One of the problems every parent faces is how to keep a baby’s milk cool when they are not at home. According to a registered lactation consultant, the best rule of thumb is to use room temperature milk within five hours, refrigerated milk within five days, and frozen milk within five months. But what do you do if you’re out of the house and not near a fridge?
The best thermal baby bottle carrier is the Badabulle Insulated Multi Pocket Cool Bag. Not only is it discreet and modern-looking, but it also keeps your baby’s milk cold for up to eight hours. Use the zippered mesh pockets on the outside for storage and the soft leather handle for easy transport.
However, this isn’t the best option every time, and there are some other excellent products to consider, such as the following, all from Amazon.co.uk:
- Get the Badabulle Insulated Multi Pocket Cool Bag if you want a bag to carry bottles and snacks or lunch for yourself separately.
- Get the ARDO Cool Bag Complete if you need bottles, too, as this comes with six that are specially designed to fit together inside.
- Get the BÉABA – Insulated Baby Meal Pouch if you need to carry food for the whole family.
- Get the Itsy Insulatez Warm & Cool Bag for added storage and organisation.
Using a thermal baby bottle carrier is the best way to keep a baby’s milk cold, but what precisely is a thermal baby bottle carrier? And do you really need one? I’ll explain and offer some great choices for you to consider.
What Is a Thermal Baby Bottle Carrier?
A thermal baby bottle carrier is an insulated bag that keeps milk (and other food and drink items) cold for hours. The bag will maintain a constant temperature while you are on the go. Most come with ice packs to ensure the coldest temperatures possible.
A baby bottle carrier should have ample space for food and should also be soft so you can fold it down for easy storage when not in use.
What To Look For in a Thermal Baby Bottle Carrier
Certain characteristics make a thermal baby bottle carrier better or worse, from its cooling ability to the cost.
And, of course, there are several key aspects to consider when choosing a thermal baby bottle carrier. For example, the Cleveland Clinic says to store formula or breastmilk in glass bottles to minimise exposure to BPAs and keep it in a cold place such as the refrigerator.
However, parents value different things and will choose based on their particular needs. These qualities will help you decide the best carrier for your use.
You will undoubtedly want a thermal baby bottle carrier with maximum cooling properties. After all, the whole purpose of the carrier is to chill the milk for your baby’s use and safety. So, the length of time the carrier keeps milk chilled is critical.
The Centers for Disease Control says to use prepared infant formula within two hours or store it in a cool container such as a refrigerator or cooler that keeps it at or below 32°F/0°C.
If you’re out and cannot thaw frozen milk under warm water, then paediatricians recommend using a thermal baby bottle carrier as an effective way to thaw frozen milk slowly to preserve the nutrients.
How you plan to use a thermal baby bottle carrier will influence your choice. Will you use it primarily for going back and forth to work? Is the thermal carrier only for long trips? How many bottles will you carry at once?
Another factor that affects storage space is where you plan to keep the thermal bottle carrier.
If you need the carrier to fit in a snug space in your vehicle, then the dimensions of the bag matter. When you want it to hold multiple bottles for a long trip, then a larger size is in order.
The strap style might not matter to you when you only have one baby. However, carrying the thermal bag must be efficient when you have two small children and a baby.
This is why choosing a specific strap style should factor into your decision. Detachable straps can be beneficial for cleaning the bag, but they may not be the most sturdy.
Also, thicker straps with padding will make it more comfortable to hitch up your shoulder.
As with anything baby-related, the cost is a huge deciding factor for making a purchase.
Do you choose something simple and affordable in the hopes it will last you long enough, or do you splurge on something more expensive, even though you might not use it that often?
Babies outgrow things so fast, but chances are, you’ll use this carrier even after they transition to solid foods. They still need food and drinks, after all. So it could be used as a lunch bag of sorts.
With that in mind, spending a little more on higher-quality might be a good idea.
The insulation method is the main characteristic that influences the temperature of your baby’s milk. Just like a drink cooler, some insulation methods work better than others.
For example, some bags are thinner than others, which typically won’t keep milk cold for longer periods.
Many parents like to have a thermal baby bottle carrier with extra pockets to hold keys, baby wipes, a phone, and other items.
Pouches and pockets improve the efficiency of a thermal bag leaving your hands free for other things.
So, if you and your baby are often on the go, it’s worth considering a bag with extra storage, so you don’t need a diaper bag, lunch bag, and wipe bag. If they can all fit into one, you’ll have less to worry about.
Are Thermal Baby Bottle Carriers Worth Having?
Thermal baby bottle carriers are worth having since you can use them for more than just keeping milk cold. For example, once your baby is old enough to eat solid food, the bag can be used as a snack or lunch bag, as well as storage for other essentials, like wipes.
Their versatility alone makes thermal carriers worthwhile.
