Can Warmed Breast Milk Be Refrigerated Again? Here’s What You Need To Know

Can Warmed Breast Milk Be Refrigerated Again? Here’s What You Need To Know

Can warmed breast milk be refrigerated again? This question remains a headache for moms, especially when the babies can’t finish their meals at once. 

Fortunately, the answer is yes. The leftovers can stay in the fridge for about four hours while remaining good. 

This article will discuss some breast milk storage tips in detail. We also reveal how to avoid wasting leftover breast milk. Let’s read on to discover! 

Can Warmed Breast Milk Be Refrigerated Again? 

You can refrigerate the leftover milk. In fact, after warming it, you have two solutions:

  • Put it back to the fridge, and it can stay there for about four hours;
  • Feed your child immediately.

Refrigerating appears to be one of the most popular and simplest methods for storing breast milk. 

A cool environment offers better conditions for the freshly expressed breast milk to retain its quality than the room temperature. 

As a result, it’s not a good idea to keep expressed breast milk on the stovetop for too long. 

Also, do not refreeze thawed breast milk. The continuous temperature changes can ruin its nutritional content and trigger bacteria to grow.  

Refrigerating is possible in this case

How long can the warmed expressed milk last?

Consumable products, such as dairy, should never stay out of the fridge or cooler for more than two hours.

In the summertime, if the temperature rises beyond 90°F, reduce that interval to one hour. Bacteria may begin to thrive after that time limit.

Where to store warmed milk? 

The lifespan of warmed dairy is relatively short. You can choose from these solutions:

  • Room temperature: use it within two hours
  • Refrigerator: use it within four hours

If the storage time exceeds these limits, you should give the food away. Pay more attention when you keep your baby’s food at room temperature. 

How To Warm Breast Milk From The Refrigerator? 

The instructions below show you how to heat breast milk from the refrigerator properly: 

  • Take the breast milk out and leave it aside. 
  • Use a microwave or a tea kettle to heat water. Then, pour warm water into a bowl or a mug. 
  • Put the sealed breast milk bottle or bag in the bowl and leave it for about one to two minutes until it reaches the target temperature. 
  • Pout the heated milk into a bottle, or twist the bottle nipple if it is already in one. 
  • Swirl the bottle (do not shake it) to even the fat. 

Check the temperature of your baby’s food before putting it into your baby’s mouth. You can check it by dropping some of your fingers. It should be warm. 

Do not dip your fingers into the bottle to avoid spreading bacteria.

You can warm the baby’s food by placing it in a sealed container and putting it under very hot flowing water from the tap.

However, this method takes more time and requires more water. Your hand might potentially get burned or scalded.

Remember to check the temperature before feeding your child 

How To Prevent Wasted Breast Milk? 

No one likes to waste precious breast milk. Hence, many parents ask if they may test the limits after heating it.

Here are some suggestions if you’re discarding a lot of breast milk:

Only warm when you need it

This tip is the easiest thing to do: don’t warm the breast milk until you’re sure that you need it. 

Keep the freshly expressed breast milk or the leftovers in its storage units in the coldest part possible.

Previously frozen breast milk is edible if you know how to defrost it correctly. We will discuss this issue in the latter part of this post.

Warm what you exactly need 

Store in small portions

It’s straightforward to store huge volumes of dairy, such as eight ounces, because this amount is the capacity of many dairy storage containers.

However, giving such big containers of breast milk is not advisable. Unless you’re sure to use it up at once, freezing and thawing it in tiny batches is the best way to avoid wasting it.

Thaw frozen breast milk in the fridge

If possible, thaw freshly expressed breast milk in the refrigerator. Then, it can last longer while tasting good. 

Sometimes you find out you won’t feed your baby during the thawing process. In this case, you may be able to refreeze this liquid if you still see some ice crystals in the bag.

If you store breast milk in the refrigerator, you’ll get it 24 hours from the moment it gets totally defrosted.

If you use easy-to-pour storage containers, you may quickly pour some out to thaw and then store the remaining in the refrigerator.

The refrigerator is a great place for defrosting frozen food

Pay attention to the provider rules.

A child care provider or preschool may have guidelines related to expressing breast milk processing that they must obey.

These providers are frequently stricter than you are. Hence, be aware of the causes for throwing breast milk at the care facility.

Store properly 

The way you store breast milk significantly affects its quality and lifespan. Often, there are three main methods you can try: in the freezer, in the refrigerator, and at room temperature.

  • In the freezer

Frozen breast milk can last up to six months in the freezer. This lifespan is long enough for most parents to reuse it many times. 

Freezers can keep frozen breast milk food for when your child is with another babysitter or prepare teething popsicles, infant cereal, or homemade fruit smoothies.

However, you should never refreeze previously frozen milk once you’ve thawed it. If you don’t want to waste it, try to freeze it in small amounts. 

Dividing food into different tiny parts will save you from having to throw away thawed breast milk that you don’t use.

When dealing with frozen milk, one thing to bear in mind is that breast milk expands during storage. Hence, do not fill the container full.

You can learn more tips for thawing this liquid properly right here. 

Food lasts longest when stored in the freezer

  • In the refrigerator

You can store freshly expressed milk in the fridge for three days to freeze it for up to six months. This method may be the simplest to go for. 

Refrigerating is also an excellent way to thaw frozen milk. It can remain there for one day from the thawing time, not the time when you take it from your freezer. 

  • At room temperature

You can store breast milk at room temperature for four hours if freshly extracted and two hours if thawed. 

You can use any leftover breastmilk from your baby’s formula for up to two hours after they have finished nursing.

During your child’s first feeding, used food might get infected with germs from their mouths.

If you store it at room temperature, it is critical to use the leftovers within your two hours or discard them before bacteria blooms.

The food lifespan changes depending on where you store it

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about handling expressed breast milk. Please check carefully since you may have the same problems. 

1. Can you reheat already warmed breast milk?

There are no official guidelines from the AAP or CDC regarding the practice of warming already heated breast milk.

You can reheat your baby’s meal if it is still within the acceptable two-hour time range.

2. Do you need a bottle warmer?

Some parents like to use this tool while others consider it a waste of money. Before buying one, please check its pros and cons first.

Pros of bottle warmers:

  • A bottle warmer heats the bottles fast, which is very handy when your child cries at 3 a.m.
  • You can avoid overheating thanks to the built-in features of most bottle warmers. You won’t worry about feeding your kid a hot bottle anymore.
  • The warmers are simple to operate. Fill the bottle with breastmilk, put it in your warmer, press the button, and you’re ready to go.

Cons of bottle warmers:

  • If warm food is the only option given to your child, they will prefer it. While some mothers do not mind it, others believe it is an annoyance they cannot handle.
  • You can choose other simple items such as a bowl or a cup to carry warm water instead of buying more expensive warmers. 

3. Can you microwave breast milk?

Never microwave breast milk. Microwaves do not uniformly heat food, resulting in hot zones that might burn your child. 

Microwaves may also harm the vitamins and antibodies found in your baby’s food. You can, however, boil the water needed to reheat it in the microwave.

4. Can you refrigerate breast milk after baby drinks?

Yes. If you have half of a bottle leftover after nursing your child, put it in the refrigerator and use it for the next meal.


You can put the warmed milk back in the fridge or leave it at room temperature. However, since the room temperature may trigger more bacteria to develop, you’d better refrigerate your baby’s food. 

You should also bear in mind the breast milk storage method to keep the food safe for your feeding. 

Hopefully, after reading this post, nursing your little angel is not a challenging task for you. For any further information, please feel free to ask. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this!

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