Gear Review: Leche Freeze-Dried Breast Milk

By Published On: January 18th, 2024Tags:

We tried this new service that transforms breast milk into a shelf-stable powder for extended storage and convenience. Here is what we thought.

I chose to breastfeed my son for the same reasons many new parents do: To give him the nutrients and antibodies he needs, support his immune system, establish a bond, save money, and for the convenience of having his food on hand at all times, among other things. The decision to breastfeed felt right for my family, but, as we all know, while breastfeeding is undoubtedly rewarding, it’s also one of the hardest jobs a new mom can take on. 

We have been lucky not to have had many complications with latching or milk supply, and I love the time we’ve spent together creating a strong emotional bond. But there were certain things I never even considered until I found myself nursing around the clock, such as the amount of time feeding would take, how often he would need to eat, the lack of independence I would have because I needed to be near my little one whenever he was due for a meal, how difficult it would be to return to work, that my husband wouldn’t be able to feed our son and would miss out on some of that bonding time, or that while I’m fortunate enough to have an ample milk supply, I still do not have enough space to store it all. 

I heard about freeze-drying services that transform breast milk into a formula-like powder that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen and is shelf-stable for up to three years. This revolutionary freeze-drying process uses sublimation, removing the liquid from the breast milk, leaving only nutrients in a powder form. The powder can be reconstituted into liquid by adding distilled or purified water. It sounded almost too good to be true. I could send frozen bags of breast milk from my freezer stash, some of which were dangerously close to expiring, and receive that same milk back—but with an extended shelf life. I wouldn’t need to worry about keeping bottles cold while away from home, leaving my little one at daycare without enough to eat, having my freezer stash defrost if the power went out, frozen milk expiring at the bottom of my freezer, or running out of space.  

I decided to test Leche because the company was founded by moms and supported by a team of medical experts, and they process breast milk in a facility with the highest food-handling certifications. Additionally, out of all the companies that offer this service, Leche is the only one that does pre- and post-processing testing to ensure the safety of each order. Milk is freeze-dried in individual chambers separate from other customers’ milk in a sterile environment for optimal safety. Leche prioritizes quality and safety by individually handling each order—and when it comes to feeding my child, quality and safety are non-negotiable.

Leche Co-Founders, Jenney Korasick and Trish Clifford

Ordering Process

I opted for the Everyday + Premier bundle—which includes a resealable pouch for home use with a serving scoop and 20-25 individual 10g sachets for feeding on the go—so that I could try both options Leche offers (the individual packets are only available with the Premier bundle). The entire online ordering process was seamless and straightforward, and all products were pictured clearly on the site, so I knew what to expect. I placed my order on a Sunday, and my kit arrived that Wednesday.

Key Features

From start to finish, it was apparent that Leche had put a lot of thought and care into their packaging, and I was genuinely impressed. I love the branding and all of the little added details (the included packing tape and cooler box even have boobs on them), and the gifted BPA-free premium breast milk bags that are included with each order were a pleasant surprise (they’re also available for purchase, receiving this was a fun bonus!). The box fit the cooler snugly, and they made sending my frozen milk back to them so simple: I didn’t even have to print a shipping label or find packing tape. Everything I needed was included (and adorable). When my freeze-dried milk was shipped back to me, it was returned in a convenient Leche-branded stackable storage tin. 

I was amazed by how easy the whole process was—all the credit goes to the clear instructions included with my bundle. The instruction card offered an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide on how to package my milk for shipment. Each frozen bag had to be labeled with a permanent marker with my name, ounces of milk, and date (and while the Leche storage bags are very cute, you can send your frozen breast milk in whatever bag works best for you). The large storage bag had to be sealed with my information and signature. 

After freezing the ice bricks for 48 hours, I packed the large storage bag with the labeled frozen bags of breast milk (up to 75 ounces) and put the bricks on top of the storage bag, covered with the lid of the cooler until it sealed, and taped the box closed. A prepaid shipping label was included, so all I had to do was drop the package off at FedEx. 

Within three weeks of shipping my package back to Leche, I received a package with my freeze-dried breast milk in a large resealable pouch with a pre-measured serving scoop for use at home, as well as individual packets. Each Leche packet has simple mixing instructions that any caretaker could easily follow, and I feel confident sending my son to daycare with a few packets and an empty bottle.

Overall ease
My favorite feature is probably how quick and easy it is to mix up a bottle using freeze-dried breast milk. 

Upon receiving my Leche, I opened the box and followed the instructions:

Step 1: Pour an individual packet (or two 5-gram scoops) into a bottle.

Step 2: Add 4 ounces of purified water, and swirl or shake.

It was so easy! And most importantly, my son loved it.

Another Leche-loving mom posted the whole process on social media. Check it out:

Opportunities for Improvement

Overall, I found Leche’s instructions incredibly clear; however, I was a bit confused by the gifted breast milk storage bags. Since the Leche-branded bags were included in my bundle, I wasn’t sure if I was required to ship my breast milk back in them. Upon clarification, I learned those were gifts, and I could send my already frozen milk in any standard storage bags. 

Out of curiosity, I had to try it. I found that it didn’t taste as sweet as my regular milk, but my son had no issues and did not seem to notice anything different. It seems he loves the freeze-dried breast milk just as much as if it were fresh—and his opinion matters most.

With kits starting at $199, Leche has affordable options for many moms. While still an investment, I’d argue it’s a worthy one because it’s an investment in your baby, yourself, and your breastfeeding journey. I understand that a service like this comes at a cost for a good reason: The technology and quality control behind it are costly. Still, I think of it as a cost and time savings since I avoided throwing away a month’s worth of frozen milk that was dangerously close to its expiration date, saving me a month of pumping (and a few tears). 

Fortunately, if the price is outside your budget, there are several ways to save on your orders. The service is HSA- and FSA-eligible, which can help ease the financial burden in some cases. Additionally, if you sign up for Leche’s emails, you can save 10% on your order.

Who Would Enjoy This Product

I sent in milk that was getting close to expiration (from February 2023), and now it is shelf-stable for a few more years, which is impressive, so this service would definitely benefit any over-producing breastfeeding mother with a freezer stash. It’s also an amazing option for parents returning to work, families that travel, or anyone looking to support a new mom by helping make feeding easier and more convenient.

It would also benefit someone with a freezer stash who wants to prolong breastfeeding their child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding for two years, which may be impossible for some moms, especially those returning to work after only a few months, so having breast milk that can be stored for up to three years is a game-changer. 

If you travel, taking powdered, freeze-dried breast milk sachets is much more convenient than going through airport security with liquid breast milk. If you like to be prepared in an emergency, you can stash some packets away at home, leave some at your baby’s daycare, or drop some off at Grandma’s house. If you are transitioning your little one to solids but still want to ensure they get the nutrients they need, add a little to your baby’s food or smoothies. 

After testing Leche, I recommend this service to any mama who is low on freezer storage space, wants the convenience of having breast milk at the ready, or wants to save that liquid gold for years to come.

If you’re interested in trying this service for yourself or a loved one, Leche is offering 10% off by signing up for their emails.