There are several types of containers specially designed for this purpose on the market: bags and containers, of which we will see the pros and cons below. On top of that, you can also use containers that, although they have not been created to store breastmilk, are perfectly suitable for this purpose.
Containers that are not specific
If a container was not directly intended to hold breastmilk, it should meet the following requirements:
- It should have a wide opening to make cleaning easier and avoid rests of milk that could be a source of contamination. You don’t need to sterilize them.
- If they are made of plastic, they must be for food use. You will know this because, on the bottom of the container, you will see the “food safe” symbol: a fork and spoon. This symbol assures you that the plastic used to make the container is safe.
- Glass jars can be used as long as the screw to close them is free of any signs of rusting.
Indeed, you will find some containers in your kitchen that meet the above standards, and some may surprise you, such as freezer bags for food or bags to make homemade ice cubes. These bags are cheaper than specific breastmilk storage bags, and when it comes to defrosting, they allow you to use the exact amount (in the form of ice cubes) that you think your baby might need, and it avoids wasting milk. But these bags are unsuitable for microwave or hot water defrosting. So, to heat breastmilk, you need to pierce the bag, remove the milk cubes and heat them in another container.
Do not use the little viles used for urine analysis to store your breastmilk. They have been used for this purpose in the past, but they are not recommended because the plastic used to make them is not for food use and because the products used to sterilize them are toxic.
Several brands manufacture specific containers and bags for milk storage; you can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Pros and cons of dedicated containers:
- They are designed specifically for breastmilk.
- Most bottles and bags adapt to the breast pump of the same brand, making it easy to refrigerate or freeze the milk.
- They are often recyclable.
- Depending on the type chosen, they can take up less space in the fridge or freezer.
- They are reliable: the bags are usually double-layered, and the bottles are easy to screw and avoid spilling milk.
- They include a space so you can write the date of pumping.
- They are more expensive than other multipurpose containers.
- The bags are for single use only, so you must keep buying them.
- You cannot always combine products from different brands, and you should always buy products from the same manufacturer to be compatible.
- They usually hold a lot of capacity for large quantities of milk, but it is better to freeze in as small quantities as possible.
Do you want to find out more about pumping or expressing breastmilk?