In this quick guide, we’ll look at the shelf life of previously refrigerated breast milk at room temperature to address the question “how long can breast milk stay out after being refrigerated.” We’ll also go over the shelf life of breast milk in the fridge and freezer, as well as numerous ways to identify poor breast milk.

So, without further ado, let’s get started and learn more about it.

After being refrigerated, how long may breast milk be left out?

When kept at room temperature, freshly pumped breast milk and previously chilled breast milk last around 4 hours, but you should utilize it within 2 hours for safety reasons.

Breast milk that has been left out for more than 4 hours should be discarded because bacterial development is faster between the temperatures of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there is a higher possibility that the breast milk has already been contaminated with germs when kept out for more than 4 hours.

Furthermore, if the ambient temperature is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the rotting process is accelerated, and it is recommended to discard breast milk that has been kept out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

When it comes to frozen breast milk, however, if you leave it lie on the counter to defrost, you should utilize it within 2 hours or discard it after 2 hours. Bacterial development is faster between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore if breast milk is kept out for more than 2 hours, it is more likely to be infected with bacteria.

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Furthermore, if you have thawed milk in the refrigerator, it is recommended that you utilize it within 24 hours of thawing it.

Breast milk is high in nutrients and stays fresh for a long time inside the mother’s body. However, after breast milk has been expressed, it has a short shelf life if not refrigerated, thus caution should be exercised when handling and storing breast milk.

Breast milk has a long shelf life in the refrigerator.

Breast milk can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days if stored in an airtight bottle or container at or below 40°F.

Breast milk has a long shelf life in the freezer.

When kept properly in an airtight container or bottle, breast milk can survive for up to 6 months in the freezer.

As a result, storing breast milk in the freezer extends its shelf life significantly due to the freezer’s low temperature, which inhibits bacterial growth on the breast milk.

It’s worth noting that the values above represent breast milk’s expected shelf life.

How to Store Breast Milk Properly

Expressed breast milk should be kept at 40°F or below at all times. Bacterial growth is faster between the temperatures of 40°F and 140°F, thus it’s best to keep breast milk at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for as long as possible.

Because breast milk can absorb scents, it should be kept refrigerated in an airtight container or bottle. It should also be kept away from strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions.

It is preferable to store breast milk on one of the refrigerator shelves rather than the door since the temperature fluctuates a lot at the fridge door, which might impair the quality of expressed breast milk.

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More information on breast milk can be found here.

How to Recognize Bad Breast Milk

Bad breast milk is indicated by a few symptoms. Breast milk’s consistency, smell, and taste can all be used to determine whether or not it has gone sour.

Consistency

Because breast milk is not homogenized, it is natural for it to separate into layers when kept in the fridge for an extended period of time.

However, if the two layers do not come together after spinning or shaking the bottle, or if there are lumps present, the breast milk has gone bad.

Smell

When you smell something unpleasant or rotten while doing a sniff test, it means your expressed breast milk has gone sour.

Taste

When compared to cow milk, breast milk is sweeter. If you notice a sour taste after drinking a small sip of milk, it’s a sign that your breast milk has gone bad.

Conclusion

We examined the shelf life of previously refrigerated breast milk at room temperature in this quick guide to answer the question “how long can breast milk stay out after being refrigerated.” We also talked about the shelf life of breast milk in the fridge and freezer, as well as how to recognize poor breast milk.

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