Hey all you mamas looking for zero waste, non toxic breast milk storage. You may see those flimsy bags and wonder, “why use breast milk storage bags for my liquid gold when they’re made of plastic?” Plastic bags create waste and are made from chemicals that can leach into the products they’re holding. This is, unfortunately, especially true when they are warmed up.
When I was pregnant I felt overwhelmed by the lack of non-toxic breast milk storage options on the market. It seemed like everyone I knew, even the crunchy mamas, were using regular plastic bags. My baby arrived 2 weeks early and I STILL didn’t have any breast milk storage planned. I didn’t think I needed it because I wasn’t planning to pump at all until I went back to work. I was very wrong. It turns out I had an oversupply of breast milk, and would collect 2-3 ounces using the haaka (highly recommend this thing!) every time I fed my son. At first I was just throwing it away because I didn’t know what to do with it, but a friend of mine had some extra plastic storage bags and she generously gave me a bunch.
“Aren’t you worried about the plastic leaching into the breast milk?” I asked her because she’s one of my non-tox BFFs and wouldn’t roll her eyes at me. “I think this is a case where you have to weigh the risks and benefits and I’m not too worried about it.” Totally valid point. It’s much better to use breast milk stored in plastic bags than to use no breast milk at all!
But I still wanted to pursue zero waste and non-toxic breast milk storage and found some great options that I share below!
Why use zero waste and non toxic breast milk storage?
Simple. It’s better for baby and it’s better for the planet. Did you know that a study found over 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood of 10 tested babies? Since babies already get here with a high toxic burden, we should do our best to limit their exposure to more chemicals where we can. As if that’s not enough, plastic waste is clogging up landfills, blocking drains, polluting waterways and contributing to biodiversity loss. When we use reusable and non toxic storage containers, it’s a big win for the planet!
Is it more expensive to use zero waste and non toxic breast milk storage?
YES. A regular milk storage bag runs around $15 for 100.
The methods I share cost $30 or approximately $100+, but they can be reused for other things while raising your baby.
So, what do I use for zero waste and non toxic breast milk storage?
Method #1 (($$)
This method utilizes silicone ice cube trays. I learned about this from a close friend of mine who did it when her baby was little. Each ice cube holds 1 oz of breast milk. Every time I’m done pumping, I pour my milk into this ice tray and stick it back in the freezer. Once the ice tray is full, I transfer the milk to a large tupperware or large silicone bag. You could also use a gallon size ziplock bag because you only use it to freeze, not to thaw, and less chemicals are transferred when items are frozen.
Pro: You can pull out a couple cubes at a time and only thaw what you need, and the silicone molds can be reused when you’re done breastfeeding to freeze purees when baby starts solids
Con: breast milk is sticky and it’s kind of a pain to get the milk cubes out
Method #2 ($$$)
The second method is to buy silicone breast milk storage bags. These silicone plastic bags are the same size as average breast milk storage bags but they are made of non-toxic silicone instead of plastic!
Pro: when you’re done using these as breast milk storage bags they will make awesome zero waste snack bags!
Con: they’re really expensive and you need a lot if you have an oversupply issue
Which breast milk storage is best?
It’s up to you. Both of them are safe for you and for your baby. I really like that you can thaw small amounts of milk with the silicone cubes. The silicone bags are nice because you can just dump it in there and not worry about plopping them out. The bags are definitely the best option for moms with limited time!
How long can I store breast milk in non toxic containers?
Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored: At room temperature (77°F or colder) for up to 4 hours. In the refrigerator for up to 4 days. In the freezer for about 6 months is best; up to 12 months is acceptable.
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