How Long Is Milk Good?

Updated on May 29, 2008
L.B. asks from Johns Island, SC
10 answers

My 13 month old is drinking milk now. I had the "formula freshness rules" down pat, and my oldest is four years old and I don't remember. Now what??? Does anyone know how long I can leave it out before I should toss it? How many times can I re-refrigerator it? The amount that she wants is unpredictable, or I would give her only a little at a time. She has a very dramatic temper if things go wrong like running out of milk in her cup. Milk is so expensive, but I don't want to make her sick. What's the going word? Thanks!

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L.K.

answers from Atlanta on

My son is 12 months old and on whole milk now, too. I still keep powdered formula on hand, though. If I know I'm going to be out (especially somewhere hot like the park), I take the formula and bottles/sippy cups of water so I can mix it as needed. When we are at home, I use the whole milk. It is also helpful to have the formula on hand in case we are running low on the milk. That way I always have a backup. When we're at home, I don't mind putting milk back in the fridge as soon as my son loses interest in drinking it. I will throw it out if it gets forgotten and sits out a while.

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R.D.

answers from Spartanburg on

I don't mean to be too cheap, but I have the same issue with my son as you do, and honestly, as long as milk smells OK, I give it to him. Usually, after a day, if we still have an unfinished glass, one of us uses it on our cereal, or I put it in my coffee. But, really, as long as it doesn't smell sour, it's not going to hurt you-- and even then, it won't make you sick, it will just taste bad. But you'd probably never get it that far-- you or your child would notice it smelled funny or tasted "off" and then you could toss it. Don't stress-- most milk today is ultra-pasteurized, so bacteria doesn't readily grow in it, and it's usually good a few days past the date on the bottle.

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D.C.

answers from Savannah on

We do the smell test as well, also you could try a small sip yourself to taste it, if you see you kid has put the cup down and isn't interested go ahead and put it back in the fridge until she asks again. I say it should be fresh for a day or so just check it little ones tend to back wash alot so that can put bacteria inthe milk to spoil it quicker but Im not sure if sippy cups prevent all that. Also try putting smaller servings in her cup if she finishes it you can ask if she wants more, but you won't be wasting it. Hope this helps.

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L.T.

answers from Savannah on

What I do is if the cup is not cool to touch (that is the milk inside of it is not cold) dump it out and if they have drank from the cup also dump it. The bacteria (slivia to milk) tends to cause the milk to turn bad (sour). Also leaving milk in a car when running errands turns sour quick. I carry a litte cooler and keep the milk on ice (not a soft cooler they tend to leak when the ice melts). When running errands do not put a milk that has been drank from back in the cooler that tends to turn sour quickly (looks like cottage cheese). If possible I take the cup of milk in with us. When at home I keep 3 cups in the refrig. filled for my youngest. She helps herself when she wants milk. The older 2 pour a glass (with help) when they want milk.

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J.G.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

Have you checked into buying your milk from Costco or Sam's Club. It is usually about a dollar less per gallon than Wal Mart and more than two dollars less than the grocery stores. I have a family of five and we use about 4 gallons per week. At $4 a week savings--it's over two hundred dollars a year-- it's more than worth the membership. I wouldn't ration out milk due to cost. Toddlers really need it during their rapid growth and the whole milk is good for brain development in children up to two years old.

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D.S.

answers from Myrtle Beach on

I don't trust milk honestly. I don't like to re-refrigerate milk from a cup that my son has already drank from. It contains the germs from backwash or whatever and that builds up in the milk as it sits in the refrigerator. It is the same with anything else. Like if you eat out of a container with a spoon and don't finish it, you shouldn't save the rest for later b/c the bacteria from your mouth stays on the food and accumilates until you eat it again.

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L.M.

answers from Atlanta on

I would not leave the milk out to long especially now that its getting to be hot

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M.H.

answers from Charleston on

i agree with Denae C but also if u use sippy cups u can always can the lids before u put the cup back into the frigde if u are worried about the germs that may (and have) have gotten on the cup. that what my sister in law sis. as soon as the cup went down (counter - floor - yard - u get the idea) she changed the lid and stuck it in the frigde and wash the dirty one for later.

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M.C.

answers from Charleston on

I'd say it's good for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, left out. I would only re-refrigerate if it's out for a few minutes. Mine has a temper like yours does and i know how tempting it can be to anticipate their wants and needs to avoid meltdowns, but I stopped doing that when I realized that real life is not like that and that delayed gratification is a good lesson to teach.

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S.C.

answers from Atlanta on

a good solution to that problem is to buy a Thermos straw cup or a Foogo cup. you can find them in the cooler section at target. you can also get them online. They run $15 each but are totally worth the $$$. they keep their drinks cold all day long. you also don't have to worry about the harmful chemicals in the cup that they are now finding. i have 2 for each child and that is all we use. they are the best and that way you don't have to worry about her milk going bad or getting too warm in our out of the house.
http://thermos.com/product_catalog.aspx?CatCode=THER&...
here's the link to the Thermos website scroll down and you'll see the kids cups but you can find them at Target or Babies R Us. Hope this helps.

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