How Long Does Breast Milk Last in the Fridge and Other Vital Facts

How Long Does Breast Milk Last in the Fridge and Other Vital Facts
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It has long been proven that a mother’s milk delivers by far and away the best nutrients into a baby’s body.

Although formula milks are packed with numerous supplements, nothing can beat natural breast milk. A mother’s milk is a powerhouse of antibodies and anti-infective agents complete with its own natural source of vitamins and minerals.

​However, with the advent of increasing numbers of working moms, along came the need to store breast milk. This is especially important since more mothers than ever nowadays appreciate the value of their own milk in nourishing their young.

  • ​Here are some helpful tips to ponder if you are one of those modern mothers who believe in the tried-and-true method of feeding their babies.

How To Properly Store Breast Milk?

How To Properly Store Breast Milk?

  • ​First and foremost, mothers should always clean their hands before touching anything that will be used for their babies. This advice specifically includes expressing milk from their breasts to store it. You can find ways to express milk in plenty of videos online too.
  • ​Remember to clean your breast pumps and also your nipples. Use sterilized plastic bottles, bags or pouches to store your milk. As much as possible, if you are going out keep the milk stored at 25 degrees Celsius or lower. Also, be sure the baby does not go longer than six hours without being fed. After that period of time, the milk will start to spoil.

Refrigerating or Freezing Breast Milk

Refrigerating or Freezing Breast Milk

Storing expressed milk can be done in a number of ways.

However, if you are planning to save some for a few days of use, it’s best to place the milk inside the fridge. You will need lots of sterilized bags or pouches to store your milk, particularly if you have to freeze it. Plastic feeding bottles can also work but not in freezing.

Note: Always remember not to fill up the container too much as liquid expands when it’s frozen. Avoid any unwanted spillage.

  • ​Five days is the maximum length of time freshly expressed milk can be safely refrigerated. Store it at a temperature of four degrees Celsius and be sure to place the bags of milk at the rear portion of the fridge where it is coldest. If you have to take the stored milk out for a longer period of time and wish it to be cooled, you can store the milk in a cooler with bags of ice.
  • ​Freezing breast milk is recommended in cases where you want your milk to be stored for longer than five days. If you need to stash it for two weeks, freezing is the smartest option. Again, do not overfill the container.

​Please be reminded that freezing breast milk leads to reducing the strength of its anti-infective properties but is still much better in this regard than milk formulas.

​In cases where a mother might be separated from her baby for a more prolonged stint, breast milk should be placed in a big freezer at 16 degrees Celsius. It can stay in good condition for a maximum of six months.

​Be aware, too, that the longer breast milk is stored, the more its ability to fight bacteria is diminished.

​Defrosting and Refreezing Breast Milk

Defrosting and Refreezing Breast Milk

Frozen milk should be defrosted inside the fridge for at least twelve hours. If you are in a hurry to feed your baby, let it cool down under running water then place onto a bowl of warm water. 

Feed the milk to your baby as soon as the milk is totally defrosted. Refreezing breast milk is not advisable as the nutrients will be completely lost and, as such, it will no longer be beneficial for the baby.

​How Many Times Can Breast Milk Be Reheated?

How Many Times Can Breast Milk Be Reheated?

  • Stored breast milk can be reheated as long as it doesn’t smell or tastes spoiled. However, it is always best to use your maternal instinct when it comes to feeding your baby with leftover milk. There are certain bacteria that will accumulate once the milk comes into contact with the baby’s saliva.
  • Though bacteria grows slower in breast milk than in formula, it is still advised that you ensure optimum safety of the milk your baby will ingest by pouring enough breast milk so that your baby can take on board each bottle or feeding cup so as to prevent any being left over.
  • ​Each time milk is reheated, it loses some of its beneficial nutrients and antibacterial properties.

​How Long Can Warmed Breast Milk Sit Out?

How Long Can Warmed Breast Milk Sit Out?

Warming breast milk means reheating the milk in a bottle that has been refrigerated under lukewarm water. It should be fed to the baby within 2 hours for the warmness to be enjoyed.

However, it is still OK to be used even up to 6 hours. For safety measures, discard any leftovers immediately because popping it back into the refrigerator is not a wise idea. Put your baby’s health uppermost.

​Can Breast Milk Be Reheated In a Microwave?

  • It is suggested never to reheat breast milk in a microwave. The heat destroys all the important nutrients and contained in the milk. The best way to do it is pour the milk into a bottle and soak the bottle in a basin of hot (but not boiled) water. In this way, the milk can be warmed up very easily.

Read more: Best Bottle Warmer Reviews 2017

Feeding Babies With Cold Breast Milk

Feeding Babies With Cold Breast Milk

Cold defrosted milk can be fed to your baby if they are already accustomed to drinking it that way. Try using it as a form of beverage when the baby is already starting to eat. Drinking cold milk may cause stomach aches or gas pain if the tummy is still empty, especially if the baby has just got up from sleeping.


We hope that this overview of the common issues with breast milk has been informative.

If you have any queries then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

​Remember: if you can feed your baby in this way, you’ll be giving them the best start possible in life.

Hi there, I’m Mary, editor at My Mommy Guide. I want to help make every step of the journey with your new baby easier. My goal is to inform you about as wide a range of subjects related to newborns as possible. Whether you are a new mother or the parents of several kids, this site aims to cater for all. Although there are no rules for being a parent, there is certainly plenty of sound practice. I will bring you ongoing, fresh content and always encourage your feedback. Welcome to our site!
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