How long does breast milk last in the fridge?
Breast milk is the number one food recommended by doctors for babies. It’s also a great source of nutrients and antibodies for babies and mothers. But there are some instances when it may be necessary to store breast milk and here we will discuss how long does breast milk last in the fridge or freezer.
According to the WHO, breast milk should be stored at 4°C or below. This can be done by placing it in a refrigerator or freezer.
However, if you are storing breastmilk at room temperature, it should be stored in an insulated container with ice packs to keep it cool.
If you store your breast milk in a sterile container and refrigerate it right away after pumping, then your milk will last about four to seven days. But if you store it in a non-sterile container or after pumping outside of the refrigerator then your milk will last about two to five days.
Shelf Life Of Breast Milk At Different Temperatures
Breast Milk At Room Temperature
- Store the breast milk that has been freshly expressed at room temperature for up to six hours.
- However, if the atmosphere is warm, it’s best to utilize or carefully preserve the breast milk within four hours.
- You can store freshly expressed breastmilk in a refrigerator with ice packs for one day.
Breast Milk In The Fridge
- Refrigerate or refrigerate milk as soon as possible after it has been expressed. You can keep the freshly expressed milk at room temperature (up to 25°C) for 4 hours, but it’s preferable to refrigerate it right once.
- You can store breast milk at the back of the refrigerator (at 39F or 4 degrees Celsius). Breast milk should be used within four days of being refrigerated, although you can keep it for up to eight days.
- Place the bottle in a dish of warm water or run it under warm water to thaw breast milk from the refrigerator. Because of the danger of burning your infant with hot milk, microwaving breast milk is not recommended.
Breast Milk In The Freezer
- If the milk you wish to add has been chilled in the fridge beforehand, you can add it to previously frozen breast milk. You should not mix frozen milk with body-temperature milk.
- Store your milk in small batches for quicker thawing and less wastage (less than 60 ml).
- Check to see if you can freeze your breast milk storage containers — glass bottles might break at extremely low temperatures.
- Because breast milk grows when frozen, don’t fill bottles or bags more than three-quarters full.
- You should keep frozen breast milk at the rear of the freezer, where the temperature is most stable. Please keep it away from the freezers’ walls.
- You may freeze the breastmilk for up to 9 months if kept in a refrigerator with a separate freezer (0°F or 18°C) and for up to 12 months in the deep freezer.
Breast Milk After Thawing
- Use breast milk within 24 hours of thawing it.
- Begin counting the 24 hours from the moment the breast milk is thawed completely.
- Use breast milk within 2 hours of bringing it to room temperature or warming it.
Breast Milk Storage Methods
Here is a guide on how to store breast milk in fridge:
- Breastmilk storage can be done using a variety of containers. The most popular containers are bags, bottles, and jars.
- Bottles and jars are both closed containers while bags keep the milk in close contact with air (which may cause spoilage).
- A general rule is to store breastmilk in a fresh, clean container that has been washed with hot water and soap before use.
Steps For Warming Breast Milk
When breastfeeding is not an option, it is important to know how to warm breast milk so that it matches the temperature of what would have come from the breast.
There is a variety of ways to warm breast milk from the fridge and the best way to find out which one suits you and your baby is by doing a few experiments.
- The most common way is by using a microwave. Put the bottle in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds, shake it around for 10-15 seconds after it’s done, then test if its consistency is right for your baby.
- Another popular method is heating up water in a pot or kettle and then submerging the milk bottle in it. Use hot water because cold water won’t be able to heat up milk quickly enough.
Points To Remember About Storing Breast Milk
- Parents may wonder whether warmed breast milk can be refrigerated again. The answer is yes, as long as the temperature of the milk is cooled to 2 degrees Celsius using a fridge, freezer, or ice water before it’s placed in the refrigerator.
- Breast milk is a “live” food that can’t be frozen or stored at room temperature for too long without spoilage. It’s best to keep the milk at a cool temperature for up to six hours before refrigerating it, but after four hours of being out, you should discard the milk.
- A person should never put breast milk in the refrigerator if it has been warmed up at room temperature.
- If it is still too hot, then a person should put some cold water in a bowl and place the bottle of breast milk in this bowl of cold water until it is cool enough to be stored in the fridge.