Glass Bottles and Containers for Breast Milk Storage

Information, Tips, and Three Food and Freezer-Safe Products to Try

If you are pumping and storing your breast milk, you have a few choices when it comes to the type of container to use to store your milk. You'll want to make that decision based on the amount of breast milk you'll be storing and how long you plan to store it. As long as the container is clean, food-safe, and meets your storage needs, you can pick the one that you prefer to use. Here you can find some information and tips for using glass bottles and containers for breast milk storage.

The Pros and Cons of Glass Breast Milk Storage

Glass bottles and containers are always a good choice especially for long-term breast milk storage in the freezer. Since glass bottles and jars are stronger than plastic breast milk storage bags, you can wash and reuse them. So, they're not only environmentally friendly, but they can save you money in the long run. However, glass containers can be dangerous since they're more likely to break and shatter when compared to hard plastic storage containers or breast milk storage trays. As you can see, using glass containers to store your breast milk has advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of using glass over other types of breast milk storage containers.

The Pros:

  • Glass containers are environmentally friendly. Since you don't throw them away after each use, there's less plastic waste going into the garbage and the landfills. 
     
  • Glass bottles are reusable and economical. It may seem more expensive at first because your initial investment in glass bottles will cost more than plastic storage bags. But, since you'll be using them again and again, over time they will save you money. In contrast, you will have to continue to buy plastic storage bags since they are thrown away after each use. Over time, that cost can add up!
     
  • The glass of freezer-safe food storage containers is stronger than plastic, so your breast milk is less likely to leak and spill when it's properly sealed in glass containers. 
     
  • Glass provides better protection against contamination.

The Cons:

  • Glass can be dangerous if it breaks or shatters.
     
  • Glass bottles require some work. Since they are not disposable, you'll have to wash them after each use.
     
  • Glass containers take up more room in the refrigerator or freezer compared to storage bags.
     
  • You have to defrost glass storage containers slowly to prevent the glass from cracking and breaking.

Freezing and Defrosting Breast Milk in Glass Containers

If you're planning to freeze your breast milk in glass bottles or containers, you should be aware that not all glass is freezer-safe. You should not put regular glass baby bottles, baby food jars, or any other glass containers into your freezer unless they are designed to withstand freezing temperatures.

Even freezer-safe glass can break when exposed to temperatures that change quickly, so it's also important to defrost your glass bottles and containers correctly. You want to thaw your glass storage containers very slowly.

How to Safely Fill Glass Containers for Storing Breast Milk in the Freezer

When you're filling glass bottles with your breast milk for storage in the freezer, make sure you don't fill them all the way to the top. Since breast milk expands during the freezing process, if the glass container is too full, it can burst. Instead, fill the bottle 2/3 or 3/4 of the way up to allow for the expansion. Then, seal the bottle with an airtight cap to help protect your breast milk from contamination and odors while it's in the freezer. 

Glass Breast Milk Storage Bottles and Containers You May Want to Try 

If you're considering the use of glass bottles or containers to store your breast milk, choose products that are freezer-safe and specifically designed for the storage of food. Here are three great brands that you may want to try. 

1

Lifefactory glass baby bottles are available in 4-ounce (120 ml) and 9-ounce sizes (250 ml). Made from toxin-free, thermal shock-resistant glass, you can use the same Lifefactory glass bottle to collect, freeze, warm, and feed your baby. These dishwasher safe bottles are covered with a silicone sleeve to provide a better grip and help protect the bottle from breaking should it fall. Each Lifefactory glass bottle comes with a nipple, but you can purchase an additional solid cap for freezing and storing breast milk. They are also bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalate, and PVC free.

2

Wean Green's tempered glass food storage containers are durable and great for storing breast milk or other foods and snacks. The colorful non-toxic lids snap on tight to provide a secure, airtight, leak-proof seal. These containers are bisphenol A (BPA), phthalate, and PVC free, and they stack for easy storage. Available in 4-ounce (120 ml) cubes, 5.1-ounce (150 ml) tubs, 5.6- ounce (165 ml) bowls, 7-ounce (210 ml) snack cubes, and 16.5-ounce (490 ml) lunch cubes, these eco-friendly containers are safe to use in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher.

3

The Ball and Kerr brands of glass preserving jars are food and freezer-safe. They are available in 4-ounce and 8-ounce sizes, so they're great for storing breast milk or baby food. Instead of a wide mouth, these jars have a regular-sized mouth, so it's easier to pour liquids and soft foods into and out of them. Ball and Kerr jars have a two-piece canning lid; however, a plastic storage cap is available (sold separately) and recommended for freezer storage. Ball and Kerr jars are high quality, and once you no longer need them for your baby, they won't go to waste. There are so many other creative ways to use these versatile jars.

 

Sources:

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM clinical protocol# 8: Human milk storage information for home use for full-term infants. Original protocol March 2004; revision# 1 March 2010. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2010;5(3).

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

Riordan, J., and Wambach, K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Fourth Edition. Jones and Bartlett Learning. 2014.

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