Potentially stupid breastfeeding question — The Bump
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Potentially stupid breastfeeding question

My breast milk storage guidelines say freshly expressed milk is good for 4 hours at room temp. Is it okay to put in the fridge for storage if it has been out for 4 hours, or do I need to toss it? I was thinking it's okay to store if it hasn't been previously refrigerated but I am not sure and I hate to waste it...thanks!

Re: Potentially stupid breastfeeding question

  • I have done that a few times when my Mommy brain forgot to put milk away after I was done pumping. It's been fine.
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  • I have heard it lasts up to 8 hours... I pump at night and often leave it out 6+ hours....
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  • My understanding is that it's safe to store breast milk for the maximum amount of time at each temperature.... so you can keep it at room temp for 4-8 hours, then in the fridge for 5 days, then in your freezer for 3 months (or 6-12 if you have a deep freezer) then you can thaw it and use it within 24 hours.  You can definitely still refrigerate it if it's been sitting out for awhile.

    You can tell if BM is bad b/c it smells bad, from what I've heard.  I've never smelled any milk that has gone bad, but it's supposedly obvious.

  • I think you are fine, but I would try to use it at your next feeding or within a day.
  • imageECUGirl2004:

    My understanding is that it's safe to store breast milk for the maximum amount of time at each temperature.... so you can keep it at room temp for 4-8 hours, then in the fridge for 5 days, then in your freezer for 3 months (or 6-12 if you have a deep freezer) then you can thaw it and use it within 24 hours.  You can definitely still refrigerate it if it's been sitting out for awhile.

    You can tell if BM is bad b/c it smells bad, from what I've heard.  I've never smelled any milk that has gone bad, but it's supposedly obvious.

     That's how I handle my milk, except it can be refrigerated for 8 hours. I had some BM that was leftover from DH taking Caleb out that was definitely spoiled, it smelled like curdled milk spit-up and tasted awful! You would know if your milk would need to be dumped. 

    image Caleb is 3! 101 in 1001
  • imageECUGirl2004:

    My understanding is that it's safe to store breast milk for the maximum amount of time at each temperature.... so you can keep it at room temp for 4-8 hours, then in the fridge for 5 days, then in your freezer for 3 months (or 6-12 if you have a deep freezer) then you can thaw it and use it within 24 hours.  You can definitely still refrigerate it if it's been sitting out for awhile.

    You can tell if BM is bad b/c it smells bad, from what I've heard.  I've never smelled any milk that has gone bad, but it's supposedly obvious.

    So my milk in the fridge can be stored in the freezer even after it's been in 5 days? That's awesome if that is true. Also, do you mind reposting the info on how to donate breastmilk? I appear to be an over producer and hate to see it go to waste if I can help someone. TIA!

  • Yes, you can freeze milk after it's been in the fridge.  I did it all the time and it was fine.

    You can donate milk through the Milk Bank at Wake Med: http://www.wakemed.org/body.cfm?id=135 or through Milkshare: http://milkshare.birthingforlife.com/.

    Honestly, I would not recommend donating milk this early though.  I was a huge overproducer until Nate was about 7 months old and I had something like 350 oz in the freezer.  But my supply dipped around 7 months and I ended up using a lot of frozen milk each week.  I was using somewhere between 3-5 oz a day most days and sometimes more or less.  So if I hadn't had that huge stash, I would have had to pump a lot more to keep up. 

  • Okay thanks for the tip. I don't have a deep freezer so 3 months is how long it can stay in a regular fridge/freezer? Sorry for all the questions...I am still getting the hang of this!
  • Yeah, I think they say 3 months is the max for a regular freezer.  You can try to rotate through what is frozen so that it doesn't expire.  What I started doing (when Nate was in daycare) was using frozen milk on Mondays and using fresh milk for the rest of the week (so I'd use Monday's milk on Tues, etc).  Then I froze everything I pumped on Friday.  That way I was able to cycle through milk before it got too old.
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