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Thread: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    88

    Default Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    Hi ladies,

    My LO is 11.5 mo old now, and I recently returned from a business trip to Asia and pumped while there. (Hallelujah - made it through being away for a week, and he's still nursing!!) I wanted to ask advice about the length of time my milk was out of a proper refrigerator or freezer on the way home.

    My milk was stored in my room's mini refrigerator during my trip, which was decently cold but not ice cold. My icepack insert was re-frozen in the hotel's super-cold freezer each night so that it could be used in my bag while I was pumping away from my room each day. On the trip back to the US, I put all of the milk in Lansinoh bags inside of a small, soft-sided but heavily insulated cooler. On top of the milk I put two icepack inserts (which, again, had been in the hotel's freezer).

    Of course, my bag was delayed about a day behind me on the return trip. This means all of the milk was in the insulated cooler with the two icepacks for about 48 hours. It still felt chilled by the time my bag arrived, and we threw it right into the freezer. But now I am stressing a bit about using it because I'm worried it was out too long, and I don't want to do anything risky for the little guy. Of course, I also don't want to just toss several days' worth of pumped milk when we depleted our storage while I was away.

    Any advice? Is it safe to try giving him the milk? Are there any "tests" to ensure it hasn't gone off or has bacteria in it?

    Thanks in advance for any guidance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    California
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    416

    Default Re: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    Tough question, I don't know! I will be looking forward to seeing what others say, though.

    As a first step, can you taste the milk? If it tastes bad, I wouldn't risk giving it to LO. I don't know that it necessarily means it's safe if it tastes okay, though. I think the fact that it still was cool when you took it out of the cooler would work in your favor, but

    Sorry I can't be of more help!
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    middle of IA
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    Default Re: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    good for you for getting through a week like that!!

    just the smell/taste test. if it tastes ok, it is ok. (just like cow's milk.)

    my guess is - if it was still cold when you got it - it'll be fine. but probably only for a short window after thawing/heating - so make sure you're going to use it right away before you thaw it. i know my milk would spoil if DH heated it from frozen - he had to thaw first, then warm, and it never re-warmed, unlike my fresh milk. and i'd use it up soon, too, because things don't stay good in the freezer forever either.

    when i traveled for about 72 hours, i wasn't quite as careful with the milk, and we didn't get through it all at home before it spoiled. but we also didn't freeze it. even if you didn't get to keep ANY of the milk, the pumping was still worth it, for your supply. so try not to too much about any that you do have to toss.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    504

    Default Re: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    If it still felt cool when you got it, I'd say it's probably fine!
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    88

    Default Re: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    Thanks everyone for your feedback and encouragement! Good to hear it might be fine since it was still cool.

    I hadn't thought of trying/smelling it. Is it weird that I've never tried my own milk? I have put *every precious drop* in my LO, since we had weight gain issues in the beginning. So to be honest I'm not even sure what it should taste like. But I'm guessing if it's off, I would know.

    Thanks for the tip, too, on using it quickly after thawing ... duly noted!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    1,882

    Default Re: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lilpats-mama View Post
    I'm not even sure what it should taste like. But I'm guessing if it's off, I would know.
    yup, you'll know.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

    Nursing, pumping, cloth-diapering, babywearing, working professor mama with the awesomest SAHD ever.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    California
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    Default Re: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    Yup, you'll know if it's off. Breastmilk always tastes different from cow's milk, but should taste good, slightly sweet. If it's off, it should be very obvious--soured, rancid, and disgusting.
    First-time mama to Joshua, 10/29/11. 29 months and going strong! for 14 months; now finished with pump weaning!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Re: Longest milk can be stored in a cooler during travel?

    Hm, not looking forward to the taste-test, then!

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