How long does breast milk last after warming?
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If you are pumping your milk, you know that storing it correctly is the most important thing. Pumping milk and storing it right can save you a lot of time and help you make sure that your baby is always well fed.

If you are storing your milk in the fridge or in the freezer, you will have to warm it up before giving it to your little one. But how long is the milk good for once you warmed it up?

How long does breast milk last after warming?

When you get the milk to be to the perfect temperature, it stays good for a maximum of 2 hours. After that, your baby can no longer consume the milk.

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Breast milk lasts for 2-hours after warming

  • It is essential to understand that breastmilk contains nutrients as well as bacteria. However, if you pump it and store it correctly, the bacteria is kept under safe control.
  • After two hours at room temperature or warmer temperature, the bacteria in the milk start to multiply. There are no defined studies, however, to say how fast the bacteria multiply in the milk. But pediatricians, as well as lactation experts, agree on the fact that after two hours, it is not safe to give your baby the unfinished bottle. Since it is always best to be safe than sorry, you should throw away any unconsumed breastmilk after this time frame.
  • You can check the quality of the warmed-up milk by smelling it as well. Good breastmilk smells a bit sweet or has no scent at all. On the other hand, milk that starts going bad has a sour, unpleasant smell to it. If you sense this type of smell, you are safer by not using that breastmilk to feed your baby.
  • These considerations become even more important if your baby is a preemie or has an immune system deficit. In this case, it is crucial not only to not feed them the milk after two hours passed but also not to feed them rewarmed breastmilk.
  • The color and consistency of the milk are also significant indicators when it comes to its quality. Breastmilk that is still good, will have a layer of fat on top of it that can be a whitish color. If you shake the bottle, you will notice that this layer of fat blends right in with the rest of the milk until you can’t tell the difference.
  • However, if your milk is bad, the fat layer will not mix at all. Instead, you will notice chunks of fat floating on the surface of it. Also, the yellowish color of the excellent milk might become darker and more defined as the milk goes bad. This is why it is essential to look at your milk when it is freshly pumped so you can identify these differences easier when you recheck it to see if it is still good.
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How Long Does Breast Milk Last After Warming? 1

How Long Does Breast Milk Last After Warming? 2

By following this 2 hours rule, you can be sure that you are not taking any risks when it comes to your baby’s health. Babies are all different, and so is the quality of each breastmilk.

How Long Does Breast Milk Last After Warming? 1

Key References

  • “Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk | Breastfeeding | CDC”. Accessed February 22, 2020. Link.


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