Wondering: Can warmed breast milk be refrigerated again?
Yes, you can refrigerate the warmed milk again. However, there are three considerations to keep in mind when doing so.
First, you need to cool down the warmed milk and transfer it to the fridge quickly. Ensure it hasn’t stayed at room temperature for over two hours.
Second, you need to consume it within 24 hours of heating. Finally, if the baby has drunk some of the milk, don’t refrigerate the residual portion; dispose of it.
This post will give you all you need to know about safely handling warmed breast milk.
How to Handle Warmed Breast Milk Safely?
To protect your baby from any potential harm resulting from incorrectly handled warmed milk, follow these steps:
- Give the milk to your baby once you’ve heated it. Don’t leave it out at room temperature for over two hours.
- If you don’t use the milk within two hours, put it back in the refrigerator again.
- Keep warmed milk in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours. After one day, you have to dispose of it.
- If your baby has consumed only a portion of the milk, discard the other portion if not used within 2 hours. You shouldn’t refrigerate any leftovers. Instead, get rid of them.
Why Should You Dispose of Warmed Breast Milk within 24 Hours?
When your heated breast milk stays for over two hours at room temperature, it creates a favorable environment for bacteria to grow.
The same goes for warmed breast milk kept for over 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Your baby’s weak immune system can’t fight off harmful bacteria. As a result, these rapidly growing bacteria in the milk can cause severe problems for the baby.
How to Refrigerate Breast Milk Safely?
To refrigerate milk that has been warmed, follow these steps to ensure you safely store it for 24 hours:
- Use food-grade containers or breast milk storage bags.
- Ensure the container is airtight and you can close it firmly.
- Don’t store breast milk in ordinary plastic bottles or bags. These containers may react with the milk in low-temperature conditions, which causes contamination.
- Avoid using plastic containers that contain BPA substances.
How to Heat Refrigerated Breast Milk That Has Been Warmed?
Whether you want to heat or even rewarm milk after refrigeration, here are the steps to follow for optimum safety:
- Take out the breast milk and leave it aside.
- Heat some water until it becomes warm but not boiling.
- Pour the warm water into a bowl.
- Place the container of breast milk in the warm water bowl.
- Leave the milk in the warm water for a minute or two.
- Check the milk after two minutes to see if it’s reached the desired temperature.
- Once the milk is warm, transfer it to the feeding bottle, and then you can start feeding your baby.
As an alternative way, hold the milk container and place it under warm running water for a few minutes.
Nonetheless, we don’t recommend this method. That’s because you might hurt your hand if the water is hot.
It’s worth mentioning that refrigerating milk can cause the separation of fats from the liquid. So you might notice a layer of fat topping the milk.
This is normal and doesn’t indicate any issue with the milk. All you need to do is swirl the milk to remix the fats and liquid.
Things to Avoid When Warming Breast Milk
There are some safety procedures to consider when warming your refrigerator milk. Here are they:
- Avoid putting your finger into the bottle to check the temperature, as this can transfer germs inside the bottle.
- Don’t warm breast milk directly over a stove.
- Only warm milk, but don’t let it reach boiling temperatures.
- Don’t use microwaves to heat breast milk. Microwaves can cause unevenly distributed temperatures in the container, which makes “hot spots” in the bottle. This can burn your baby’s mouth.
We also cover a wide range of other interesting topics on our website, such as Do All Probiotics Need To Be Refrigerated?, Can Pumpkin Pie Be Refrigerated? and Can Sushi Be Refrigerated? Is It Safe To Refrigerate Sushi?
The Bottom Line
Can warmed breast milk be refrigerated again? Yes, you can refrigerate warmed breast milk and use it again within 24 hours.
That said, you can only do this if the milk hasn’t touched your baby’s mouth. You should dispose of any milk leftovers you’ve fed to your baby if not used within two hours after warming.
In addition, when warming the milk, ensure you do it safely by following the above-provided instructions.