Baby didn't finish bottle of breastmilk can I reuse?

Your baby might drink more or less than you expect them to. Often, it can be challenging to give them just the right amount of milk for one meal. Plus, each baby is different, so some of them will eat different quantities than others.

If your baby doesn’t finish the milk, you will naturally wonder if you can reuse it, so you don’t waste it. Nursing moms explores the leftover breast milk in bottles & tips to preserve them the right way for the next meal. Read on!

Baby didn’t finish bottle of breastmilk can I reuse?

Baby drinking breast milk from the bottle

The good news is that unfinished milk can definitely be reused. But you need to know how to do this the right way, so you don’t expose your little one to any health risks!


Leftover Breast Milk in a bottle

  • You can store the milk at room temperature for about 4 hours in safe conditions. If you choose to do this, it might be a good solution for babies who often eat, for instance, every 3 hours.
  • Make sure to place the milk on the table but not in direct sunlight because this will alter it a lot faster. Close the lid of the bottle properly and don’t place it next to the stove or oven if you are using it because it will generate heat.
  • The optimum temperature to store the milk like this is between 68 degrees F and 72 degrees F. However, the temperature could be less than 68 degrees F but not more than 72 degrees F.
  • If you know that your baby will not consume the milk in the 4-hour time frame, you should consider storing it in the fridge.
  • Refrigerated breastmilk can stay good between 4 and 8 days. This time frame depends on the conditions you store it in. All you have to do is take off the bottle nipple and replace it with a lid. Place the milk in the back of the refrigerator where the temperature is cold and remains constant.

Note that taking off the bottle nipple before refrigeration is critical here because bacteria from the baby’s mouth could seep into the bottle via nipple, possibly contaminate the breast milk.

The same suggestion needs to be followed for leftover formula as well if the baby didn’t finish the bottle. However, with the leftover formula in the bottle, there are other considerations need to be looked at, which are not discussed here.

  • It is essential not to place the milk on the door of the fridge because you will open the door often, and it will not remain at a constant temperature.
  • When your baby can finish the milk, you can give it to them straight from the fridge to bring it to room temperature.
  • And last but not least, you can freeze the unfinished milk. If you do that, you have to close the bottle with a lid and date it.
  • Milk stays good in the freezer between 6 to 9 months. However, you need to be sure of the time you put it in the freezer, so you don’t lose track of it. If you do that, you will have to defrost the milk by putting it in the fridge for 12 hours before giving it to your baby.

Suggested Reading: Check out the other breast milk storage questions & answers.

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Baby Didn't Finish Bottle of Breastmilk Can I Reuse? 1

So, if your baby didn’t finish their meal, you don’t have to waste it. Store it properly, and you can conserve the properties of the breastmilk in perfect condition!

It is important to learn how to store the milk correctly so you can use every ounce of it to feed your little one! Once you know how to do that, you will not have to worry about unfinished milk.

Baby Didn't Finish Bottle of Breastmilk Can I Reuse? 1

Key References

  • “Complete Guide to Storing Breast Milk | Breastfeeding Blog My Brest Friend”. Accessed February 11, 2020. Link.


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