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Thread: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Default What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    I pumped at work on Friday, but then I got the next 3 days off, so the milk that I pumped is in the refrigerator all ready to go. The next time my baby will eat it is when I work on Tuesday. That means it will have been in the fridge some of Friday, and all of Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I know the ideal is 72 hours in the fridge, with a maximum of 5 days. But, what is your opinion on keeping milk in the fridge? I could freeze it I guess, but I was under the impression that fridge milk is still better than frozen. But, if it exceeds a certain amount of days, would that be incorrect?

    Also, I could feed my baby the milk and pump while she's eating it, but I just find that to be a hassle, since it's already there. Anyway, would you all keep it in the fridge, or go ahead and freeze it; I've had it in the fridge since Friday.
    Breastfeeding stay-at-home mama of a 16-month-old daughter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    399

    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    I work Monday--Thursday if I'm not on call, so my milk would sit in the fridge the same amount as yours. According to KellyMom, fresh refridgerated milk is good from 3-8 days, 3 being ideal. What I do is on Thursday, I freeze my Thursday night pump (I am pumping more than LO is eating, so I also freeze any milk he hasn't taken during the week that is still in the fridge. On Sunday night, I pull out my oldest bag to thaw overnight for Monday morning. That way I am cycling through my oldest frozen milk. I'm of the mind that week old fresh is probably pretty equivalent to frozen, and this means that my freezer stock won't outdate, so I find it a good mix. I personally would never feed a baby a bottle when I was there; it just seems ridiculous or maybe I'm lazy
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    Fresh pumped milk is good in the fridge for up to seven days. The maximum is not 5. And even if it was, you are still fine. I wouldn't worry.
    Although I agree with the PP in terms of routine. If you have a freezer stash you should constantly be rotating it so none ever has to be tossed. So if you have stash to work through, best practice is freeze Fridays and pull out and use your oldest good milk on Mondays. (or Tues?) But if you have none, then don't freeze it and use it fresh on Tues. Which it still will be.

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    all the different "dates" finally made sense to me when i read in the Womanly Art book that milk is food. (duh!) and so people have very different "common-sense" food handling practices, that are still all basically safe. i would eat a vegan dish that got left out overnight, you might not, but those are mostly personal preferences, not safety issues. so 5 days, 8 days? both in the realm of common-sense food handling practices.

    but the rotation schedule pps put up above is common-sense food handling, too
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*auderey View Post
    all the different "dates" finally made sense to me when i read in the Womanly Art book that milk is food. (duh!) and so people have very different "common-sense" food handling practices, that are still all basically safe. i would eat a vegan dish that got left out overnight, you might not, but those are mostly personal preferences, not safety issues. so 5 days, 8 days? both in the realm of common-sense food handling practices.

    but the rotation schedule pps put up above is common-sense food handling, too


    Yeah, I like to think of the guidelines as just that. Ideally, milk is freshest in the first few days - the longer you go, the less good it is. But there is not a hard cut-off after which it turns from liquid gold into poison. So once in a while if you stretch things a bit, no harm done. Just do a quick sniff/taste test to be sure! I have gone a week before with pumped milk in the fridge. In my opinion, I'd rather keep it fresh in the fridge for a few days beyond prime goodness than put it in the freezer and kill much of the "living" aspects of it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    399

    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    In the spirit of "admitting" my choices, I often will reuse a bottle of fresh milk if DS doesn't finish it the first time around. I mean, I don't get it. Milk has antibacterial properties, the only "germs" on it are his, and then it's going back in his mouth. He's a healthy, immunocompetent baby. To me, it's even safer than me drinking out of my water bottle and then putting it in the fridge and then drinking it again. I just can't throw away perfectly good milk because he's not hungry when we try the first time. So that's my guilty secret.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    we did that too. there was a clear limit at which my milk went sour or bad - we couldn't heat it 3 times, or twice if it had been frozen, but likely each person's milk is slightly different.
    DS1 6/7/11
    DS2 10/29/13

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

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    I would let him drink out of it and leave it out. But that was like I pumped fresh milk and left it out and intended for it to be drank that day. So Hew could drink, not finish and drink again. But anything not finished by the 7-8hour point we tossed.

    Way too lazy for formula

  9. #9
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    Austin, TX
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    Default Re: What is the limit for keeping fresh milk in the fridge?

    Maybe you'll think I'm nuts for this suggestion ... but if I have milk in the fridge that's on the borderline, I just give it a taste test (dip a finger in and then taste). It seemed weird to me initially, but then I realized, if it's good enough for my baby to eat every day all day, then why should I feel squeamish about tasting it??? Honestly, it's the easiest way to tell if the milk's off at all. And of course your baby will let you know if it's off, because he won't eat it :P

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