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  1. #1

    Storing Breast Milk

    I am having difficulty storing breast milk for my baby. I am a full-time breastfeeding mother at home. When I need to go out for errands and leave her in the house, I make sure I have enough milk stored for her. I usually pump milk every night and store it in the fridge. I use bottle warmers for the milk. I noticed that every time it is left for a couple of hours on a room temperature or when exposed to sunlight, the milk curdles. I know that when milk curdles it means that it is already spoiled. How can it be spoiled when there is no contact with saliva? How long can I store my breast milk without affecting its quality?

  2. #2
    This chart gives wonderful information for storing breast milk. If you warm the bottles, the milk should be used immediately and then discarded. If you just expressed the milk, it can sit at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours. Is the milk spoiled or just separated? Breast milk will separate into layers after sitting, and you can gently shake or swirl it to mix.

  3. #3
    I think what is happening is the breast milk is separating into the fore milk (the more watery component which is produced first as you are feeding) and the hind milk (which contains more calories). It gives the expressed breast milk a separated or curdled appearance. This is perfectly normal and safe to use. When you pour the expressed milk into a bottle or cup for your baby the two components of the milk will mix back together. This article discusses why it is best not to shake the milk as it can affect the nutrients in the breast milk.

    In terms of storing the breast milk, the current guidelines are:
    -At room temperature for 4 hours (ideal) to 6 hours (acceptable), some sources state up to 8 hours is acceptable.
    -In the fridge for 3 days (ideal) to 8 days (acceptable).
    -In the freezer for 6 months (ideal) up to 12 months (acceptable).
    These are based on the advice from La Leche League International.

    I hope this has helped. If you have any other breastfeeding questions please post them here!

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Are you noticing the milk spoiling when you put it in the refrigerator? My first inclination is that it is separating, as ljmarsden and Jessica mentioned. It will separate whether you put it in the refrigerator or leave it at room temperature. If you are seeing it actually curdle or spoil (which is different from separation, where the cream rises to the top) post back and let us know.

    Warm regards,


  5. #5
    Thank you Jessica and ljmarsden!
    Thank you Kate!

    I tried to observe the changes with the bottled milk at a room temperature and it is separating, not spoiling/curdling! I gently swirled it and the milk returned to its original state. I prefer swirling it rather than shaking it because aside from the bubble formation which annoys me, I have read the link given by ljmarsden and I've learned that shaking affects the nutrients of the breast milk.

    Thank you so much! Now I know the difference of spoiled milk from separating of milk. Also the guidelines of milk storage was very helpful. I wrote in on a notepad and posted it on the refrigerator!

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Wonderful news So glad we could help. Please post any other questions that you may have.

    Warm regards,


  7. #7
    Sounds like you are doing a great job with the breastfeeding charibelle_925

    As Kate said above - please don't hesitate to post any other breastfeeding questions you have so we can help support each other.

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