Modern parenting seems to create a lot of waste. Between nappies, bottles, pacifiers, baby wipes and everything else, you may be wondering if there are zero waste breast milk storage options.
There is an alternative, zero waste way for just about everything!
Luckily, single use plastic bags aren’t your only option for storing breast milk. We’ve got some eco friendly ways for your to store your breast milk in the fridge or freezer.
In this article, I’m going to some creative alternatives to disposable breast milk storage bags.
What Can I Store Breast Milk In?
Breast milk storage bags are specifically designed to be able to be stacked and allow you to fit more bags into your freezer. But using dedicated breast milk storage bags is definitely not the only way to store your breast milk.
Why avoid plastic when storing breastmilk?
The chemicals in plastic storage containers can leach harmful chemicals, such as BPAs, into your breast milk, particularly when containers are heated. BPA has been linked to a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. That’s definitely not something that I want in my baby’s milk!
Many plastic products are now labelled as BPA free, but there has been little research into the safety of the chemicals that are replacing BPAs.
Still not convinced? There is also an environmental reason to avoid plastic.
Plastic is not biodegradable, and it takes hundreds or even thousands of years to break down. By continuing to use disposable items we are contributing to the millions of particles of microplastics that are polluting our earth
Luckily, there are plenty of Zero Waste Breast Milk Storage Ideas that are reusable or completely zero waste. Lets take a look.
Eco Friendly Breast Milk Storage Ideas
As we are all trying to reduce our uses of single use plastic, what are some eco friendly ways to store your breast milk? There are many different ways to do this, but the best way is to use food grade silicone storage bags, stainless steel containers or glass jars. Make sure you label each container with the date and time so you know when it was stored.
Pssst… Look for other relevant articles?
- How To Use Up Leftover Breast Milk
- How To Build A Freezer Stash of Breast Milk
- How To Choose A Freezer For Breast Milk
Silicone Breast Milk Storage Bags
Silicone breast milk storage bags are an excellent way to store your breast milk without creating any disposable waste. These bags are made of food grade silicone and they can be reused over and over again. They are also dishwasher safe, so you can easily clean them after each use. Unfortunately, they are not truly zero waste because they only have one use – which is storing breast milk. They will eventually break down and need to be thrown away and replaced.
Here are the top rated reusable breast milk storage bags, from one of our favorite brands, available on Amazon
Glass Breast Milk Storage Solutions
There are a few different options for storing breast milk in glass. You could use what you already have or you can use purpose bought glass bottles, Tupperware or even glass baby bottles.
Glass is a worthy alternative to breastmilk storage bags. It’s easy to keep clean and can be used to keep breast milk stored in the fridge or freezer.
1. Use what you already have
You can use just about any glass container to store milk. My favorite is using old food jars. Make sure to choose small ones, as you will only want to download one feed worth of milk at a time.
Before using an old food jar (like a pasta sauce bottle), they must be sterilized.
How to sterilize glass jars for breast milk
- Wash your jars and the lids in very hot soapy water. Rinse them but leave them wet. Place the clean wet jars upside down on a roasting tray.Instead, leave them to stand upside down on a roasting tray.
- Put the tray of clean, wet jars and lids into a preheated oven at 320-350ºC for about 15 mins.
- When they are finished they will be extremely hot, so take care when handling. Alternatively, you could turn the over off and leave the jars in the oven to cool. When they are cold to the touch they are safe for your breast milk.
2. Buy Glass Breast Milk Storage
You might not have any suitable glass jars at home, in which case you may want to purchase some glass breast milk storage.
Glass is a smart, eco friendly and plastic free way to keep breast milk stored in the fridge or freezer. If you decide to freeze breast milk in glass, remember that breast milk expands, so you will need to leave space at the top. An inch or so is a good amount of space to leave.
a. Mason Jars Are Perfect For Freezing Breast Milk
Small mason jars are just perfect for storing breast milk! I love these small ones as they are a great size.
b. Use Glass Food Containers To Store Breast Milk Safely
Glass tupperware is another good choice.
I love that they are stackable and come in different sizes.
If you want to buy a specific product, these are great way to store breast milk and for baby food in the future!
c. Glass Baby Bottles For Breast Milk Storage
Choosing to use glass baby bottles can save you time while you are out an about. You express your milk, pour it into the bottles and freeze them. Then, when you are out and about you can grab a bottle from the freezer – no need for another container. Win! Just make sure that you don’t microwave milk before giving it to your baby, it might get too hot and scald them.
How To Store Breast Milk In Glass
Storing your liquid gold in glass takes a couple of extra steps over storing your expressed milk in a breastmilk storage bag.
- Give you jars a deep clean and sterilize them. If they still have a smell from a previous product, they aren’t clean enough for breast milk.
- If you are hand expressing, you can express directly into a clean glass jar.
- If you are using a breast pump, it will pump into a bottle. You can then empty the bottle directly into the jar.
- Seal the lid, write the date and time on the side of the jar, and pop it in the fridge or freezer.
- Depending on how long it is until you next use your breast pump, you may be able to add your milk to the previously expressed milk. Double check the breastmilk storage guidelines to check!
More Low Waste Alteratives to Breast Milk Storage Bags
Silicone Ice Cube Tray
Possibly the easiest way to store your breast milk, but it does take an extra step.
You freeze your milk in a silicone ice cube tray, and once it is fully frozen, transfer it to another container like a food safe freezer bag or any other food safe freezer container. Just make sure you record the date that you expressed the milk!
This product is great, the milk is stored in 0.5oz blocks and you can use it for freezing baby food in the future.
But any ice cube tray will do, even this one!
Pssst… Here are some more articles we’ve written that you might find helpful:
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Plastic Free Breast Milk Storage
There are plenty of zero waste breast milk storage solutions. You can choose to use what you already have like glass jars or food containers, or purchase purpose build, plastic free breast milk storage in the form of bottles, jars, ice cube trays of reusable silicone bags.
For my money? I love using the small mason jars. Not only are they reusable and recyclable, you can also easily buy new lids and they have plenty of uses beyond storing breast milk.
What are your favorite zero waste breast milk storage options?