Can breast milk go bad inside the breast?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “can breast milk go bad inside the breast?. “We will also explain the shelf life as well as the best ways of storing it.

Can breast milk go bad inside the breast?

No, breast milk is never spoiled in the breast and is always fresh. Unlike the pasteurized cow’s milk we buy at the supermarket, breast milk is a living creature. 

The biological elements in breast milk change throughout time, depending on your baby’s requirements and the microbiota of the nursing mother.

These dynamic characteristics preserve breast milk while also enhancing the health of the baby who consumes it.

Human Milk Storage Guidelines

Human Milk Storage Guidelines
Storage Location and Temperatures
Type of Breast MilkCountertop77°F (25°C) or colder(room temperature)Refrigerator40°F (4°C)Freezer0°F (-18°C) or colder
Freshly Expressed or PumpedUp to 4 HoursUp to 4 DaysWithin 6 months is bestUp to 12 months is acceptable
Thawed, Previously Frozen1–2 HoursUp to 1 Day(24 hours)NEVER refreeze human milkafter it has been thawed

Storage of Expressed Breast Milk 

While expressing or handling breast milk, do the following preparations:

  • Make sure to clean your hands first. Utilize an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that includes at least 60% alcohol if hand washing isn’t accessible.
  • Breast milk may be expressed manually or by a manual or electric pump.
  • If you’re using a pump, ensure that the pump set and tubing are hygienic. Replace moldy tubing as soon as possible.
  • Clean the pump dials, power switch, and tabletop with a sanitizing wipe.
  • After you’ve expressed your breast milk, you’ll need to store it.
  • To preserve expressed breast milk, use breast milk preservation bags or clean food containers Ensure that the jars are constructed of plastic or glass and that the lids are securely fastened.
  • Avoid containers with the recycling symbol #7, which suggests that the packaging may have BPA.
  • Never keep breast milk in temporary bottles and plastic containers that aren’t designed for the purpose.
  • Milk that has been freshly extracted or pumped may be kept in the following ways:
  • For up to 4 hours at ambient temperature (77°F or colder).
  • Refrigerate for up to four days.
  •  Keep in the freezer for at least 6 months, but up to 12 months is OK. As freezing maintains food safe for practically infinite periods, it’s still essential to stick to the suggested storage durations for the best results.

Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.

How many grams in a cup of Milk?

Can you freeze buttermilk?

Essential tips or storage:

Make sure the breast milk is clearly labeled with the time it was produced.

  • Do not keep breast milk in the fridge or freezer door. The breast milk will be protected from temperature fluctuations caused by the shutter opening and shutting.
  • Freeze newly expressed breast milk right away if you don’t believe you’ll need it within four days. This will aid in the preservation of breast milk quality.
  • When storing breast milk, keep the following in mind:
  •  Keep modest quantities of milk in the refrigerator to prevent wasting milk that hasn’t been used. 2 to 4 oz or the quantity given at a single feeding
  • As breast milk expands when it freezes, leave approximately an inch of room at the surface of the liquid.
  • If you’re giving breast milk to a baby caregiver, make sure the container is properly labeled with the kid’s name. Any additional criteria for labeling and preserving breast milk should be discussed with your child care provider.
  • When traveling, breast milk may be kept for up to 24 hours in an enclosed cooler with ice packs. Use the milk straight away, keep it in the fridge, or freeze it until you get to your destination.

How to thaw breast milk

The oldest milk should always be thawed first. It’s important to remember that first in, first out. Breast milk quality may deteriorate with time.

You may defrost your breast milk in a variety of ways:

  • Refrigerate for at least one night.
  • Place in a warm or mild water jar
  • Rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Do not microwave it as microwaving breast milk destroys nutrients and creates hot patches that may burn a baby’s lips.
  • Use breast milk within 24 hours after thawing it in the refrigerator. Simply count the 24 hours from the moment you take the breast milk out from the freezer until it is fully defrosted.
  • Use breast milk within 2 hours after bringing it to room temperature or warming it.
  • Breast milk should never be refrozen once it has thawed.


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “can breast milk go bad inside the breast?. “We also explained the shelf life as well as the best ways of storing it.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!