In addition, many doulas include them as an essential postpartum item to help breastfeeding mothers pump and store milk safely.
Here are some benefits of thermal bottle carriers:
- Easy for a working parent to transport to daycare
- Portable for hiking and camping
- Convenient to take on an aeroplane
- Able to carry anywhere
- Can strap on a pram to give easy access to milk while out and about
The Five Best Thermal Baby Bottle Carriers
Consider these five best thermal baby bottle carriers that offer chilling capabilities, multiple pockets for carrying keys and other items, and various sizes to fit different needs.
I highly recommend the Badabulle Insulated Multi Pocket Cool Bag for its cooling ability and handy mesh pockets to hold essential items. But each of these has its own pros and cons.
1. Babeyer Insulated Baby Bottle Bag
This bag not only has the most storage capacity but also has the second-most reviews. The product with the most reviews is considerably smaller and does not hold the milk as cold for as many hours. That’s why this takes our top spot.
Pros for the Babeyer Bag:
- Comes with an additional ice pack
- Holds 4 bottles
- Large capacity of 23 x 19 x 17.5 cm (9 x 7.48 x 6.89 inches)
- Keeps milk cold for up to 8 hours
- Detachable strap to attach the bag to the pram
- Can also function as a lunch bag
- Easy to clean with durable woven nylon outer and aluminium film inner
- Six months warranty for guaranteed replacement
Cons for the Babeyer Bag:
- Ice pack arrives with white powder inside, and you must fill it with water
- Some customers complained that the package arrived wrinkled and squished in the mailer
2. Badabulle Insulated Multi Pocket Cool Bag
As mentioned above, this item actually has the most positive reviews. However, since it cannot hold as many bottles and has a shorter cooling life, it only comes in at number two.
What this product does have, though, are two separate storage compartments. So, you can keep a few bottles cold in one compartment and hold your lunch in the other without worrying about anything spilling.
Pros for the Badabulle Insulated Multi Pocket Cool Bag
- Capacity 5 litres
- Measures 24 x 26 x 17 cm (9.45 x 10.24 x 6.69 inches)
- 2 in 1 multi-pocket bag
- Unisex exterior colour
- Keeps milk cold for up to 5 hours
- Large insulated and lined pockets
- One zippered outer pocket
- One mesh outer pocket for keys, phone, and other items
- Comes with a strap to attach to the pram but also a top handle for convenient carrying
Cons for the Badabulle Insulated Multi Pocket Cool Bag
- Some users noted that with the size and shape of the top compartment, it’s not easy to fit bottles inside
3. ARDO Cool Bag Complete
Though this may look small, it comes with six reusable bottles and two ice packs, so you don’t need to shop for those separately.
Users have mentioned that they can fit all of the bottles and ice packs in this bag, along with their breast pump, which means you have less to carry overall.
Pros for the Ardo Cool Bag Complete
- Eligible for Click and Collect with no minimum order
- Six bottles made from premium-quality Bisphenol-A free materials
- Cooling bag with robust interior insulation
- Includes two ice packs
- Measures 18 x 14 x 5 cm (7.09 x 5.12 x 1.97 inches)
Cons for the Ardo Cool Bag Complete
- Some noted the freezer pack cracked in the first month
- Comments indicate freezer packs thaw too quickly
- Too small to carry snacks or lunch too
4. BÉABA – Insulated Baby Meal Pouch
For something super-simple and effective, this pouch is one of the most affordable on the list. Also, it has a substantial internal capacity, so you can add Tupperware to the bottom and lay your baby’s bottles on top and still have room to spare.
Pros for the Ardo Cool Bag Complete
- Large capacity
- Foldable, thermal bag for carrying milk and baby’s foods
- Measurements 15 x 13 x 23 cm (5.91 x 5.12 x 9.16 inches)
- Soft, waterproof exterior
- Stain-proof and waterproof
- Navy blue, unisex colour
Cons for the Ardo Cool Bag Complete
- The handle is very short, and it doesn’t come with a longer strap to carry the bag on your shoulder.
5. Itsy Insulatez Warm & Cool Bag
Glass bottles are becoming pretty popular for storing milk, but they are more fragile, especially when you’re on the move.
Luckily, this bag has soft separators to keep the bottles apart and safe as you move.
It also comes with warming and cooling pouches, so you can hold your bacon sandwich in one section and still have cool milk right next door.
Pros for the Itsy Insulatez Warm & Cool Bag
- Large 6-litre capacity
- Removable foam separator that can let your bag become a picnic or wine bag
- Elastic-top mesh outer pockets to store keys and other items
- Includes attractive cooling pouches
- Measures 32.9 x 24.5 x 12.1 cm (12.95 x 9.65 x 4.76 inches)
Cons for the Itsy Insulatez Warm & Cool Bag
- Is not effective when keeping bottles warm
- Velcro is not always secure enough to hold the foam in place