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How Long Is Breast Milk Good For After Heating? Find The Answers Here

More and more women are making a choice to breastfeed instead of formula feed their babies. Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition you can provide for your little love.

Breast milk provides your baby with essential antibodies to fight off illness and essential nutrients to help them grow. There is not one formula on the market that can fully duplicate the nutrients, antibodies, and proteins that breast milk produces naturally.

Baby formula is merely a substitute for something that cannot be replaced.

Moms today are super busy and cannot always be with their babies during feeding time, so they go through the process of expressing milk from their breast and storing it appropriately. Storing breast milk means there will come a time when it needs to be heated up.

How long is breast milk good for after heating? This is the question we will explore today in this post.

By the end of this post, you should have all the information you need to not only preserve your breast milk after it has already been heated but also store it correctly.

Let's Talk Bacteria!

One of a mother's primary concerns in the first year of her new baby's life is bacteria and germs. We all wash our hands excessively in the first year of our baby's lives because of it.

Breast milk has live cells meant to kill bacteria. It has the greatest chance of fighting bacteria when it is first expressed from the breast.

Once it has been expressed, some situations can reduce its ability to fight bacteria and protect your baby from contracting germs and getting sick.

Freezing breast milk will kill off a portion of the bacteria killing properties in the milk. Your baby has bacteria in its mouth that will contaminant freshly expressed breast milk once they begin to feed.

Milk that has been stored in the refrigerator for at least eight days also exhibits less good bacteria than what is produced when it is first expressed.

Storing milk is no different than storing any other food. The only actual difference is breast milk has to be stored a certain way to make sure that it retains as much of the proteins, nutrients, and healthy bacteria as possible.

If you choose to freeze your breast milk, it is best to use it in a reasonable amount of time for your baby to gain the benefits fresh breast milk has to offer them. Refrigerated breast milk can and should be used within the first 24 to 48 hours of being refrigerated.

The good bacteria that grows in breast milk grows slower than bacteria produced in the manufacturing of baby formula.

The bottom line of it all is we want to retain as much of the good bacteria as possible for the benefit of our baby's well being. The easiest way of doing that is to make sure we store the breast milk appropriately, use it when it is nice and fresh, and most importantly, always be sure to clean everything that will come in contact with our breast milk to maintain the growth of good bacteria.

Can I Reheat?

There is no standard on how life will interfere with how you use your breast milk. Mother's go back to work and have to store their breast milk for future feedings.

Sometimes you will make a bottle for your baby, and they will fall asleep while you are warming it up. In this case, the bottle will be left to cool until your baby wakes up hungry and fussy.

These are the typical things that happen when you live your life on a daily basis. So, what do you do when you warm up a bottle of breast milk, and your baby does not drink it or does not finish it?

Do you just throw it out and hope to express more? Why waste a good bottle of breast milk?

It is not necessary to throw out the unused breast milk once it has been heated. You can reheat it if necessary.

Breast milk is still viable for your baby if you find you need to reheat it. You just have to handle it in an appropriate manner.

Your text to link...First off, it is important to note that you must be aware of how you should warm up your breast milk. Do not place the breast milk in the microwave or boil it on the stove.

Breast milk that is microwaved or boiled can get hot in some places and not hot in others. It can also lose all of its bacteria-fighting ability if it is over cooked.

If you freeze your breast milk, it is recommended you place it in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. The best way to warm up breast milk is to run it under a stream of warm water or set it in a bowl of warm water.

At the end of the day, there is no research that says anything is wrong with reheating breast milk. There are always going to be reasons why you have to reuse milk that has been warmed once.

Most mothers check to make sure the milk has not spoiled by tasting or smelling it. We cannot expect life not to give us reasons never to have to reheat a bottle.

So, there is no reason to be worried or concerned about it. We all just have to plan and prepare for it.

How Long Can Breast Milk Last After Heating?

There are some factors that help to determine how long breast milk can last after it has been heated. Some of the factors are:

  • Amount of contamination passed on from babies mouth
  • Amount of time since the milk was thawed
  • The temperature of the environment the bottle is in

No matter what you do, your baby will contaminate the breast milk simply by drinking from the bottle or cup. The amount of contamination the baby passes on will speed up the process of eliminating some good bacteria the breast milk contains.

There is no true research on whether or not milk contaminated by a baby's saliva is safe to reuse.

You can most likely reuse leftover expressed milk from a feeding if you refrigerate immediately after use for up to four hours after the initial feeding.

Provided your environment is not too hot, you can re-feed your baby breast milk that was kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours. We must all keep in mind that, as time goes by, breast milk loses its potency.

What Do Doctors Recommend?

There have not been enough studies performed on the subject of re-using expressed breast milk after you have heated it up and fed it to your baby, however, doctors have an opinion on the subject.

Doctors believe that parent should throw out unfinished breast milk fed to babies. They believe that this is safer than re-using breast milk even though there is no true evidence that it is bad to feed a baby previously expressed and heated breast milk.

There has not been enough research to prove otherwise. The amount of breastfeeding mothers with babies surveyed is too small to get a clear read on what is or is not safe for babies in this regard.

Breastfeeding is on the rise. More mothers are choosing to breastfeed and forego using formula.

Before formula, bottles, refrigeration, and microwaves, there were breastfeeding mothers making it happen for their babies every single day. We believe it is more important to understand the modern conveniences we have in our modern world and how they can affect how we do things.

It is also important to remember that mothers have survived without our luxuries and their babies grew up to be healthy and strong.

It is possible to reheat a bottle of breast milk after an initial feeding and not affect your baby in a negative way. It is also possible for you to store your breast milk for long periods of time and feed it to your baby when the time becomes necessary and your baby still receives all the necessary nutrients they require.

How long is breast milk good for after heating? The key to answering this question is simply to remember the rules of storage. If you store your breast milk according to the standards of breast milk storage, your breast milk can last up to 4 hours.

Keep an eye on the temperature of your environment because it will affect how long your breast milk truly will last. If you are somewhere where you can refrigerate your used breast milk, it is advisable to place it in the refrigerator until your baby is ready to continue to feed.

Use your better judgment when it comes to giving your baby breast milk that has been heated once and sitting out for a while. Check if the milk before you feed it to your baby as all mothers would.

Remember that mother knows best!

Hannah Tong

Hannah Tong is the founder of Omaby.com, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health.

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