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How long can breastmilk sit out at room temp?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My SIL is exclusivly pumping for her baby girl while she's in the NICU (baby was born at 28wks) Yesterday, she called to ask me how long bm can sit out because she'd accidently left some on the counter. I never pumped (well I did to relive engorgment a couple times, but it was very rare cause my kid would never drink it) but I thought I had read it was either 4 or 8 hours. So how long is it? Her milk was only out for 2 hours, so I'm pretty sure it's fine, but I want to tell her the real number so she doesn't worry.


post #2 of 9
I've heard anywhere from 6-10 hours. I once left mine out(accidentally) for about 5 hours and nothing happened. That was about a week ago so I would think she'd show symptoms by now. I'm sure only 2 hours is fine.

Here are some websites that might be helpful:



post #3 of 9
the only thing I'd wonder about would be that the general storage guidelines are for healthy infants, and NICUs often have VERY strict storage requirements. I'd imagine 2 hours would still be fine, but she might want to check with the NICU nurses.

FWIW, I left mine out routinely for 8 hours, and my kid still has all his major body parts.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

maxmama, the NICU currently has enough breastmilk so it's all going into her freezer now. She has a huge supply built up in her freezer so this milk will be not be used until everything else has. I'm surprised the LC didn't mention it honestly and I had to tell her.
post #5 of 9
The rule I use is 8 hours at room temp, 8 days in the refridgerator, 3 months in a top freezer and 6 months in a deep freezer.
post #6 of 9
from one of the breastpumping experts, Medela: http://www.medela.com/NewFiles/faq/coll_store.html
(for room temperature, 4 hours at 66-72 degrees Fahrenheit)

post #7 of 9
The NICU will tell you it can only be left at room temp. for an hour, in the frig. for 48 hours and the freezer for six months (and never in the door of the freezer, the temp. flucuates too much). I have read conflicting times on various wesites and in books.
post #8 of 9
I have a son who is now 7 weeks old and I just returned to work part-time so I 'm pumping while at work. I read in one of my books just the other day that breast milk can sit at room temp. for up to 10 hours without anything happening. I hope that helped.
post #9 of 9
Ameda claims eight hours
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