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When producing milk, there are mothers who pump milk to store for later use. Not only does this save time, but it helps busy mothers who are unable to breastfeed as well.
One thing you should take note of when pumping milk to store for later is how to feed it to your baby.
While you can heat it, some may end up being unused until the later feeding, which makes you wonder: How many times can you reheat breast milk?
Well, this answer varies and you’ll need to make sure that you heat the breast milk correctly. So read on as I show you about how many times you can reheat breast milk and how to do so to feed a happy and healthy baby!
How Many Times Can You Reheat Breast Milk?
The answer here is YES. You are able to reheat breast milk, but you can only do so ONE time. Based on studies and research, it is recommended to reheat breast milk that has been partially consumed just once, as reheating it would destroy the good bacteria and nutrients found in breast milk.
Also, it is best to only reheat and use the breast milk within four hours, as there would be some bacterial contamination in the milk that comes from your baby’s mouth.
Here is an excellent video showing you more about reheating breast milk:
Basically, it IS safe to reheat breast milk once. But if it has already been reheated and remains unused after four hours, then discard it.
Like mentioned, reheating breast milk would depend on various factors, like from the way you stored the milk down to how long the milk has been sitting outside. I’ll be explaining more of reheating breast milk and when you shouldn’t do so in the next sections.
When to NOT Reheat Breast Milk
Yes, reheating your breast milk is okay, but there are times when you shouldn’t, such as:
- Do NOT reheat your breast milk when it looks milk it has been sitting outside for over half an hour (if your baby drank some from the bottle). Bad bacteria may have already gotten inside the breast milk, making it unsafe to consume.
- When breast milk is spoiled from improper storage or leaving it outside for so long, you shouldn’t reheat and use it again. You’ll know if breast milk has gone bad through its smell.
- If your baby is sick, don’t reheat breast milk to use again, as it loses its immunologic properties when reheated. It’s best to feed your baby a fresh bottle of breast milk from the fridge (and has been properly heated).
- You should not reheat milk previously frozen, as thawed breast milk will only have a very little amount of living immune cells, which prevent contamination.
How to Store Breast Milk Properly for Heating or Reheating
While you CAN reheat breast milk, it will also depend on how you store it. Storing your milk properly will ensure that you can properly heat and reheat your breast milk in the future. But how do you do so? Here are some tips to follow when storing breast milk:
- From the time you begin pumping milk until storing it in bottles or bags, make sure that your hands and pump parts are clean and sterilized. Place it in the appropriate storage bottles or bags and in the freezer or fridge, depending on when you will be using it.
- Thaw your frozen milk before heating it. Do not refreeze milk to thaw and reheat again.
- Label your milk according to when you pumped it and how long it will take until it expires so you know which bags of milk to feed first and what you should throw out if it is past the expiration date. Take note that breast milk can last for:
- Ten hours at room temperature
- Eight days in a fridge
- Two weeks inside the freezer of a fridge
- Three to four months in the freezer of a fridge with a separate door
- Six months to a year in a deep freezer
Tips on Reheating Breast Milk Correctly
Now that you’re familiar with reheating breast milk and properly storing it, how do you reheat breast milk to use for later? Here are some tips to follow:
- If your baby didn’t finish his milk, you can place it back in the refrigerator to reheat for their later feeding. BUT, breast milk that has been partially consumed and left in the fridge should be used within four hours before discarding it to avoid contamination.
- Reheat the milk by warming water on the stove then placing the milk container in the hot water. Do NOT let it boil and do NOT reheat the milk in the microwave.
- As much as possible, to avoid reheating or throwing away unused portions of milk, only take the amount your baby will be able to consume at a time. Your baby will require three to four ounces of breast milk during his first to the sixth month. Monitor the amount your baby drinks per feeding and adjust the amount of milk you store per bag according to how much your baby can drink in one sitting.
If you are pumping breast milk for your baby to store and heat up later, then you should also take account the unused breast milk to see if you can reheat and feed it again to your little one later on. While this is allowed, there are certain conditions to look after to make sure that you are feeding your baby quality breast milk.
I hope that this article answers your question: “How many times can you reheat breast milk?” Now that you know all about reheating breast milk and how to do it right, follow these tips and you won’t have to worry about feeding your baby pumped milk anymore.
If you have any questions or would like to share your tips and experiences with reheating breast milk, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.