How Long Does Breast Milk Last In The Fridge?

If you are a working mom, the chances are that you will find it difficult to manage your infant’s feeding schedule and your busy work life. But, it is a priority to make sure your munchkin gets the right nutrients from her mother’s milk. A Recent study has found it safe to preserve breast milk in the fridge. But, many women continue to be skeptical about the notion as there seem to be fewer takers for the logic of storing the breast milk due to the trust factor with regards to its safety. So, we will be shedding light on this discussion and most importantly answering that question you have been asking – How long does breast milk last in the fridge?    

How Long Does Breast Milk Last In The Fridge?

Here is the answer… The durability of preserving breast milk depends on the fact where and how you store it. Under the ideal conditions let’s say, at 60-85 degree Fahrenheit, your breast milk will be able to last for 3-4 hours.

But did you know that expressed milk can last longer due to fewer bacteria in it? It can last from 6-8 hours under cooler temperature settings.

If you choose to refrigerate the milk, you can push the longevity to 3-5 days, and yet it still continues to remain fresh. But, if you choose to freeze the milk, it could last even longer. Freezing is suitable if you are traveling away from your infant for a longer time. Make sure while you preserve the milk in frozen condition, it is done in an insulated cooler with ice packs for a duration of 24 hours.

As per the U.S. Center for Disease Control, the variety of ways of storing the breast milk depends on the type of refrigerator or freezer you own and also, where in the fridge you place the milk.

  • If your refrigerator has a single door to access the freezer and the remaining compartments, it will be capable of storing breast milk in fresh condition for up to 2 weeks.
  • If your refrigerator has a separate access the freezer and other compartments, you will be able to store the milk in the freezer for duration of 3-6 months.
  • If you are using a deep freezer or a chest to store the breast milk, you will be able to store the milk for more than 6-12 months. A deep freezer can store the milk for such a long duration due to the reason that you do not frequently open the door, unlike your regular refrigerator.

Now that you have understood the type of freezer that is capable of preserving the breast milk in a best manner, we will tell you the ideal place in a refrigerator that is suitable for storing the milk.

You are advised to put the milk in the back of the fridge or a freezer for extending the usability and freshness of the milk.

The key to preserving the freshness of the milk is to avoid bacterial manifestation on the milk. You must pay attention to the cleanliness for a prolonged preservation of the milk. So, prior to pumping the milk from your breast, you must clean your hands and breast to make sure it is germ-free. The bottle that will hold the milk must be clean as well. It must be decontaminated and must not be used to store any acidic products prior to storing breast milk.

You can use a dishwasher and hot soapy water to clean the bottle. Immediately after you have finished pumping the milk, you must attempt preserving it. The longer the milk stays out of the freezer, the lesser duration it stays fresh and more the tendency to get spoiled. Hence, room temperature is unsuitable for preserving the milk. Similar to the cow milk, breast milk can turn sour and can smell nasty if it is spoiled.

Is Thawed Milk Identical To Fresh Breast Milk?

Your diet determines the color and odor of the breast milk. You may notice that the appearance of thawed milk varies slightly than the expressed milk. It is safe to feed the baby. But, if your baby refuses to take the thawed milk then you may try storing the milk for a shorter duration.

What Kind Of Container Should I Use To Store Expressed Breast Milk?

 If you are planning on using expressed breast milk, make sure to wash your hands properly with soap and water. Then use well-cleaned, hard plastic containers, that are BPA free. Other than that, there are plastic storage bags available in the market, specially used for the storage of breast  milk.

The nasty part to the storage of breast milk in plastic bags is that it might leak or get contaminated.  For this purpose you can store the plastic bag in a hard lid container with a tight lid.

Make it a point, not to store milk in regular containers or low quality plastic containers, that are used in the household.

What Is The Best Way To Store Expressed Breast Milk?

 If you are storing the expressed breast milk at a childcare facility, write down the name of your child and the date of the expressed milk storage option and stick the label on the container. Next, place the container  in the freezer , in the end. This is because this area is the coolest area in the freezer. In case, the option of refrigerator is not available at the childcare facility, then you can make use of the insulated cooler, but temporarily.

The containers of the breast milk should be filed with 3-4 ounces of breast milk, the perfect amount that is required for one time of feeding. You can expand the storage capacity as time goes on. Make sure not to fill the container  to the brim, because the breast milk expands on freezing. So, it is better to just store 1-2 ounces of breast milk.

Can I Add Freshly Expressed Breast Milk To The Stored Expressed Breast Milk?

It is not a problem to store freshly expressed breast milk to the stored expressed breast milk, but make sure that the stored expressed breast milk should be of the same day. Cool down the freshly expressed breast milk properly before adding it to the already chilled milk. This is because if you add in warm freshly expressed breast milk to the cold stored breast milk, the latter portion will get thawed. .

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