Using Dry Ice

How much dry ice should I use?
• You should not need more than 8lbs of dry ice for shipping breast milk. I usually only use avg 5lbs. If I ship for arrival in 3 days then I will use between 8-10lbs of dry ice for hot summer weather days. Make your own judgement on how much you should use and when. I personally believe if I think I should use a couple more pounds of dry ice, then I'd rather do that then risk breast milk thawing or spoiling.
•  Shipping breast milk 320oz or more in properly insulated shipping coolers can be shipped 1-2 days with out any dry ice successfully, as long as there are no shipping delays, not traveling in a very hot shipping environment, and the package does not get damaged.
*Note: You cannot ship air shipments with more than 5.5lbs of dry ice due to safety regulations. Ground shipping does not have a limit on the amount of dry ice you can use.

Dry ice and shipping days guide recommendation for frozen breast milk.
** In properly insulated cooler, depending on how hot the weather
** Be especially careful with ground shipping
Quantity Ship Speed Amount Dry Ice
 up to 100oz In person pick up only 0 lbs
100oz - 320oz overnight (*USPS) 3 - 5lbs dry ice
320oz - 550oz 1-2 day shipping 5 - 8lbs dry ice
550oz up 1-3 day shipping 5 - 8lbs dry ice
Note: These recommendations are based on allowing enough dry ice for unexpected weather and/or shipping delays. You can use less or even none if you feel comfortable with the packing and shipping method. 

Do not force the package to fit dry ice and breast milk tightly. Doing so will put the cooler at risk of cracking and spoiling the breast milk. Please watch my 'how-to videos' for proper packing of cooler.

More information:

•  Dry ice temperature is extremely cold at temperatures of -109.3°F or -78.5°C. For this reason it is important to handle with caution and use gloves when using dry ice.

Do not touch dry ice with bare hands or eat it. Dry ice is not made from water, it is actually CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) in a solid form.

As dry ice warms it will dissipate (turn back into a gas state). This is why I like using dry ice as there is not melting involved, so I don't risk any water, or condensation from ice packs, in my shipments. Typically the dry ice is gone when it arrives at the buyers home, leaving just the empty plastic bag it was in and the packaged breast milk. No watery mess or soggy shipping box.

Make sure you keep dry ice in a well ventilated area where the Co2 can escape. If it's in a car or other small space where fresh air can't get in and the Co2 can't get out you will end up risking suffocation being in there or entering that area.
You might notice having to take more and more breaths and your lungs having a harder time to breath. If you feel that way leave the area quickly and if you can open up a door or windows, anything to get some fresh air inside there.

Do not store the dry ice in an air tight space. Doing so prevents the Co2 from escaping and the container will expand from the gas pressure posing a risk for it to crack or possibly explode.

Dry ice cools downward, so you want to make sure that the dry ice is always on top of things you want to keep frozen, not on the bottom. You can put dry ice on top and bottom, if needed.

Do not let dry ice touch the breast milk bags as that could possibly cause the bags to break open. Make sure to put a layer of newspaper or packing paper between the dry ice and breast milk. Make sure the dry ice can breath downward to allow the cold to drop to the lower parts of the cooler. If you put the layer to thick between the dry ice and the breast milk then the cold will be trapped up top and you do not want that to happen. I put some finger sized holes in parts of the top layer of newspaper or brown packing paper to allow cold to get through.

Open the plastic bag the dry ice is in so the CO2 can escape and cool the whole cooler while in transit. I usually leave the dry ice inside the plastic bag. I make sure to tear the bag open and let the dry ice be exposed so it can breath through the cooler.

•  Dry ice should be shipped in proper insulated shipping containers such as styrofoam or bio-stable polyurethane foam.
* I prefer using bio-stable polyurethane foam shipping containers as they do not crack or break apart on the edges or in little pieces like styrofoam. Studies also show they are better at insulation than styrofoam containers too. I switched to those type of coolers and am much happier. 

•  UPS terms shipping with dry ice:

If you still have any further questions or if I have missed something useful that should be included, please let us know!

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