9 answers

How Long Does Previously Frozen Breast Milk Last at Room Temperature?

I know freshly pumped breast milk lasts for several hours at room temperature, but what about breast milk that has been thawed from freezer or warmed from frig? How long can I keep that out at room temperature? My son is a "sipper" when he drinks from bottles, meaning he takes a few drinks then stops, then starts again after a few minutes. Feeding him a bottle can take forever. I hate to throw out breast milk, but also worried about it spoiling if left out too long.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

More Answers

Everything I've read indicates that fresh breast milk can be stored at room temp for up to 10 hours, but thawed milk should only be left at room temp for one hour. Would it work to put smaller quantities in his bottle and switch over to a fresh one when he's ready?
Best of luck!

I think the people saying one hour are wrong. The person who said ten hours looks like she has lactation concultant qualifications. Please check out www.kellymom.com They will give you a good research based answer. Brestmilk is so valuable I hate to throw it out. I use it from frozen for hours and have not had a problem. But then again we only do this once or twice a week. I have heard freshly pumped milk has less bacteria in it after being left on the counter for hours then when it is first pumped. I wonder if the one hour is for formula bottles and people are confused.


probably good for 10 hours. ifit goes bad it will smell bad.

Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions

My magnet that came with my pump said one hour for thawer milk

Regarding frozen breastmillk.... When we thawed it slowly in the fridge, we discarded the milk within 24 hours. But, once it's been warmed up with warm water or brought to room temp by sitting out, we discard it within 1 hour. On the occasions when we have to thaw quickly using warm water, we also discard within 1 hour.

Regarding refrigerated breastmilk (never frozen) that's heated with warm water...we discarded after one hour. However, when we traveled by plane, it would sometimes be at room temp longer and we never had a problem.

And, once my son had drank from a bottle we always discarded the contents within an hour...even if the milk had never been frozen.

Here's a link to some info from La Leche League:

Hi V.,
You are correct regarding freshly pumped breast milk, it can last 6-8 hours without being put into the frig. I believe the suggestion for thawed breast milk then refrigerated should be used with in 24 hours. Once a bottle feeding begins the milk should be used with in a half hour or so. This is due to bacteria build up in the milk and also bacteria from baby's saliva. One thing that worked for me was to put say 2 ounces instead of 4 into baby's bottle. I too hated to throw out precious breast milk. There is a great website if you haven't discovered it yet called: Breastfeeding.com
Have fun with that baby!

I've read to keep it at room temp for only about an hour or so. If you're worried you might consider splitting it into two smaller bottles so that the second half is fresh when he's ready for it. In reality, I've usually gone with the "sniff" test. If it doesn't smell like breast milk (which does have a distinct smell) it's probably no good. I also tried to avoid using frozen too often and would always use fresh if I had it on hand (it keeps for up to 8 days in the fridge so usually I had some around from pumping at work).

I believe it's only 2-3 hours if it's been left out. If you keep it in the fridge though, it's good upto 36 hours. My daughter used to be like that when she was a baby, also. So we just let her drink it cold - that way we could leave it in the fridge.

A lactation consultant once told me that in the Philippines, women in sweatshops pump and leave milk in containers by their workstations, at high temperatures with no refrigerations, and take it home at the end of the day. They do not report problems with it. That's pretty extreme, and we wouldn't do it in this country where refrigeration is readily available, but I think it shows you that breast milk is pretty resilient and will keep for longer than you are likely to want to keep it, with or without refrigeration.

Just as an aside, most people are way more conservative than necessary when it comes to dairy products, too. I've seen people throw away milk or yogurt that has reached its expiration date, whether or not it appears at all sour or spoiled. Completely unncessary. If the seal is not broken yogurt will keep past its expiration date, even weeks without refrigeration. Milk will keep longer, too, though not that long. Your sense of smell is valuable - you can tell if it's turned or not. There are types of bacteria that do not cause odors in food but those aren't the ones we're worried about here.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.