Can Breast Milk Spoil
Baby Toddler Safety

Can Breast Milk Spoil

Still, many mothers do not have the answer to ‘Can breast milk spoil?’

Breast milk is very different from dairy milk.

It differs in appearance, taste, and smell. It is actually quite confusing when it comes to identifying whether breast milk is spoiled or not.

Well, let’s see how you can check for spoiled breast milk.

Can Breast Milk Spoil?

Breast milk is at the peak of freshness at the time when it is breast pumped. But can breast milk spoil?

The best way to feed your baby is directly feeding him breast milk. It is rich in nutrients and transfers antibodies to the child, thus making him strong. 

When pumped breast milk is kept outside for long hours, it may get spoiled. But if you keep it stored in a refrigerator or freezer, it won’t invite bacteria.

This way, the milk is fully nutritional and healthy for the baby.

If you plan to go for a long trip, you must know that keeping stored breast milk shouldn’t be kept out for long hours.

Ideally, you can keep it stored at room temperature for not more than 4 hours.

Storing breast milk in the refrigerator remains ideal for not more than 72 hours. But it can last up to 8 days in a refrigerator.

Keep this thing in mind that stored breast milk has lesser nutrition than a fresh one.

Breast milk has an unfamiliar smell. Therefore, it is difficult to detect whether it’s gone bad or not. For a fun fact, breast milk can last up to 6 months in a freezer!

Related Post: How To Tell If Breast Milk Is Bad

1. Understand The Smell Of Breast Milk

To know whether the stored breast milk is spoilt or not, understand its smell first. A foul smell will indicate that the breast milk is no longer drinkable. 

I’m sure you might be familiar with the smell of spoilt cow milk. Well, spoilt breast milk smells somewhat similar to this.

It’s such a foul smell that you can’t even stand it.

But a foul smell doesn’t always mean that it is spoilt! That’s where the confusion pops in. 

Anyway, if you’re not sure whether the milk is spoilt or not, you should get rid of it. Why feed a bad diet to your little monkey?

2. Timing Of The Stored Milk

Well, this is a critical point to keep in mind. When the breast milk exceeds the ideal time limit for its storage, you should throw it away. 

Breast milk remains good for at least four days in the refrigerator. Try not to feed the baby stored milk if it exceeds four days. 

If you’re going outside and taking breast-pumped milk with you, feed the milk within four hours.

Beyond that, the milk may get spoiled and may harm the baby’s health. 

Anyway, the maximum shelf life of milk can be up to 6 months if stored in a refrigerator. But it’s best if you feed your baby fresh breast milk.

3. When Milk Isn’t Stored Properly

Can breast milk spoil? Of course, it can when it isn’t stored properly. Improper storage may lead to spoilt milk and its foul smell.

For example, when you don’t seal the milk properly, or there might be a tear in the container/seal. 

For breast milk storage, there are specific containers that are made of plastic. These containers are absolutely safe to store breast milk in a refrigerator.

For organized storage, you can even put a label on the container with the date when the breast milk is pumped.

This will help you to feed the milk before it exceeds its expiration date.


So, can breast milk spoil? Yes, it can! When stored for more than its maximum shelf life, it will obviously get spoiled. 

Before feeding the stored milk to your baby, ensure that it doesn’t smell foul. You obviously don’t want to feed unhealthy milk to your baby.

For a healthier and more nutritional diet for your baby, feed fresh breast milk to him. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Will I Know If Breast Milk Is Spoilt?

First of all, spoilt milk will give a foul smell, almost similar to spoilt cow milk. Next, if the milk is spoilt, it won’t get mixed when you stir it.

The milk will settle, and the fat accumulates at the top. 

Can Breast Milk Go Bad If Left Out?

Breast milk remains good for at least 4 hours if left outside at room temperature. It is ideal for feeding your baby the milk within 4 hours of pumping it.

When stored carefully in a refrigerator, it can last up to 8 days.

What Happens When A Baby Drinks Spoilt Milk?

Even a sip of spoilt milk can give your baby a really bad taste. He will most likely stop drinking it.

However, if the child has drunk a full bottle, it can cause abdominal pains, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

Related Post: How Do You Dry up Breast Milk Quickly?

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Iesha Mullah

Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She's an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.

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