Better Safe Than Sorry: How Long Can Refrigerated Breast Milk Sit Out?

Whether you just had your first child, or you are on your third, you have no doubt heard the benefits of breast milk. However, in today’s rush, rush society, sometimes you need to pump, and let me tell you, each drop is precious! That’s why you need to get it in the fridge right away, to keep it fresh. Then you can easily get it out when you need it. But what will happen to it if you get it out of the fridge and don’t use it right away? How long can refrigerated breast milk sit out? Does it spoil right away?

This article will answer these important questions, and provide you with lots of information on pumping and storage options to help keep your milk fresh for the most time possible.

Pumping Options For Breast Milk

To be able to store your breast milk, you will first need to pump it. You can choose from either a manual or electric breast pump.

Manual - A manual breast pump will work best for you if you are on the go and have your hands free. The Medela model works great, though you can only pump one breast at a time.

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Electric - More and more working mothers are opting for an electric pump, like this model, since you can hook yourself up to it and keep working, as long as you have a private office you can hide away in. 

Storage Options For Breast Milk

You have two basic storage options for breast milk. You can either store it in resealable bag or right in the bottle that you pump it into.

Bottles - For short term storage in the fridge, you can simply use these containers that are easily sealed with a twist on cap. They also can be fitted with rubber nipples, meaning you can pump, store, and feed all with the same bottle!

Bags - If you intend to save your breast milk for a longer amount of time, you can transfer it from the bottle to these resealable bags. Just make sure you don’t spill any! You can then seal the bags up and freeze your milk for later use.

How Long Will Breast Milk Last In A Refrigerator?

Once you have expressed your milk and placed it in a refrigerator, you will have anywhere from three to eight days to use it. If you can not feed it to your baby in this timeframe, you should probably freeze it.

How Long Can Refrigerated Breast Milk Sit Out?

Once you have taken your milk out of the fridge, you will need to use it pretty quickly, as it will only stay good for four to six hours. After it has warmed up, you will not be able to put it back in the fridge to cool down again, as bacteria will have been given a chance to grow, making it unsafe for your baby’s sensitive stomach.

How Long Will Breast Milk Last In A Freezer?

If you decide to freeze your breast milk, you will be able to use it for up to a year from the freeze date without it suffering a dip in quality.

How Long Can Frozen Breast Milk Sit Out?

After you have decided to thaw your breast milk after it has been frozen, it follows the same guidelines as the refrigerated milk. You will have to use it within four to six hours, and you CANNOT refreeze it.

What Delicious News!

I know I don’t have to tell you how precious your breast milk is to both you and your baby. It isn’t easy to acquire, so you want to make sure that your child drinks just as much as you pump out.

That is why you need to have a plan before you pump as to what you will do with it. If you are going to feed it to your baby right away, you need to use it within several hours to prevent bacteria from growing. Otherwise, get it in the fridge or the freezer, but remember, once you take it out of a cold environment, you need to use it quickly, or it will spoil!

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Veronica Mitchell

Hi! My name is Veronica Mitchell. I am a mother to two adorable little girls and a handsome little boy. I spend my days caring from my children, packing lunches, reading aloud, kissing boo-boos, and working as the Chief Editor of My Parenting Journey. On this site, you will find friendly advice, expert suggestions, and guides to all shopping for the products you actually need.

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