Storing Breast Milk in Glass Containers

A few months ago I posted a personal reflection, “Breast milk Meltdown” about how after storing a whole month’s supply of breast milk diligently for my son, it was all ruined in an instant.

Since that post, I have received quite a few questions in regards to the type of glass containers I used, tips, tricks and so on.  So I wanted to consolidate my advice into one post, in case there are other mommas out there wondering the same things.

Glass Container Information:

You can store breast milk in any freezer safe glass jars, however I prefer to use 125ml {4.2 oz} canning jars, like the Ball Quilted Jelly Canning Jar 4 Oz (Pack of 12)

Storage Portion Size

125ml is the perfect portion size for freezing breast milk.  You do not want to thaw too much breast milk and have it go to waste, because if your baby does not consume all of the thawed milk, you will have to throw it out.  Thawed breast milk CANNOT be refrozen!  Therefore this small size is ideal.  If your baby finishes the entire contents of the bottle and is still looking for more, you can quickly and easily thaw another jar of milk.

Thawing Frozen Breast Milk in Glass Containers

There are several ways of thawing breast milk that has been frozen in a glass container.

(1) Leave the glass jar on the counter to thaw.  1-2 hours.

(2) Place the glass jar in the fridge to thaw.  Several hours up to 1 day.

(3) Place the glass jar in warm water to thaw.  10-20 minutes.

**NEVER THAW FROZEN BREAST MILK IN THE MICROWAVE!**

Helpful Extras:

Breast Milk Freezing Time Guidelines

Freezer inside the fridge: 2 weeks.

* Self-contained freezer: 3-4 months.

* Deep-freeze: 6-12 months.

Reusing Glass Mason Jars

One of the best parts about using these glass containers for storing breast milk, is that once your little one is no longer nursing, or if you have some spare jars laying around, you can use them for baby food!  Same as with the breast milk portion size, the 125ml jar is perfect to store small quantities of baby food.  Your little one will probably eat anywhere from 1-2 jars of baby food per feeding, and this way you can easily quantify just how much food they have consumed.

Night Weaning Baby J {and a confession}

Before I go on with the night weaning story, I must confess that I secretly never wanted to breastfeed and definitely never thought that I would still be breastfeeding baby J at 6 months.  But kids have a funny way of changing you entirely the minute that they are born.  Any preconceived idea that I had about breastfeeding and childrearing in general flew out the window the second I heard Johannes cry for the first time.

I thought I would be a momma who would give her baby bottles, and be able to let him cry-it-out.  But instead I am a giant pile of mush.  I secretly love breastfeeding my son…especially at night {he’s so sleepy and less fidgety than during the day}.  And I hate to hear him cry, even for just a minute…which brings me to the problems at hand.

Baby J started out amazing!  He was sleeping 5-6hour stretches from the day that he was born.  By 1 month he was sleeping through the night.  Then the 3 month milestone rolled around and it all changed. 

Suddenly my baby boy started waking up at 2am for milk.  I would hear the little whimper from his room, instantly run in there, pick him up and nurse.  He would fall asleep in my arms and then I would gently put him back down in his crib, and he would sleep again until 6am.  Both my husband and I attributed this sudden desire to nurse, as being due to a growth spurt. 

But in the past 3 months it sort of felt like he was going through a “growth spurt” every day!  The 2 am feed became not enough for my little chompers, and he started also getting up at 5am.  And after weeks and weeks of this, I am EXHAUSTED!   Waking up every couple of hours is just plain draining, especially when I’m also working full time {albeit from home some days}.

Its just so hard to know when he is really hungry and when he is not.  And I feel awful letting him cry, or with holding food if he really needs it.

So this weekend we spoke with our Pediatrician and she reassured us that he is quite capable of sleeping through the night, and the pattern that he is showing is due to habit and a desire to be comforted, rather than a need for nutrition.

Thus begins NIGHT WEANING…

The Strategy

When baby J cries, I would go in, rub his back and “SHUSH” him back to sleep. {do this for a few days} – I wouldn’t pick him up and I wouldn’t nurse.

After a few days when he wakes up and cries I would go in, and “SHUSH” loudly without picking him up or rubbing his back.

After a few more days, when he would wake up to cry I would “SHUSH” from the doorway of his room, but wouldn’t go in and wouldn’t touch him.

So here is how we are doing.

Night 1:

Baby J woke up as usual at 2am and cried.  I ran in there, turned on his lullaby machine, turned him on his side {his fave}, put the soother back in and rubbed his back while “SHUSHING” loudly.

After a few minutes of whimpering he fell asleep again.

At 4am he cried again.  This time he cried on and off every 10minutes for an HOUR!  I did the shushing and stroking at first, but by 4:30am I was picking him up and rocking because I couldn’t get him to calm donw.  Then at 5 am I couldn’t take it anymore.  I’d been awake for an hour  and was feeling so awful for him.  I figured it had been 8 hours since he’d last ate so I nursed him…but he was wide awake after that and didn’t want to go back down.

The result after the first night:  a very tired and cranky momma, and a very tired and cranky baby J.  I felt proud that I made it through the 2am feeding milestone, but not sure if the 5am nurse did more damage that maybe sat us back again.

This is really hard, let me tell you!

Beautiful Miranda Kerr {Celeb Babies}

As a breastfeeding momma myself, I just LOVE these natural photos of Miranda Kerr breastfeeding her baby boy Finn.  They are so lovely and pure.  I want to just say a big “YEY” to all the other BFing momma’s and babies out there!  Its such a natural, organic and healthy way to feed your baby, and we should all remember to celebrate it just a little bit!

xoxo

{Image via Babes with Babies}

{Image via Babes with Babies}

Reflections of Motherhood – Breast Milk Meltdown

Yesterday morning’s events showed me unequivocally that I am no longer the person I was a year ago or even 5 months ago for that matter, but I think I should start at the beginning.

Imagine that from the first day you brought your baby home you began diligently pumping and freezing stores of breast milk, with the goal of having an extra month of milk available to your baby for when you were no longer breast feeding.  Imagine that you lovingly pump, bottle, label and freeze the little  jars every couple of days…you mom’s out there know how much “extra” milk there  is to actually store once your son or daughter is finished eating  for the day.  Imagine that you’ve stored up 3 weeks worth of milk already, and have another week to go before you reach your goal.  Now imagine waking up on a Saturday morning, going downstairs to your kitchen, finding your freezer door open, and all of the freezer contents…including the breast milk….completely thawed out!  OMG DISASTER!

This is exactly how my Saturday morning started yesterday, completely overshadowing the fact that my 3 month old son had slept 12 hours with only 1 feeding break.  Overshadowing how amazingly rested I was, and how incredibly happy I was to have a healthy happy little smiling peanut in my arms.  I broke down hysterically crying right then in the kitchen, because as all other breast feeding mom’s out there  know, pumping and storing that much milk is a real labour of love.  Also once breast milk is thawed out it needs to be consumed right away and cannot be refrozen.  So I only had 2 choices:  throw 3 weeks worth of breast milk out, or have my baby boy guzzle down ounce after ounce like he was at a fraternity keg party doing shot guns.

After hours of crying and researching online to see if anything was salvageable, I finally decided that in the best interests of my son’s health it was wise to throw out all the milk.  However, I did not have the strength to do this myself, so I had to make my husband do it while I held my son and tried to hold it all together instead of breaking down like I wanted to.

So what did this whole episode teach me?  Well, I realized that I am no longer the rational, composed human being that I once was.  I am now a mother, who has a mental meltdown over breast milk, but I would not change it for the world.

thawed breast milk in my freezer, my son's face in shock