You should definitely go for eco-friendly storage options such as mason jars, glass bottles, silicone containers, and even freezing in silicone trays when storing breast milk. Eco-friendly options are much better when compared to plastic containers. These plastic containers are bad for the environment and toxic for your baby’s health due to the chemicals used in making these containers.
When it comes to storing breast milk, different women have different approaches towards storing it.
The easiest and cheapest way to do so is by storing it in plastic bottles or containers. But is it environmentally friendly? Definitely not!
You might have become an expert in pumping that breast milk for your little one, but storing it somewhere is still a concern. Most women are now opting for storing their breast milk in eco-friendly containers. And when it comes to the option of selecting one, there are many!
Why avoid plastic storage for breast milk?
Even though storing your breast milk in plastic containers sounds like an easy and affordable option.
Still, at the end of the day, you can’t deny that it’s terrible for the environment and for your baby too. So here are some issues with using plastic containers as storage for your breast milk and why you should avoid using them.
Chemicals in plastic
When a plastic container is overused and is used to store heated milk, the chemicals present in the plastic start releasing into the breast milk you stored in it. As a result, the chemicals in the plastic are absorbed into the milk, which the baby then consumes.
These chemicals namely, BPA and phthalates, have been linked to many health-related issues, causing further problems such as cancer.
Many plastic containers are now being released in the market that guarantees they’re BPA-free. However, there are still other harmful chemicals present.
We all know how single-use plastic is a significant problem and concern for our environment. This is the most harmful kind of plastic as people throw it away after one use.
Any plastic takes hundreds to thousands of years to disintegrate. Even then, it doesn’t go anywhere and comes to bite us back in the form of microplastic.
Storing breast milk in eco-friendly containers will eliminate the use of these plastic containers, and you would be contributing to a healthier lifestyle for your child.
Eco-friendly containers for storing breast milk
After discussing why you shouldn’t be using plastic containers to store your breast milk, the next step is to look at various eco-friendly options.
See which one would suit your personal needs and requirements.
Glass bottle or mason jars
Both of them are great ways to store your breast milk in the most eco-friendly way possible. You can even buy BPA-free lids for an easy and quick way to make breast milk drinkable directly.
They are a great way to store your breast milk, but make sure to leave some space as your milk will expand when refrigerated.
They might have some slight drawbacks such as they are heavy and can only be used at your home, that is they aren’t travel friendly.
Also, they need space and can make your fridge heavy. But in the longer run, they can be used as much as you want after washing them again and again and won’t harm the environment in any possible way.
Silicone storage bags
Silicone storage bags are becoming increasingly popular these days amongst new mothers. They are gaining popularity because of their easy-to-store and travel design. In addition, these bags are not rigid like glass containers and can be stored lying down.
They can store up to 6-8 ounces of your breast milk and save a lot of space, even if you store milk in several containers.
Not just milk, you can even store dry or semi-liquid food for your child in these containers once their breastfeeding days are gone for good.
Although they’re a little wobbly, they can be reused again and again by washing.
Silicone ice tray
This might be something completely new for you, but it works wonders, especially when you have extra pumped out breast milk nowhere to store. There might be situations or times when some of your breast milk is left out.
Instead of throwing the extra milk away, it would be nice to fill the silicone ice tray with it and let it freeze.
This frozen breast milk can definitely be used when traveling somewhere far or when your regular, stored batches are finished, and you can’t pump out milk.
They are also easy to measure as one cube might be around one ounce, and you can take as much as you think is needed.
Breast milk temprature and storage
|Warm/room temperature (61-80 F, 16-32 C)||2-4 hours|
|Refrigerator (32-39 F, 0-4 C)||up to 4 days|
|Freezer (<39 F, <4C)||6 months|
|Deep freeze (0 F, -18 C)||up to 12 months|
|Thawed, previously frozen milk stored in the fridge||up to 24 hours|
Tips to remember
- Remember to let the frozen ice cubed breast milk thaw before taking it with you outside. Just transfer it to the refrigerator from the freezer and let it thaw overnight or for a few hours, as you see fit.
- Never refreeze the thawed milk again.
- Try to use the stored breast milk in a day or two, as it loses nutrients over time.
- Always mention the dates on the containers when the milk was put in storage.
- If you don’t have time to wait for thawing to be done overnight, place the ice cubes in a bottle, close it, and put it in a bowl of warm water to speed up the process.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you store breast milk in mason jars?
When it comes to storing breast milk in mason jars, it is eco-friendly and a great way to store more milk than plastic containers.
These jars can be washed and used again and again, and once your baby is done needing your breast milk, they can be used for other purposes.
Can you store breast milk in bottles with nipples and caps?
You can store breast milk in various containers such as mason jars, silicone containers, and even freezing them in silicone trays. The only thing you need to take care of is the lid, which should be airtight.
You can find screw lids for mason jars. The silicone containers already come with excellent sealing in themselves.
Can I mix 2 breast milk?
Never mix breast milk from two different days together. Instead, keep a check of the dates you’re pumping, and make sure you mark them on the containers.
Another thing to bear in mind is never to mix warm milk with cold milk. When you combine two different kinds of milk, they should be at the same temperature.
Can I put breast milk back in the fridge after the baby drinks from it?
If you are reusing stored breast milk from the refrigerator and your baby cannot finish all of it, you can use it within the next 2 hours. After which, you should discard it.
So, take out the quantity you think your baby will finish so you don’t waste breast milk.
Plastic containers seem like an affordable and more accessible option to choose from, but they come at the cost of harming the environment and your baby’s health in the longer run. If you end up using plastic containers, it’s even more harmful.
If you store warm milk in it, the chemicals in plastic will start making their way into the milk.
Even if you were using plastic containers now, now is the right time to shift to eco-friendly options for the environment’s sake and become more conscious of your surroundings.