Breast milk culture

Alphabetical Test listing

Breast milk culture-12423

Breast milk culture
Aerobic bacterial culture
• Culture
• Gram stain

Identification, susceptibilities and serogrouping will be performed on all microbiology isolates considered by the laboratory to be significant

Diagnosis of infection in premature infants


Breast milk is not an acceptable specimen for anaerobic culture.

Breast milk
Expressed breast milk

Sterile vial/container

5.0 mL
2.0 mL

Ask patient if she would prefer to hand express milk herself or have the provider do so.

Cleansing the nipple

  • Place a towel in the patient’s lap before irrigation.
  • Before milk expression, irrigate the nipple with sterile saline.
  • Blot the nipple with sterile gauze after irrigation
  • Cleanse each nipple with an alcohol wipe. Allow alcohol to dry.

Milk expression

  • Remove gloves and clean hands.
  • Apply clean gloves.
  • Position dominant hand in a ‘‘C’’ shape, with pads of the thumb and fingers ~1.5 inches behind the nipple.
  • Push straight back into the chest wall.
  • Roll thumb and fingers forward to express milk without touching nipple directly.
  • Allow the first few drops of milk to fall onto the towel.
  • Express 5–10 mL of milk into a sterile cup without touching cup to nipple.
  • Repeat for contralateral breast.

Sterile vial/container


ESwab (standard or mini):

Ambient - 48 hours

Refrigerated - 48 hours


Sterile vial/container:

Ambient - 24 hours 

  • Improper label (unlabeled or mislabeled)
  • Time delay between time of collection and receipt of specimen
  • Inappropriate timing of collection
  • Improper transport container
  • Improper transport temperature
  • Interfering substances
  • Inappropriate specimen type
  • Leaking container
AHL - Microbiology: M
Preliminary: 1 day
Final: 5 days



Additional CPT codes (if appropriate):
87186 – Sensitivities
87077 – ID

This list may not be all inclusive if there is the need to send the ID or sensitivities out to a referral laboratory