How Long Is Reheated Breast milk Good For? Reheating Guide and Alternative Uses

I’m sure I speak for a lot of mothers here when I say that wasting breastmilk feels like a crime! When you have spent so much time pumping and preparing breastmilk to feed your baby for them to then decide they’re not hungry, can make you want to scream! How long is reheated breast milk good for…Let’s find out as well as what else it can be used for to prevent waste. 

How Long is Reheated Breast milk Good For According to the Experts?

How long does reheated breast milk stay good for is a question many moms ask themselves. Now if your baby has fallen asleep or has not finished a bottle then you will need to know that as per the CDC’s recommendations, you should use reheated breastmilk within two hours of being warmed after being stored in the fridge or freezer. 

Your reheated breastmilk can only be fed to your baby within two hours of being warmed otherwise you risk compromising the safety and quality of the milk you are feeding to your baby.

This is because once your baby begins to drink from the bottle it will start to face bacterial contamination which can make the milk unsafe to consume if it has been left to sit at room temperature. Offering the same bottle of breastmilk back to your baby after two hours creates a much higher risk of the milk being unsafe for consumption as the bacteria can grow and creates a risk to your baby’s health. 

Unfortunately, once you have fully thawed your frozen milk, you can no longer re-freeze it which can mean it creates a lot of wasted breast milk time and energy- but there is some hope! If your frozen milk has still got some ice crystals present then it isn’t considered fully thawed and is safe to re-freeze. 

To keep your baby safe, following the CDC’s rules for freezing and thawing breastmilk means that you should always use breastmilk within two hours of being brought to room temperature. Remember that the amount of time that breastmilk will take to come to room temperature will vary depending on a variety of factors such as room temperature, location, and your freezer.

How Long Is Reheated Breast milk Good For

Other Uses For Breastmilk

Although it can be tempting to offer the milk after this time period to prevent waste, it’s not a good idea. But that doesn’t mean it has to be dumped. 

Spending so much of your day pumping breastmilk for your child to then see it go to waste can be heartbreaking, but luckily I have some handy usages to share with you, for breastmilk than is no longer safe to consume so you can savor every last drop of that liquid gold!

1. Baby Acne

I remember the shock of discovering that my newborn baby could get acne and wondering what on earth to do. After some research during late-night feeds, I discovered that newborns still have many maternal hormones circulating in their systems for weeks following their birth which can cause baby acne to develop almost anywhere on their body. 

Luckily baby acne will go away within the first three to four months of their life, but if you have some breastmilk that is no longer safe to feed your little one, why not try using it on their spots? 

Instead of traditional harsh creams with fragrances and chemicals, you can make the most of this free and natural product. It is quick and easy to apply and of course, is completely safe for your baby. 

Start by adding a small amount of breast milk to some cotton wool or a clean dry cloth and then dap a small amount on the affected skin and leave it to soak in as you would any other moisturizer. The breast milk will help to reduce inflammation and treat their acne. 

2. Ear Infections

Babies tend to suffer from ear infections between the ages of 6 months and 2 years old and can usually be treated from home, but this doesn’t make it any easier for the baby or you.  

Many people know of the uses breastmilk has externally but it can also be a great homeopathic alternative medicine to help soothe and treat your little one’s ear infection. Place 3 to 4 drops of milk into your baby’s ear and leave. Try to keep your baby still for a few moments so the milk has a chance to run further into their ears and get to work. 

It’s handy to know this trick will work for anyone in your family too! As long as the bacteria from the infection is located in the outer portion of the ear canal then the breastmilk has the potential to perform with anti-bacterial properties.

3. Sore and Cracked Nipples

I will never forget the feeling of sore and cracked nipples during those first few weeks of feeding my baby and feeling completely helpless at just how painful it really was. I spent a fortune on creams, lotions, and breast pads that all claimed to heal and repair the damaged skin caused by a bad latch. 

Once the latch is correct then you will still feel the pain of your cracked nipples and using your breastmilk is the best way to heal the skin and prevent it from drying out any further. Start by adding a few drops of breast milk to a clean breast pad and placing it over the affected nipple. These can be left in place until the next feed, where they can be changed for a fresh clean set of breast pads.

Remember that pain is usually a sign of a bad latch or another issue so make sure you reach out for help from an infant feeding specialist such as an IBCLC who can help you on your journey. 

4. Eczema, Rashes & Dry Skin

Breastmilk is known for its ability to support good gut health and has many biological components that can make this an accessible and free tool to heal many external issues too. 

Research carried out in 2019 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that breast milk can be as effective as hydrocortisone cream in treating eczema in babies and adults alike.

This means if your baby is suffering from skin issues you could introduce a milk bath into their routine using leftover reheated breastmilk that is no longer safe for consumption and see if it helps to improve their symptoms. 

Many mothers gather their leftover breastmilk to use in a bath and some even prefer it to traditional medicines as it doesn’t pose the same risks and side effects that some creams you may get prescribed do. 

5. Blocked Tear Ducts

It’s not uncommon to find during the first few weeks after birth your little angel gets a crusty buildup of gunk around their eyes. This doesn’t always mean they have blocked tear ducts, but the ability to produce and shed tears takes a few weeks to develop in your baby so you might not notice until then. 

Apply breastmilk to the eye topically and use a clean cloth to wipe away any of the gunk and buildup that is around the eye. Try not to worry as this condition will usually stop within their first 6 months of life as the ducts naturally open up painlessly.

6. Sunburn

The natural antiseptic properties found in breastmilk make it a fantastic all-around tool that can heal a range of skin problems, including sunburn! You may find older children and adults seem less than thrilled at the idea of applying breastmilk to their skin but the benefits that come with it are definitely worth it!

To treat sunburn you need to apply breast milk directly to your skin. Depending on how severe the sunburn is you can either soak a muslin square in breast milk and then apply it directly to the skin. If the sunburn is only mild you can add a few drops to a cotton swab and gently rub it into the affected area.

It will relieve the sore stingy feeling that comes with sunburn and can help the skin to heal at a much quicker rate compared to without the use of this wonderful free liquid!


How many times can you reheat breast milk?

You can only reheat breastmilk once as the process destroys the good bacteria and nutritional value in the milk which is crucial to provide your baby with the right diet to grow and gain weight properly.

Can you reheat breast milk more than once?

No, it is not safe to reheat breastmilk more than once. Reheating the milk destroys the good bacteria and nutrients that are found in breast milk.

Can you refrigerate breast milk after 4 hours?

Once you have freshly expressed breastmilk it can be kept at room temperature for six hours, but it is safest to properly store the breastmilk within four hours especially if you live in a warmer location

How will I know if breast milk is spoiled?

Breastmilk will naturally separate when left to sit, but spoiled breastmilk will not mix when swirled together and might have a sour smell and taste to it. If you know your milk has not been stored properly you should never risk feeding it to your baby.

What happens if baby drinks spoiled breast milk?

If your baby has accidentally drunk breastmilk that is spoiled or has not been stored properly then you need to make sure to keep a close eye on them. If they vomit then you can contact your pediatrician for information but if your child is not keeping down any milk or solids then you should seek medical advice.

Wrapping Up

If you were wondering how long is reheated breast milk good for, the quick answer is that after 2 hours of being reheated it should really be disposed of. The reason for this is that it could be compromised both in the quality of the milk as well as being unsafe for your baby.

But don’t panic at the thought of all that wasted milk, there are plenty of alternative uses for it that benefit both you and your baby’s health and wellbeing such as treating baby acne, sunburn, or even cracked nipples.

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