Left Your Breast Milk Out Too Long? Here's How To Tell If It's Spoiled
2023/08/29

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Breastfeeding is touted as the most natural way to feed your baby; still, that doesn't mean it's always easy. Not only is the act of nursing itself very complicated, but so are all the guidelines and procedures that go into pumping and storing your milk. Remembering all the details of proper milk care, like time limits and leaving your milk at room temperature, in the fridge, or frozen isn't simple. Like, what if some of your breast milk is left out too long? Do you have to dump breast milk that smells OK? Pouring out liquid gold that could still be good is not something any breastfeeding person wants to do.

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Oops, did I leave my breast milk out too long?

Yes, there is a limit to how long your breast milk should sit out. ""It's best to use it or store it within four hours," says Dr. Jessica Madden, medical director at Aeroflow Breastpumps. If the temperature in your house is very warm, consider leaving it out of the fridge for even less time. "Milk needs to be stored sooner than four hours if an environment's room temperature has been higher than about 85 degrees Fahrenheit," Madden explains.

If the breast milk was frozen, that changes things as well. "If thawed from a frozen stash, it needs to be treated like regular food practices — up to two hours at room temperature before needing to be refrigerated," Ashley Georgakopoulos, IBCLC and Motif Medical lactation director, tells Romper.

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