How long does breast milk last in the refrigerator?

Pumping breast milk takes time and commitment, so nursing mothers don’t want a drop to go to waste. Luckily, it can be easily stored in the fridge or freezer so it can stay fresh for up to six months. Here’s everything you need to know to keep breast milk as fresh and nutritious as possible.

So what happens if we forget a bottle of breast milk on the kitchen counter? How long can breast milk sit before it is no longer safe for the baby?

4 days in the fridge

Many moms rely on an insulated cooler to transport the milk they express at work or while traveling. It can be safely kept in a cooler for 24 hours. You just have to make sure that the cooler remains closed the entire time it is in transit and, once the destination is reached, we will place the breast milk in the refrigerator or freezer immediately.

Fresh milk can last up to four days in the fridge at 4 ° C , and from 6 to 12 months in the freezer at -18 ° C. We must make sure to store it in the back where the temperature is colder and we will never keep the milk. breast milk on the refrigerator door, as fluctuations in temperature could cause it to spoil. However, keep in mind that thawed milk stays fresh for only 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Also, it is recommended that it never be stored in plastic bags that are not designed for this purpose. The best options are hard plastic bottles with a tight-fitting lid (no nipple), glass bottles or containers with a tight-fitting lid, or plastic storage bags made specifically for storing breast milk.

bebé tomando leche materna

4 hours at room temperature

Freshly expressed breast milk can stay at room temperature at 25 ° C for up to four hours. Ideally, the milk should be in a covered container.

However, whenever possible, freshly expressed milk is preferred to refrigerated or frozen breast milk. The fresh one contains greater nutrients and immunological benefits . You can never leave formula on for that long, but breast milk is a living substance with antimicrobial properties that prevent the growth of bacteria. According to some researchers, the bactericidal activity of fresh chilled milk remains unchanged during the first 48 hours. Meanwhile, the thawed version can be kept cool at room temperature for an hour or two.

If the milk is left behind after using it to feed the baby, we may wonder if it can be used for a later dose. Milk storage guidelines recommend discarding the leftover milk after two hours due to the possibility of bacterial contamination from the baby’s mouth. Therefore, accumulated milk should not be left in a bottle for the next feeding.

Also, milk may smell metal or rancid after storage or heating, as it can be caused by chemical oxidation. High lipase and chemical oxidation have different solutions. Both milks are safe to feed a baby, but if you reject it, we will have to take time to learn how to prevent the taste change.