A Guide for Shipping Breast Milk
Breast milk can be safely and easily shipped at any time of the year. This guide will give you the tools and information that you need to pack your parcel correctly. If packed correctly, frozen breast milk should be alright for a 48 hour period. Adding dry ice to the package will definitely ensure that the milk stays frozen during warmer months and climates.
Before you ship out, first you’ll need a Styrofoam shipping cooler. Make sure that the cooler has a minimum thickness of 2 to 3 inches.
Styrofoam shipping coolers that have been fitted into cardboard boxes.
Still not sure on what kind of box to get, check out this helpful post from the Modern Milksharing Blog. Also invest in a good roll of packing tape.
Depending on the time of year and how long it will take to ship the breast milk to your buyer, the use of dry ice is optional. However, it is STRONGLY recommended to use dry ice during the warmer time of the year or when you are shipping to a warmer climate. Also, if you’re shipping less than 300 oz, use dry ice no matter the shipping time. Anything less than 300 oz or 500 oz of frozen breast milk during the hotter times of the year could risk defrosting and destroying it.
Step-by-Step Shipping Guide
- Make arrangements with the buyer BEFORE you ship out your breast milk. Your buyer needs to be able to be home so that he can properly store the breast milk when it arrives at his door. Ship only on a Monday, Tuesday, or a Wednesday. Shipping on a Thursday or a Friday could result in your package sitting an extra day since there are no deliver days on Sunday.
- Once you’ve made arrangements with your buyer, ask an associate at FedEx or the shipping company of your choice how long it would take the package to arrive by ground shipping. Depending on where you’re sending the package, it might be cheaper to send it ground especially if it will only take a day or two. If it’s longer than that, definitely overnight or 2-day ship your parcel.
- After shipping times have been figured out, buy your supplies including your container and dry ice. For more information on shipping with dry ice visit our Shipping With Dry Ice Page.
- Be sure to handle dry ice with gloves. Break up the dry ice and place half on the bottom. Place a layer of newspaper over the top of the dry ice.
- Place frozen breast milk containers into a zip lock bag to prevent any leaking during shipment. Remove all air from the zip lock bag. Once you’ve done that, wrap bag with another layer of newspaper to protect the plastic from the dry ice.
- Put the newspaper wrapped frozen bags into the cooler on top of the newspaper layer. After you’ve filled the container, fill in any extra spaces with crumpled up newspaper. This will prevent things from shifting.
- Layer more newspaper on top and place the remainder of the dry ice on top of the layer of newspapers.
- Close up the lid and tape up the package with packing tape. Make sure not to tape up the whole package so that the gases from the dry ice can escape.
- Follow all regulations for shipping with dry ice. Also write “Human Milk” on the container.
- Go to a FedEx store and ship the cooler to your buyer. Make sure to call and/or email them to let them know that their package is headed their way, when to expect it, and to give them the tracking number.
You can either bill the buyer with the shipping cost or use their shipping account number. Another method can be to call the buyer at the shipping place and have them pay over the phone. Do whatever method that is easier for you and/or your buyer.