Why Is Thawed Breast Milk Only Good for 24 Hours?

Why Is Thawed Breast Milk Only Good for 24 Hours

Why is thawed breast milk only good for 24 hours? We have come across this question in several forums and social media platforms.

Frozen milk may be stored at the average temperature for up to two hours or inside the refrigerator for a day, as long as it’s wholly thawed. Do not use a microwave or steaming water to defrost or heat iced breast squeeze.

Microwaving can damage nutrients in the milk and generate hot spots, which may glow in a child’s mouth. If you defrost breast milk inside the refrigerator, use it within a day. Start calculating the time from when the milk is entirely thawed.

This article will guide you through everything you need to know on why thawed breast milk is only suitable for the first 24 hours.

How Long Can Expressed Breast Milk Sit Out?

You’ll be required to refrigerate the breast squeeze whenever you use a hand or pump. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water, BPA-free capped glass or hard pliable bottles.

You can purchase the best sacs to store your breast milk from manufacturers. You should avoid domestic plastic containers or disposable bottles given the potential for contamination.

The length of time breast milk may be safely stored depends on storage means. The nutritional value and anti-infection capabilities must be preserved through careful preservation. Once expressed, breast milk should be refrigerated or chilled as soon as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following reliable details on how to store your breast milk:

  • Fresh breast milk may be stored at an average temperature for about four hours at 77°F (25°C). Ideally, the milk should be kept in a sealed container. At 40°F (4°C), fresh milk may stay for about four days in the fridge. You can freeze it for 6 to 12 months at 0°F (-18°C).
  • If your breast milk was previously frozen, it could be left out at average temperature for an hour or so once thawed. If you put thawed milk in the fridge, use it within a day. Breast milk that has already been frozen should not be refrozen.
  • After two hours, discard the milk if the infant hasn’t finished what’s in the bottle.

Problems With Leaving Breast Milk Out For Longer

Milk kept in the fridge or freezer loses more vitamin C over time. Also, keep in mind that a woman’s milk is suited to her child’s specific requirements: when the child gets older, your breast squeeze changes.

If there is breast milk leftover, you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to use it again. Given the risk of bacterial contamination from your child’s mouth, milk storage instructions recommend eliminating the remaining breast squeeze after 2 hours.

Whether or not your milk is used in suckling, freshly expressed milk shouldn’t stay unrefrigerated for more than 4 hours. Immediately after it’s defrosted and refrigerated, formerly frozen milk is supposed to be used in less than 24 hours.                

How Long Does Thawed Breast Milk Last?

The answer depends on how you keep your thawed breast milk in general, defrosted milk is supposed to be used immediately. After thawing frozen milk, it must be consumed less than a day.

If your breast milk is hanging out at average temperature on a counter or surface for over an hour, you are advised to throw it away. It’s also worth noting that these figures vary after the infant uses the bottle.

If your child doesn’t use the bottle, you could still utilize the leftover milk for 1-2 hours maximum after the infant has stopped feeding. Excess breast milk ought to be discarded after two hours.

Suppose your child only drank a bit of the milk, you won’t be able to keep it in the refrigerator or freeze it again. Given the possibility of bacterial infection, completely defrosted milk shouldn’t be frozen again.

Use a first-in, first-out strategy to reduce the quantity of milk wasted. Thaw the former breast squeeze in your cooler first.

Freshly pumped breast milk is the best option for your child’s health; however, if you’re using a cooler stash, you’ll want to defrost the former first to minimize cost. Milk may generally be thawed in the refrigerator overnight.

You may also limit waste by storing breast milk in volumes that your infant will ingest and thawing only one day’s value of milk at the moment.

How to Store Expressed Milk

For safe storage of your expressed milk, follow these guidelines:

  • You should use clear labels with the date the milk was extracted to help you monitor your kept breast milk. Retain pumped milk for your child’s daycare, and use waterproof labels or ink to indicate your child’s full name.
  • You should refrigerate or ice extracted milk at the rear of your refrigerator. That is the area where the condition is consistently the coldest. If you can’t acquire pumped milk in the fridge or cooler immediately, temporarily, an enclosed chilly can be utilized.
  • Store pumped milk in smaller bottles or packets. Breast milk swells throughout the freezing process, so you’ll minimize cost by reducing the quantity of breast milk discarded after a suckling.
  • When adding extracted milk to the fridge or frozen breast milk, it must be within 24 hours. Cool the new milk fully (in the refrigerator or a cooler box with ice cubes) before combining it with the already cooled or frozen milk.

