pump parts and a sleeve for your baby’s photo
- it’s not one of the cheaper options on our list
- the ice pack is rigid, which restricts how it can be placed around objects in the bag
Best for pumping on the go
Planning to pump on the go? You can pump directly into this breast milk cooler. This thermos-style cooler is compatible with a range of pumps and can hold between 12 and 34 ounces of milk. When your baby gets hungry, the lid doubles as a bottle.
While it’s a pricier option, the Ceres Chiller offers different milk storage options. You can place ice water in the outer chamber and pump up to 12 ounces of milk directly into the inner canister. Alternatively, you can pour ice water into the inner canister and use the outer canister to hold up to 24 ounces of breast milk. Regardless of which chamber has the milk and which has the ice water, your milk can be stored for up to 20 hours.
The outer canister can hold 34 ounces of milk on its own, but additional refrigeration will be needed.
- this cooler works with a variety of pumps, so you can express milk directly into it
- the lid can be used as a bottle to feed your baby
- milk can be kept cold for up to 20 hours (longer than most of the other options on our list) and users say the thermos really does keep milk cold.
- this option is the most expensive on our list
- while it’s dishwasher-safe, at least one reviewer noted you shouldn’t leave it in during the dry cycle
Best for bagged breast milk
If you are looking for a cooler that can fit in your purse, this pocketbook-style milk cooler might be a great choice. The freezable cooler has 16 cubes of water built into it, so you don’t need to worry about a separate ice pack.
This cooler is durable and compact — plus it’s discreet, so others may not even know you’re using it to transport breast milk. However, it doesn’t have room for actual bottles. Instead, you’ll have to carry a bottle with you. You’ll likely want to dispose of the emptied bags on the spot, meaning this cooler could be less than ideal if you’re in an area that doesn’t have trash receptacles nearby.
- can fit inside a purse or handbag
- it has 16 cubes of water built into the freezable case, so you don’t need a separate ice pack
- the discreet and compact design means it won’t be immediately obvious to others that you’re transporting breast milk
- its compact design doesn’t have room to hold actual bottles
- the bag itself will be cold from being in the freezer
|Product||Price||Number of Bottles It Can Fit||Special Features|
|Medela Breast Milk Cooler Set||$$||4 (5-ounce bottles)||contoured ice pack; fits inside the Medela Sonata, Freestyle, and Pump in Style breast pump bags|
|Momcozy Breastmilk Cooler Bag||$$||6||can be converted into a wine carrier; detachable buckle and shoulder strap; removable layer allows for a double or single level bag|
|Lekebaby Insulated Baby Bottle Cooler Bag with Ice Pack||$$||6||comes with an ice pack and detachable shoulder strap; top and front opening; zippered front pocket|
|Momigo Breast Pump Backpack||$$$||6||many breast pumps including the Spectra fit inside; two compartments; available in two sizes and multiple colors|
|J.L. Childress MaxiCOOL Breastmilk Cooler||$||4||ice pack included; handle snap; front pocket|
|PackIt Freezable Breastmilk and Formula Cooler||$$||4 (5-ounce bottles)||the cooler bag can be frozen, so there’s no need for an ice pack; available in a range of colors and patterns; clear front pocket for a name and date card|
|nanobébé Cooler Bag & Travel Pack||$||3 (of the brand’s specific 5-ounce bottles)||two-way zippers; ice pack included; machine-washable|
|Skip Hop Grab & Go Double Bottle Bag||$||2||two-way zippers; ice pack included; easy adjustable strap that can be attached to a stroller; interior mesh pocket|
|Sarah Wells Cold Gold Breast Milk Cooler Bag||$$$||4 (8-ounce bottles)||ice pack included; extra pocket for pump parts; sleeve for your baby’s picture; adjustable and detachable handle|
|Ceres Chill Breastmilk Chiller||$$$||12 – 34 oz of milk storage capacity||dishwasher-safe (though not with a dry cycle); compatible with a variety of pumps; top can be used to bottle feed|
|FlexiFreeze Pocketbook||$$||2 mini hospital bottles or several breast milk bags||the cooler bag has 16 pure water cubes built in and can be frozen, so there’s no need for an ice pack; discreet appearance; fits inside a purse or small handbag|
How long can you keep breast milk in a cooler bag?
According to the
While milk can be stored in an insulated cooler for up to 24 hours, how long your cooler keeps milk safe will depend on the manufacturer. Be sure to check the recommendations for any bag you choose, as the cooler bag may only be designed to keep milk chilled for 6 to 10 hours.
When to use a baby bottle cooler bag?
Baby bottle cooler bags are especially useful when you’re out and about with your little one. They can be used to keep milk (and other foods) cold anytime you won’t have access to a fridge for several hours. This allows you to keep your baby nourished even if you’re on the go.
What’s the difference between a mini diaper bag and bottle cooler?
A mini diaper bag is designed to help you carry diapers, wipes, and other items you may need while adventuring with your baby. Mini diaper bags typically don’t have insulation to keep food or milk cold (though some may have an insulated side pocket that can keep a bottle of milk cold for a short period of time).
On the other hand, baby bottle cooler bags are designed with materials to help keep items inside cold for prolonged periods. These bags typically have fewer pockets and less storage. Instead, they focus on holding bottles or sippy cups and food.
How do I clean my cooler bag?
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning out your cooler bag. Some bags are machine-washable, but other bags are only meant to be wiped down with a wet towel. Following the guidelines for cleaning will keep your cooler bag in good condition.
If you’re headed out and about with your little one, you’ll want to make sure that you have food for them with you. Baby bottle cooler bags can help to keep formula or breast milk at a safe temperature while you’re on the go, so you don’t end up with a sick baby.
With many different cooler bag options, there’s sure to be one that matches your needs and budget, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit to find the perfect fit!