22 answers

Left Pumped Milk Out over Night!

Hi moms,
Does anyone know how long breast milk is good when left at room temperature? I left a huge bottle out last night and found it this morning. It was probably out for 14 hours on my kitchen counter. I could just scream! I put in the fridge when I found it but now I can't find info online for this. I found sites that say no more than 4 hours but most say 10 hours. Anyone know? I sure hate to toss this but I really don't want to cause any problems. Thanks so much!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks! I figured it was a loss but I needed to hear from you guys!
Thanks again....off to go pump:)

Featured Answers

Bummer... thow it out! I spilled an 8oz bottle all over myself while pumping at WORK. It can all be frustrating but you will make more, hang in there :-)


More Answers


I had to use the services of a lactation consultant who recommended that milk not be left out more than 5 hours at room temperature.

Hope that helps.


Oh that stinks!! Yep, you'll have to dump it. I would not feed my baby any breastmilk that has been left out for more than 4 hrs. Ugh, what a waste, I know! That stuff is like liquid gold. One time I was pouring a full 8 ounces of my freshly thawed breastmilk into a bottle and realized too late that I forgot to insert the plastic(i used the playtex bottles). The milk spilled all over the counter! I was so mad!

Hey Kristin. Hope all's well.

Go to babycenter.com & join their "club" for free & receive REALLY GOOD information on the development of your child/children along with links available regarding breastfeeding & breastmilk that should resolve your concern. I joined their club & REALLY ENJOY their informative emails on each milestone of your child along with other amenities.



If you left the milk out 14 hours and the best number you could find suggests 10 hours at room temperature is the maximum time, then I would say you are 4 hours overdue from tossing it.

Oh my, I know how frustrating that is! Pumping breastmilk and producing a big bottle of it is like liquid gold. Unfortunately, 14 hours is way too long. Breastmilk does have incredible bacteria-fighting properties that keep it safe without refrigeration for at least 4 hours and even upwards of 8-10 hours, if not exposed to light/heat. However, 14 hours is definitely too long to take a chance. Hope this helps, even though its not what you wanted to hear. Many Blessings - L.

I know everyone's saying "throw it out", but check on La Leche League's website first. They have very different guidelines than anyone else, and personally, I trust them more.

Sorry, but you have to toss it. That's way too long. I feel your pain -- I know I've done that before too!

Toss it! So sorry that happened. I know how frustrating it is, but 14 hours is way tooo long. I would bet it has happened to the best of us! Here is a good chart, but even then I always was a little more careful and stuck closer to the more conservative recommendations. http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling...

That sucks! So sorry...I myself have never produced enough to freeze or anything so I know how precious it is! OK, from what I heard it is 4 hours...I would dump it and cry...


Toss it. I've heard 4 hours as the general rule of thumb. It stinks, yes... but better safe than sorry.

I have done that so many times andit issofrustrating! There areso many different lengths but what I have seen is 4-10 hours. sorry :-( I know it stinks.

Toss it! It really shouldn't be out for more than a few hours. I've always found that it actually spoils quicker than they say anyhow. Sorry - I know how hard it is to throw out breast milk! It's like gold!

I know it's heartbreaking since it's like "liquid gold", but like any other food, "when in doubt, throw it out." It's just not worth taking a chance with your baby's health. Consider it a lesson learned and move on...

Blessings to you,

"Our family doctor misses us. So does the pharmacist."

I'm so sorry you had to throw it out! I've been there--- it get's better!!!!

Hi Kristin,

I have never left it out this long, but the most definitive research performed says you can leave fresh breast milk at room temperature for 10 HOURS!

Breast milk has anti-bacterial qualities which inhibit bacterial growth in the milk, even at room temperature. In fact, the bigger issue is not from the milk itself, but rather from other contaminants that affect the milk collection process, such as germs on mom’s hands and skin, the bottle, cap, etc.

Here are a couple of really interesting references for the 10 hour figure. There was a landmark study done in 1987 by researchers named Barger and Bull that compared milk in clean but not sterile containers left for 10 hours at room temperature and 10 hours in the refrigerator. The study found no statistically different bacteria levels! Just amazing! Here are some articles in order of preference.....




Personally, I would toss the milk it's not worth risking it!

Best of Luck!

C. Roeschen
The Trinity Group
Keller Williams

throw it out...you don't want anything to go over 4 hours.

freshly expressed in room temp...4 hours
in a cooler with freezer packs...24 hours
fridge...5-7 days
freezer...3-4 mo
deep freezer 6-12 mo

When I worked on a post partum unit at an area hospital we had moms with babies in the NICU so they would pump. I know our NICU said it had to be placed in ice or the fridge immediately. Some nurses in the NICU would say no more than 2 hours while some said no more than 4. Also, we had a few nurses on our unit who were breast feeding at the time who said that it never has to be refrigerated. So, I don't really know for sure because there seems to be a lot of conflicting information out there. Have you tried the site www.babycenter.com yet? If not you might check there. Good luck and I hope it's still good. If not, it's OK. I am sure you were just tired and forgot. That's just part of being a mommy. Take care.

Ten hours is what I usually tell women. Also the Lansinoh company says that as well. So Sorry that happened to you. I would be sad as well. :(

I would toss it better safe then sorry. It is just to warn to not. G. W

Bummer... thow it out! I spilled an 8oz bottle all over myself while pumping at WORK. It can all be frustrating but you will make more, hang in there :-)


Throw it out. After about an hour at room temperature, it's no good.

My gut says its fine, but....my certified consultant was Judy Eastburn...she is GREAT...give her a call and she will tell you if its ok

Judy Eastburn 972/549-0050

Good luck!!!

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