Shipping Breast Milk
PACKING AND SHIPPING BREAST MILK
Most families ship milk using FedEx, UPS or USPS. These carriers may vary in their shipping costs and procedures so please check with your carrier of choice before shipping. Some families prefer to ship the milk in larger quantities only - in order to save on shipping costs. Plan to ship the milk on Monday-Wednesday to insure it arrives on Thursday or Friday. The recipient may set up a account with the shipping carrier to cover the costs of shipping. This will prevent the donor needing to be reimbursed. Be sure to contact the recipient of shipping so they can plan to be home to receive the package.
To ship milk you will need:
- 2-3in. thick styrofoam cooler, dry ice carrier, or Coleman camping style cooler
- newspaper or brown paper bags
- plastic Ziploc freezer bags
- dry ice (optional)
Some families prefer not to use dry ice for shipping. This is possible if the milk was deeply frozen, such as stored in a deep freezer. This is usually only recommended if using overnight shipping. If using dry ice, you will need 5-9 lbs. for a cooler full of milk. Dry ice can be found at most local hardware stores. Remember to wear gloves when handling dry ice. It will burn your skin. Choose the amount of dry ice based on how much milk you are shipping, how it was frozen and whether it will ship overnight or 2nd day.
Break the dry ice into chucks using a hammer and use 1/2 of it to layer the bottom of the cooler. Cover the ice with several layers of newspaper. Pack the breastmilk into Ziploc bags and wrap the bags in newspaper. Keep the bags airtight to contain the milk in case of leaks. Do not allow the bags to touch the dry ice to prevent bursting. Put layers of newspaper over the tip of the bags. Cover with the remaining ice. Stuff any extra room at the top of the cooler with more newspaper.
If there are receipts for any supplies, some families place these on top of the cooler. Secure the lid with duct tape or shipping tape. Leave a little bit untapd so that the ice can vent or the cooler may burst. Print a label that states the cooler contains HUMAN MILK is FRAGILE and PERISHABLE and tape it to the cooler. There is a sample flyer at the bottom of this page. You may print this to use for shipping your milk. Some carriers require extra labels so just with them before shipping.