Being a mom on the go is hard enough, but especially hard when you’re still in the breastfeeding stage. You and your baby may have to start spending some time apart when you finish maternity leave and need to get back to work, and this means that unless you find a way of storing up the milk you’ll have to pump daily, it’ll all go to waste.
While breast milk is still good to use for about 5 to 7 hours at room temperature, this isn’t always feasible when you might be home late or have to spend prolonged periods away – which is where mini fridges come into play. In a refrigerator, breast milk can stay for well up to 5 days, and are a much friendlier alternative than having to store bottles of breast milk in a communal refrigerator used by your colleagues as well.
We’ve done the motions and shortlisted our picks for the best mini fridge for storing breast milk, focusing on portability, convenience, and of course, the ability to cool enough to keep your breast milk fresh and ready to nourish your little one not just when you get home but for a couple of days to come, too.
Cooluli Electric Cooler and Warmer
A cute little machine that packs a good punch, this has a 10 liter or 12 can capacity – plenty of space not just to store the day’s breast milk but also a couple of nice drinks or snacks for yourself, too. The unit is just big enough to slide in nice and easy under your desk at work or occupy some space unobtrusively in a corner, but one of the things we love about it is how portable it is, too.
The unit fits easily into your car, with AC/DC adaptors that let you plug it into the car cigarette adapter to keep the fridge running even when you’re on the road. This is incredibly handy if you have a long commute or are going on a road-trip with your little one where pumping and storing breast milk becomes difficult and inconvenient, ensuring what you do have is kept fresh, usable and ready to go whenever you need it.
Since the unit is designed with car travel or at least transportation from one place to another in mind, the rugged hard plastic construction and impressive insulation mean the unit is built for longevity and durability, with a 6-foot AC wire and 6 and a half foot DC wire so you can plug the unit in anywhere to ensure it keeps cooling steadily.
Because this is a thermoelectric unit – which essentially works on the principle of cooling one part of the unit by transferring heat elsewhere – the unit can also be used as a warmer with the flip of a switch. When you’ve moved on from breast and bottle feeding your baby and need to keep their baby food warm, you can still keep using this unit, especially when on the road without a convenient microwave or stove-top for heating nearby.
KAREN’S BUDGET PICK
Chefman Portable Compact Personal Fridge
A great budget unit with a 4-liter (or 6 standard-sized can) capacity, this unit is just big enough to store a couple of bottles of breast milk and a drink for yourself, tucked in under your desk or sitting on top of it at work. The unit also comes with a removable shelf, so you can choose to store your lunch there too, easy to access on busy days you don’t have the time to leave work.
Like our top pick, this unit is also built for portability, a detachable power cord usable with AC outlets or your car cigarette lighter to keep it running at all times and keep your breast milk fresh and good to go for days. The quaint little unit is perfect for road-trips too, considering it takes up so little space in the car; a carry handle at the top of the unit makes it easy to transport single-handedly from your car to your office or elsewhere with ease. Since this unit also uses thermoelectric cooling, it can also double as a warmer.
Cooluli Mini Fridge Electric Cooler and Warmer (4 Liter / 6 Can)
A smaller version of our top pick offering the same brilliant functionalities, this is just the right size for a day or two’s stock of milk with room left over for your personal foods and beverages, with an internal capacity of 4 liters (or 6 cans). Thanks to the smaller size the unit is even more portable, meaning you can simply unplug the unit and carry it home with you, plugging it into your car to keep it running and ensure the milk doesn’t spoil from exposure to fluctuating temperatures.
Equipped with AC and DC power adapters, the unit can also run on a 2A power bank – meaning you can keep it running practically anywhere, so long as you’ve remembered to charge your back-up power source. This is especially useful when you’re on the go or going anywhere without easy and ready access to a power outlet, the use not only confined to your breastfeeding period post pregnancy but also afterwards when you go camping or road-tripping with your little ones, or even to have on hand when you’re outdoors and need a cool drink on-the-go.
Thanks to the small size, the unit will fit comfortably over or under your desk and not eat too much space in your car either, a carry handle atop the unit letting you simply lift and carry it to the car and back – or wherever you need it for that matter. Using thermoelectric cooling, the unit also doubles as a warmer. Built to be energy-saving, the unit is also cost-saving in this regard.