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Can You Thaw Breast Milk On The Counter?

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I am always incredibly forgetful when it's time to thaw something. I can't tell you how many times I've had to throw chicken in the microwave 20 minutes before I start cooking dinner or turn lunch into a midnight meal because I've forgotten a frozen ingredient. But with breast milk, it's not quite a hassle to defrost a bottle (unless your baby is screaming the whole time). For moms in a hurry, you know the pressure of getting breast milk ready to go, but can you thaw breast milk on the counter?

It happens often. You're throwing your clothes on for work, searching for that permission slip for your pre-schooler, and tossing Cheerios at the toddler when you realize you didn't thaw any breast milk for the baby and day care starts in 15 minutes. Surely you can just pull a bottle out and let it thaw on the counter as you brush your hair, right? What if you're leaving breast milk for the babysitter — can you just put the frozen bags on the counter so they're not only visible, but thawing, too?

Not exactly. According to KellyMom, it is not recommended that you thaw breast milk on the counter. Temperatures vary and who knows how long it could take and how hot the milk would get. Medela noted that the best way to thaw breast milk is to pop it in the refrigerator overnight. But look, life gets in the way and sometimes you pass out at 8 p.m. on a pile of laundry while waiting for The Bachelor to start.

In those situations, when you realize you didn't put the breast milk in the fridge and you're late for day care, you can thaw your breast milk another way. The Mayo Clinic suggested thawing your frozen breast milk by either placing it in a container of warm water or holding it under running warm water until it thaws.

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One thing to keep in mind, no matter how you thaw your milk, is how long it's been thawed. According to Medela, breast milk that has been thawed in the refrigerator is good for 24 hours, but if you brought your milk to room temperature quickly, like with the running water trick, it's good for about four hours. Just avoid leaving it out on the counter and you'll be fine, especially if you're using it soon. (Don't forget to take some chicken out for dinner tonight. I know you forgot that, too.)