How Long Does Breast Milk Last In The Fridge?

How Long Does Breast Milk Last In The Fridge?

Do you know how long does breast milk last in he fridge and at room temperature? Let’s find out!

Breast milk is considered the most nutritious diet for a newborn baby. Not only is breast milk clean and accessible, but it also contains natural antibodies that protect children against many different diseases.

According to the World Health Organization recommendation, a newborn child should be breastfed from birth until two years. This shows that breast milk is essential for a newborn baby, and parents should ensure a smooth supply for their children.

Having breastmilk always at the ready is a difficult task for many parents. This is primarily because of busy routines with work, gym, classes, and many different activities proving to be a big obstacle.

The good news is that you can store breast milk for future use. However, you need to follow the proper procedures and methods so that the milk doesn’t go bad. We have created a detailed guideline that will help you understand exactly how you can store the breastmilk.

Can I store breast milk in the fridge?

Storing breast milk

Breastmilk can be stored in the fridge after it has been expressed. Storing breastmilk in the fridge is the easiest and most accessible option for a large number of people.

It is important to note that you should use the correct container when storing breastmilk. It is not advisable to use bags or contaminated containers, which can prove harmful for the child.

Always use approved storage bags or food-grade containers to store the breastmilk in the fridge.

It is also important to label the breastmilk clearly by writing in legible writing or using a sticker, especially if there are multiple house members.

How long does breast milk last in the fridge?

How long does breast milk last in the fridge

Breastmilk can last up to eight days in the fridge at a temperature of 32 to 39 Fahrenheit.

It is always preferable to use breast milk within four days. It retains its nutritional value, which translates to better nutrition for the child.

You should also avoid keeping the breastmilk in the door to protect it from temperature changes when the door opens and closes.

It goes without saying that you should use the earlier stored breastmilk first before moving on to the latest supply.

How long can breast milk be frozen?

Frozen breast milk

Apart from storing the breastmilk in the fridge, you can also keep the breastmilk in a freezer.

Breastmilk can last up to twelve months when frozen at 0-degree Fahrenheit. However, it is preferable to use frozen breastmilk within 6 months to maximize the nutritional value and avoid expiry risks.

Breastmilk should ideally be frozen in breastmilk bags that are made explicitly for this purpose.

You can store breastmilk in small amounts, such as two ounces or four ounces. It is recommended not to fill the bags completely as breastmilk expands when frozen. 

As with storing in a fridge, you should keep breastmilk towards the back end of the freezer to protect it from temperature changes.

You should also clearly label and date each bag to use it in the correct order. You can also store breastmilk in a deep freezer with a temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Placing the container at the back end of the deep freezer is advisable to protect the milk from temperature changes. Breastmilk in a deep freezer can also last up to 12 months from the day it is frozen.

How long is breast milk good for at room temperature?

How long is breast milk good for at room temperature

Breastmilk can stay good for six to eight hours at room temperature, given an average temperature of around 77 Degree Fahrenheit or 23 degrees Celsius.

It is advisable to use it within four hours to avoid any risks of expiry or contamination. Suppose you live in a warmer climate or the room temperature is invariably higher.

In that case, you should not store breastmilk for even as little as four hours. A quick alternate would be to keep it in the fridge or freezer. However, if it’s not available, you can seal the bag or container and keep a cold towel to cool down its temperature.

Can freezing breast milk take away quality?

Effects of freezing breastmilk are a common topic among researchers and doctors. It has been observed that there is a decline in fats and antioxidants after the breastmilk is frozen.

However, breastmilk is still a way better solution than using formula milk. This is primarily because breastmilk has antibodies that are essential for a healthy child.

Breast milk stored in the fridge has more anti-infective properties than breast milk frozen in the freezer.

Can I thaw breast milk and heat it up? How to do it?

There are several ways to thaw milk that is frozen. You can run the frozen milk under hot water to thaw it effectively.

Conversely, you can also leave it in the refrigerator overnight to unfreeze.

You can also place the container or bag in lukewarm water and leave it to thaw.

You can heat up the breastmilk by placing it in warm water for a few minutes or placing a hot towel around the container. It is strictly not allowed to use a microwave to heat up the milk. It loses good bacteria and nutrients and can even become harmful for the baby.

Please note that once the milk is thawed, you should never refreeze it.

If your child leaves some of the thawed milk, you should throw it away rather than storing it for later use. Once thawed, the breastmilk should be fed to the child within two hours.

In case the two hours pass, you should throw the milk away. Thawed milk may have a distinct smell which is because of an enzyme called lipase. You don’t need to worry as the milk is still good to be fed.

How to store breast milk correctly?

Storing breast milk correctly is essential to retain its nutritional value and ensure it remains beneficial for the baby.

As discussed above, you can store breast milk at room temperature, in the fridge, and even in the freezer, depending on availability and accessibility.

A few steps that you should remember when storing breast milk are listed below:

  • You should also wash your hands with soap or an alcoholic sanitizer.
  • You should ensure that the containers you use are either made of glass or certified plastic. Please clean all containers thoroughly with hot water and soap before and after using them.
  • If you are using a breast pump to store milk, please make sure it is clean and sterile.
  • Store the breast milk in the far end of the fridge or freezer to avoid temperature changes.
  • You can use insulated coolers to store your breast milk for up to 24 hours with ice chips or ice packs.

Final tips and tricks

Breast milk

Breastmilk’s properties protect newborn children from many diseases, including respiratory infections, asthma, and diarrhea. It is also essential to store the breastmilk correctly to use it at a later stage.

While breastfeeding is always preferred over storing breastmilk, sometimes it is simply not possible. The next best alternative is to store breastmilk rather than using milk formula for newborn babies.

While breastmilk at room temperature is only suitable for 24 hours, you can freeze it for later use for up to 12 months. After reading this detailed guide, you can confidently store breastmilk correctly and fulfill your child’s nutritional needs!

So, do you already know how long does breast milk last in the fridge and at room temperature? Feel free to leave your comments below!

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