Pumping is both the most amazing and stressful thing in the world. On one hand, you are totally enthralled with the fact that you can pump breast milk for your baby to eat, even when you are away from them. But on the other hand, you're thinking about how much work it takes and stressing about storing it correctly so you don't waste a drop. For moms who want to donate their pumped milk or moms who are traveling, it can be even more stressful when you're trying to find ways to ship your breast milk so your pumping hasn't been in vain.
A tiny airplane that ships only breast milk is obviously the dream, but it can be a little more in-depth than that. Short of strapping your breast milk into a freezer and pulling it along behind you, you can either ship your breast milk using a delivery service or package it up yourself and ship it via FedEx or UPS.
Your first option includes having most of the work done for you. Milk Stork is a breast milk delivery service for traveling moms that will help you ship your milk, keep it cold, and get it to your baby as quickly as possible. This is perfect for moms who may be on work trips or traveling without their baby, but want their milk to be available to their little one within a couple of days. According to the website for Milk Stork, you pump a day's worth of breast milk and refrigerate it. When you receive the Milk Stork box, you activate the cooling unit in it before sealing the box and either scheduling a FedEx pick-up yourself or ask your hotel to make shipping arrangements. The box is then shipped overnight so that your baby can have your freshly expressed milk. No need to freeze the milk and no need to package it with dry ice or purchase a cooler.
But, there's always a good old-fashioned DIY attempt at shipping your breast milk, too. If you're donating your breast milk, some organizations like National Milk Bank, will send you all the supplies you need to ship your breast milk. Otherwise, you'll need to get your own package materials.
According to MilkShare, the first thing you need to do is choose your cooler. Many moms opt for a styrofoam cooler inside a shipping box, but you can also use a camper cooler like a Coleman brand, and have it shipped back to you. If you are shipping the milk overnight and your milk is frozen, you may not need to purchase dry ice. MilkShare recommended putting your breast milk storage bags into larger Ziploc bags and then wrapping each bag up in brown paper or newspaper. Put several layers around each bag, especially if you decide to use dry ice. When the dry ice touches the Ziploc bag, it can cause them to bust open because of the extreme cold.
After your package is full, seal the box with plenty of tape and be sure to pick up a human milk sticker so that your shipping provider knows the box is fragile and perishable. Then, take your box to either FedEx or UPS to have it delivered.
It's a pretty simple process, but it can be costly. (Although as most pumping moms know, breast milk is worth it.) Some shipping companies have different policies regarding breast milk, so be sure to reach out to the one you're using to make sure your breast milk can make it to its destination.