It is inevitable (usually when you return to work after maternity leave) that you’ll have to store the breast milk you pump for a day or two. The most popular way to store your pumped breastmilk is in plastic bottles, but there are some advantages to using glass mason jars instead.
I used mason jars for storing fresh milk when I returned to work. If you’re like most moms, the idea of storing your precious breastmilk is daunting. You want to do it right.
Mason jars are easy to get hold of, but are they a good option for storing your breast milk? This article will help you decide on whether to use these handy glass containers.
Can You Store Breast Milk in Mason Jars?
Yes, you can store your breast milk in mason jars. I’ll run through the advantages in a moment, but the most important thing (as with plastic bottles and all other baby bottles) is sterilization.
Always sterilize your jars before use. If you’re using Mason jars, hot water sterilization is all that’s needed for them to be safe and bacteria-free.
You can also sterilize mason jars by placing them in boiling water for ten minutes, but the easiest way is to run them through a dishwasher cycle. Even though you’re using mason jars for storing your breast milk, it’s still not recommended that you clean them with harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.
Mason Jar Advantages for Storing Breast Milk
There are a number of advantages in choosing mason jar storage over plastic containers:
- Glass doesn’t leach chemicals into food or drinks – this makes it a great option for storing breast milk. If you’re worried about plastic, glass is the way to go.
- They’re freezable (in theory, see my later comments), dishwasher safe, and can be sterilized easily
- You can see how much you have (many mason jars have markings on the side), which is great for avoiding waste and making sure you’re not pumping too much or too little.
- You can pump directly into your jars if you want, so there’s no need to transfer milk between containers (no risk of spilling!). This saves time when it comes to sterilizing bottles after each use.
- The wide-mouth jars are easy to fill – this makes them perfect if you’re using a pump that creates quite large volumes at a time (such as a hospital-grade pump). You won’t waste any precious breast milk.
- The glass jars are often cheaper than plastic bottles, and more environmentally friendly – you can use them again and again without wasting resources. As someone who is trying to cut down on waste and plastic usage, this is a big plus!
- Mason jars are easy to clean – this makes them perfect for storing pumped breast milk. Plastic bottles can be awkward to clean, especially if you’re trying to get into the smaller mouths.
- They tend to be made from sturdy, thick glass, so are harder to break.
- Mason Jars are stackable, making them a space-saver and perfect if you have limited storage. Breast milk storage bags can’t be stacked, or this makes them leak (masonbottles.com)
- Jars and Mason bottles are sold everywhere and are easy to get hold of.
- There’s a mason bottle attachment so the jar becomes the bottle itself – another way to cut down on buying extra items.
When you’re ready to feed your baby, just pour the milk into a sterilized bottle and warm it as usual. If you’re using a Mason bottle, just screw on the teat attachment and use the same bottle for feeding.
Can You Freeze Breast Milk in Mason or Glass Jars?
You could freeze breast milk in mason jars, since frozen milk is really convenient. However, since mason bottles and jars are not made from tempered glass, there’s a risk of them breaking, either when they thaw out due to the temperature change, or when the milk expands as it freezes.
Pyrex is a brand that does make tempered glass bottles, so these are a better choice if you want to freeze breast milk in glass bottles or jars.
Plastic bottles are the best option for freezing breast milk, so if you have a lot of storage space, this might be an easier way to go!
Whether you’re using glass or plastic in the freezer, always check that the container is “freezer safe” or “freezer-grade”. This ensures that they can withstand the extreme temperatures of your freezer.
If you’re unsure, ask your local supermarket or health store where you buy your supplies. They should be able to tell you whether the product will work well in your freezer.
To recap – yes, you can store breast milk in Mason jars and I found them super useful when I was pumping and breastfeeding. They have their pros and cons compared with other storage containers but if that’s what you already happen to have at home then they are perfect for storing some extra milk for a day or two.
Storing breast milk in Mason jars is nothing new – the actress Olivia Wilde made headlines when she showed pictures of doing just that with her newborn!
Hope that helps you to decide! Best of luck with breastfeeding. It’s great knowing your milk is safe and sound in a jar.