The addition of warm breast squeeze to frozen squeeze can induce it to defrost. The majority of specialists advise against refreezing defrosted milk. This may cause milk components to break down even further, resulting in a loss of antibacterial capabilities.

Tips For Thawing Breast Milk

Breast milk quality can deteriorate over time. You are required to thaw the former milk first. It’s important to remember that first in, first out.

Below are a variety of ways you can apply when thawing your breast squeeze:

  • Refrigerate your Breast milk for at least one night.
  • Place your milk in a warm water vessel.
  • Use a stream of mild water.

Breast milk should never be thawed or heated on the stove. Microwaving breast milk can degrade nutrients and cause hot patches, which can cause injury to your baby’s lips.

Use breast squeeze in less than a day of thawing it in the fridge. Begin counting the time from the moment you take the breast squeeze out of the cooler until it is melted.

You are advised to utilize breast milk in less than 2 hours of bringing it to average temperature or warming it. Breast milk should never be frozen again after it’s been thawed.

What Happens if I Use Thawed Breast Milk After 24 Hours?

Ideally, you utilize breast milk immediately when it’s thawed. Experts recommend using the dairy in less than 24 hours of completely melting.

Thawed breast dairy should not be left out at average temperature for more than two hours, since it drops its capacity to inhibit bacterial growth. To reduce the chance of bacteria forming, store the defrosted breast milk in the fridge till you’re prepared to suckle your child.

There’s limited study on refreezing breast milk, therefore it’s challenging to evaluate how safe it is. Rather than refreezing your defrosted breast milk that isn’t utilized, experts advise discarding it out. Only thaw what you’ll need over the following 24 hours to avoid wasting milk.

Proper Breast Milk Storage

Your breast squeeze is resistant to bacterial growth; but the longer it is stored, the less resistant it becomes.

The ideal storage time in the fridge is four days; however, if kept in a polished room, it may last for 5-8 days. If the area isn’t blazing, freshly pumped breast milk may be held at an average temperature for approximately six hours.

The only safe way to store your breast milk for a long time is to freeze it. The milk can be securely stored in the freezer for approximately six months. The milk can be kept in a distinct deep-freeze section for about 12 months, although it’s best to consume it in less than six months.

Your breast milk will begin to change after three months in the cooler. It begins to drop calories, fat, and protein and is no longer as nutritious as fresh milk. 

The rear of your freezer is the most excellent place for milk because it isn’t exposed to warm air every time you get the door opened. Store the milk within the excellent walls if you possess a self-thawing freezer. Keep the frozen milk in airtight containers with date labels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Thawed Breast Milk Yellow?

Your thawed milk is yellow because it is iced and placed in a fridge, and this may slightly differ from freshly pumped breast squeeze. When iced or frozen, former breast milk will seem orange, whereas mature milk will appear somewhat brown, yellow-brown, or blue. This is due to inhibition of the enzyme which breaks down the lipids in milk.

Can You Refrigerate Breast Milk After Warming?

Yes, breast milk can be refrigerated after warming. You can use your warm baby milk immediately or store it inside the fridge for approximately four hours after warming it. Warm dairy shouldn’t be left out at the average temperature. It should not be refrozen.

How May You Tell Whether Melted Breast Milk Is Sour?

You can tell that your thawed milk is sour when you notice the following symptoms:

  • It will have a foul smell. Breast milk with a foul odor indicates that your milk has gone bad.
  • When you swirl your milk, it doesn’t mix.
  • If your Breast milk has been inside the refrigerator for over four days.
  • If your milk wasn’t properly stored.
  • When your milk has a sour taste.


Denzel and Beryl are a food scientist powerhouse couple. They met while attending culinary school, and have been cooking and baking together ever since. They love to watch football, movies, and reality shows in their free time. They have even participated in several cooking and baking competitions globally!

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