For Parents

How long can Breast Milk be at Room Temperature? Guide for Storing

Most young mothers worry about storing breast milk properly. Breast milk is the most precious thing in the world for both the newborn baby and the mother. Therefore, it is essential to know how to keep it safe for the sake of both. We have done a comprehensive study on how long can breast milk be at room temperature. This will clarify all the hesitations towards keeping and storing breast milk.

“Breast milk is Love turned in to Food. It takes someone special to share that Love.”

How long can breast milk keep?

  • At room temperature – The standard time for keeping freshly pumped breast milk at room temperature is about 4 hours. However, if the room temperature is not warm, it can remain up to 6 hours.
  • In an insulated cooler – If you haven’t a refrigerator, you can keep breast milk in an insulated cooler up to 24 hours. You have to surround milk bottles from ice packs.
  • In a refrigerator – You can keep freshly pumped milk in refrigerator about 3 to 8 days. The exact time will be different from the cooling capacity of the fridge.
  • In the deep freezer – You can keep the fresh breast milk in a deep freezer (-18 Celsius) up to 12 months. However, it would be better to use within 6 months for the maximum result.

How long can breast milk be at room temperature before refrigerating?

Most young mothers don’t have a clear idea about how long can breast milk be at room temperature after pumping. As a result of that, a lot of breast milk has to throw away. You can keep it at room temperature for a maximum of 4 hours before refrigerating. 

There is a possibility to activate bacteria in milk if you keep it outside for more than 4 hours. It is advisable to refrigerate within 2-3 hours of pumping.

What is the best way to store breast milk?

The best way to store breast milk is by keeping it in small glass bottles, BPA-free containers, or hard-plastic bottles. Also, you can use the special milk collecting plastic bags. However, don’t use disposable plastic bottles or other general household containers.

And also, be careful to store a small amount by each bottle. It will help you to take out only the usable amount every time.

Another thing is, don’t place the bottles close to the door of the refrigerator. There is a possibility to catch the warm air when you open and close the door every time.

And also, if you plan to store breast milk for the long term, you have to use the deep freezer. It is advisable to store milk sufficient for one meal in different bottles.

How long can breast milk be at room temperature after pumping?

As mentioned earlier, breast milk can be at room temperature after pumping for around a maximum of 4 hours.

However, we advise to refrigerate milk within 2-3 hours after pumping.Because if bacteria start to activate, the milk will not suitable for use.

Can you add freshly expressed breast milk to stored milk?

Yes, you can. However, you have to thoroughly cool the freshly expressed milk to the level of stored milk. Otherwise, the milk will partially thaw and will not able to use anymore. Keep in mind not to add warm milk to frozen or chilled milk.

How long can breast milk be at room temperature after thawing?

It is advisable to refrigerate it back as soon as you finish the feeding. There is a possibility to activate bacteria in thawed milk than freshly pumped milk. 

Therefore, you can let the milk come to the room temperature after thawing, and put it back to the refrigerator.

Can you re-use leftover breast milk?

We don’t recommend re-using leftover breast milk. There is a possibility to mix bacteria from the baby’s mouth. Therefore, it will not be suitable for the baby’s health.

You can store a small amount of milk in different bottles that sufficient for each meal of the baby. Then, there will not be any leftovers.

How long can breast milk be at room temperature after warming?

You have to warm the frozen or refrigerated breast milk before using it. Most mothers have a clue about how long can breast milk be at room temperature after warming it out. The best practice is you can keep until the milk comes to the room temperature level. 

However, you can keep it outside if the room temperature is not much warmer. Keep in mind not to keep it out for more than 2 hours.

We hope this post has addressed most of the problems relating to “How long can breast milk be at room temperature?” If you have any issues, don’t hesitate to write to us. If you think this post will be helpful for someone, you can share this with your friends.

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