Warming Refrigerated Breast Milk

nita1950November 4, 2004

I am a grandmother. How long can you keep breast milk warm before it goes bad? I have a bottle warmer to give them. Should they wait until the baby is screaming while they warm the milk in hot water in a cup...that is the current method. They just put the bottle in a cup of very hot water and wait. If they warmed it sooner, maybe a half hour sooner than needed, then it would be room temperature and acceptable to the baby. Any advice? The baby is 5 weeks old.


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Here is a link to LLL website regarding storage of pumped breast milk. ~ Suzie

Here is a link that might be useful: La Leche League

    Bookmark   November 4, 2004 at 11:14PM
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Congratulations on being a new grandmother. Believe it or not, the "current method" is a good one. Warmed breastmilk should only be kept at room temp for about an hour. This is why you don't want to heat it up until you are sure you need it. Sometimes baby seems hungry but isn't and then you have to dump that precious stuff. It is a soul-destroying experience if pumping is difficult or the mom is having supply problems.

Really, the baby is not dying of starvation in the 10 minutes it takes to heat up the bottle. But if baby is really desperate, have you considered giving the bottle cold? There is no health reason to heat up the bottle and after a few tries, most babies will just accept that bottle milk is cold and breast milk is warm.

Bottle warmers are not necessary and can actually be detrimental. If it is too hot, it can damage the beneficial compounds in the milk and can also cause the milk to taste "off." A cup of hot water will gradually cool down, whereas the bottle warmer will maintain a hot water temp.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 3:08AM
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I got some good storage tips from La Leche, the hospital where my son was born, and other places on how to thaw milk, etc. Here is one refrigerator magnet that I have:

Storage GUide for BReastmilk

Room temp (66-72 degrees) up to 8 hours
Refrigerator (32-39 F) up to 8 days
Back of standard fridge freezer 3-6 mos.
Upright or deep freezer (0 degrees) 6-12 months
Thawed milk in refigerator up to 24 hours

I forget, but I think they said milk, once it's been pumped straight, can remain good for a few hours at room temp.

I'd be cautious about using an electric bottlewarmer. SOmetimes they can cause hot spots just like a microwave and make the milk too hot for the baby to drink.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 11:51AM
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per what they told me in the nicu (my daughter was a preemie), you can keep breastmilk f/10hrs at room temp, which is the temp the baby should drink it. my policy it to prepare a bottle of refrig.ed milk as soon as she drinks a bottle and leave it on the counter. it gradually warms to room temp, and is almost always warm enough once she's hungry for her next meal. my neonatologist and the lactation consultant at my pediatrician's office also told me that (as opposed to formula), a baby can drink twice in a row from a breastmilk bottle. so, if she doesn't finish a bottle, i save it f/her to finish at her next meal. then i supplement with a new bottle. i don't ever add fresh to used. anyhow, hope this helped, k

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 3:19PM
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