A last-minute dress rehearsal

I probably should have done a test of this system before I committed to going on this trip. Or even a series of experiments for weeks prior. But life is too busy for such thorough strategic planning. So here we are days before I’m scheduled to fly to Japan and I have finally found a wedge of time to dedicate to this. My flight is 12 hours long. If I can double that I’ll call this test a success, this would allow me to ride out a significant delay, and still get back home before the milk warms. I’m testing with refrigerated milk. If it can stay below 40 degrees for 24 hours, it counts as a first success.

IoT Breastmilk

While my baby daughter is napping and my older toddler is swirling, I assembled the would-be-luggage. A cooler with four sheet ice packs snugly tucked around two half-gallon thermoses. I tried to plug every little air gap with tea towels. There are temperature sensors in the milk, in the vessels, and the cooler so that I can compare temperature differences. We already have freezer fights about whether freshly milled heirloom grains should take priority over frosted beer glasses. I can’t imagine trying to make enough space or wager the argument for the whole cooler to be frozen even though Yeti recommends it. I also can’t imagine negotiating for this much freezer real estate in Japan. So I figure I’ll pre-freeze everything else: ice packs, vessels, and lids, and then assemble them into a room temperature cooler.

Zipped up and ready to go nowhere. I tried to convince the family that momma’s cooler test was in fact not for climbing, sitting, opening, or moving around. Skeptical but understanding, my toddler did not tamper with the experiment for a full 24-hour run. This may have been the hardest feat of all. Forget the assembly, forget the equipment research, forget the time it took to carve out the time to trial this, just putting something new into the house that was not play material was the real challenge.

Glad I did a dress rehearsal! I realized after 24-hours that the temperature sensors have a setting that must be turned ON to save historical temperature data. Which sadly I had not done. But hopefully, I’ve figured this out such that the trip back from Japan can be adequately monitored. I doubt I’m missing anything significant in the historical data though when I took them out one was at 32 degrees, and the other had been frozen solid. Both went in at refrigerated temperature and came out colder than they went in a full 24-hours later. It looks like I overbuilt this. Even though it’s too late to say no anyway, I’m less stressed about going to Japan.

Breastmilk in a coolerPartially frozen breastmilk in a Nuk bag

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