How Long Does Whole Milk Last?

Updated on December 02, 2010
A.Z. asks from Los Angeles, CA
6 answers

I've been giving my daughter a bottle of whole milk when she wakes up at 3 am. She usually doesn't finish the bottle and wants to keep it in bed with her as she goes back to sleep. How long does it take to spoil, anyone know? I'm thinking 2 - 4 hours? I just want to know when to take it out of her crib so she won't try to drink it after it has gone bad...

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So What Happened?

I would like to thank the ladies who answered my question about whole milk.

I love this site. I appreciate the give and take of Moms helping each other out. But, I was surprised to find that a large percentage of responses to my question offered advice that was completely unsolicited. My question wasn't about whether to stop giving my daughter milk in the wee hours of morning (there are circumstances that I did not mention, because the question wasn't about that). Those of you who gave those kind of answers made me not want to post anything again. This process becomes less safe when people are not staying on topic. Weaning and parenting in general are very personal matters. Matters which I feel equipped to handle. When people ask for help, we can best serve them by offering them ONLY the feedback they requested.

Thank you.

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

It takes a whole lot longer than 2-4 hours for milk to spoil. Milk is good out at room temperature for up to 7 or 8 hours - it just isn't cold - and we've gotten used to milk being "ice cold". It is perfectly safe for your daughter to drink the same milk in the morning that you put in her crib the evening before. However, you don't say how old your child is, but if she is a toddler, why is she still waking up at 3 am and drinking milk in the middle of the night? Remember that milk has sugar in it and can cause tooth decay. It is especially harmful if she falls asleep with the nipple in her mouth. Water, if she'll take it, would be an orally healthier option. But, remember that milk is pasturized, so much of any of the harmful bacteria, is removed before it hits your market shelf.



answers from Los Angeles on

I like the idea of weaning your daughter off the milk. (Don't worry about its spoiling unless it is extremely hot, which it won't be in your house.)

I saw my dentist last week and confirmed with him and his hygienist that the habit they discourage the most is letting babies and toddlers drink anything other than water in bed. The sugars in milk and juice are exactly what bacteria love to munch on, so tooth decay will be your new best friend. Painful, expensive, and completely preventable. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi. I actually just wanted to add to what Jill S. had said. My first daughter was hooked on milk during the middle of the night, but I started having thee same concerns she was mentioning about the sugar in the milk. What I did was slowly start to water down the milk week by week. Week one, I put one ounce water, three ounces milk. Week two was two onces water, two ounces milk. Week three was three ounces water, one ounce milk. And then finally just water. It worked like a charm.
I am certainly not here to tell you to change your ways, but if you had thought about a way to ween her off the milk during the night, this is what I suggest. Good Luck to you!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Abby,
I've been giving my son a cup of milk to take to bed with him every night since he was 2 years old (he's almost 6 now). He drinks 1% or 2% milk. He drinks it all night and he's never had a problem. If it tastes spoiled he would tell me and he wouldn't drink it and I know he'll get up at 3AM or 4 AM and start drinking it so it must be ok. I'm sure your daughter is fine with her bottle during the night. If it tastes bad, she won't drink it and a little taste of spoiled milk won't hurt her. If you are concerned, try to keep her room cool at night so the milk doesn't get too warm.

Take care!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello. If your child is over a year they shouldn't be waking up to drink milk. My mom is a dentist and she stresses no milk before bedtime because of the sugar. I still give him milk but we brush his teeth before we go to sleep. He is 2 now. In addition, it was his doctor who told me he should learn how to settle himself to sleep and back to sleep in the middle of the night. Providing he is not sick or something.



answers from Anchorage on

To the mother who posted this question.... I am glad that you wrote the response that you did. I was researching the same thing; how long does milk last for? You don't need strangers giving you grief about why and what time your child drinks milk. I though it was a very well written response and I'm glad you stood up for yourself. If it helps in my research I've found that milk in a cup or bottle lasts 2 hours at room temperature. Again, good for you, what you wrote made me smile. Good luck in everything you do!

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