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Using Glass For Expressed Milk

We have a minimal-plastic home, so when it came to pumping milk for our little ones, I wanted to find a minimal-plastic option. Ultimately, we decided to go with Ball’s quilted canning jars in the 4 ounce size. These are also called jelly jars.

This little 4 oz size was a good fit for our occasional bottle usage, but the 8 oz size would be great for higher-volume needs. (Locally, check Ace Hardware and Wegmans any time and Walmart during canning season.)

 Quilted jars are different than other glass because they are designed to be freezer-safe. Other glass can get microscopic cracks through freezing and defrosting or even completely shatter. Many folks are fine with freezing food or drink any kind of glass jars, but I wasn’t comfortable with that for breast milk, especially.
I pump into the plastic bottles that came with my Ameda Purely Yours pump and then immediately transfer the milk to a quilted canning jar. (I do have some small glass bottles that fit on my pump, but it makes it too heavy for my super-amazing Made By Moms Pumping Band to support comfortably.)

Once the milk is in the jar, I top it with the typical canning band and lid paired with a piece of unbleached parchment paper or a BPA-free plastic lid, also made by Ball. (Yes, it is plastic. Yes, they are worth it.)

With either kind of lid, it is easy to write the date on the top with a grease pencil or put the date on a piece of tape.

The milk defrosts at a reasonable speed in the fridge or quite quickly when placed in a bowl of hot water.

Best of all, when our nursing days our over, we’re left with something perfectly usable. These little jars are great for packing dry snacks (like nuts or trail mix) or something wet, like yogurt dip for raw veggies.


About More Green for Less Green

Hi, I’m Pamm. Welcome to my little slice of the web! As both a pastor and crunchy homeschooling mom, I’m never quite what anyone expects of me. But, hey, that’s what makes blogging interesting, right? Join me as I try to wholeheartedly parent my three little boys, slowly fix up the trashed foreclosure we bought in 2009, and live simply.

{ 6 comments… add one }

  • Christine L June 25, 2014, 1:45 pm

    How much actual milk did you put in the jars so there was enough room for expansion?
    Thank you!

  • Pamm June 25, 2014, 4:32 pm

    Stopping somewhere between 3/4 full and where the beginning of the lid lip starts worked for me.

  • Andal ed December 28, 2014, 1:06 pm

    This is a very good post, thanks for these awesome info. I am planning to store my breast milk in freezer , bought some mason bpa free jelly jars, do I have to put the parchment paper on top or the lid will work, if so when I ve to change the lids. I saw some one picking up only lids in Wal-Mart, the lady said the lids has to be changed in certain time. Do you know anything, please share. Thanks a million.

  • Andrea July 14, 2015, 8:42 pm

    I am not sure if you are still answering questions about this post…. but I recently purchased the same jars for breast milk freezer storage. I am wondering why you put parchment paper under the lid? Is it because of the BPA? My canning jars came in a package that said “BPA Free”… so do I still need the parchment paper? Also, the plastic lids are nice. Are they air tight or does it matter?

  • Pamm July 15, 2015, 6:24 pm

    Hi, I use the parchment paper when I use the metal lids because they can begin to rust with re-use. -Pamm

  • Andrea July 15, 2015, 6:48 pm

    Great idea. I too noticed the lids wore down easily. Did you have to do anything special to the glass/lids when you froze the jars? Will they keep the milk fresh? I was not sure how air tight they got, especially with the parchment paper in between.

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