Whether you’re feeding formula milk or breast milk, or cow’s milk to your baby by a bottle, you need to warm it up real nice so that the milk is good for your baby’s health and helps him sleep peacefully. Milk that is slightly warm helps the baby sleep better. Ensuring that your baby’s milk bottle is warmed safely is important for good hygiene and keeping all the nutrients in the milk intact. High temperature kills the milk components making it not nutritious for your baby and also hot milk can scald your baby’s mouth. So warming the milk to the right temperature using a safe method is essential for your baby’s health.
Is It Safe to Warm a Feeding Bottle?
Many mothers worry about the safety of warming the feeding bottle of their baby. Warming the feeding bottle is completely safe if the temperature is gently raised to match the normal temperature of the human body. Heating the bottle or exposing the milk to high temperatures destroys the natural enzymes and immunizing properties of the milk. Whereas, warming the feeding bottle preserves the nutrients present in the milk and also ensures that the baby’s mouth is not burnt by the hot milk.
If you’ve been breastfeeding your baby and are planning to start feeding your baby with a feeding bottle, then you will also want to know about the bottles you should buy. Well, you must choose a feeding bottle which uses high-quality material and is BPA-free. A bottle made of inferior quality plastic when warmed can result in chemical leaching. So use a glass bottle or a BPA-free (bisphenol A-free) plastic bottle. BPA is an estrogen-like chemical that can cause health problems, so it is advisable to go for BPA free bottles.
Different Ways to Heat a Baby Bottle
There are many ways to warm up your baby’s bottles. Some of them are explained below:
1. Heat in Warm Water
This simple yet effective method of warming your baby’s feeding bottle is highly recommended as it requires no special equipment and is inexpensive.
How to Heat
- Heat some water in a vessel. The water should not be boiling just warm.
- Turn off the flame. Make sure the water is in a deep or wide container to easily keep the feeding bottle in it.
- The feeding bottle should be tightly capped so no water enters the bottle.
- Keep the feeding bottle in the warm water container for a few minutes.
- Swirl the feeding bottle occasionally gently to prevent air bubbles from entering the bottle.
- Remove the feeding bottle after several minutes when the bottle becomes warm.
2. Heat the Milk Bags
This method is effective for mothers who store their breast milk in milk bags. The milk bag is made from thin plastic so it warms up quickly and efficiently in warm water. It is also recommended as the express milk is warmed evenly by this method.
How to Heat
- Take out the express milk bag from the refrigerator.
- Keep it out for a few minutes.
- Heat some water in a vessel. Don’t boil the water just make it warm.
- Turn off the flame and keep the bag for a few minutes in warm water.
- Touch the milk bag to check the temperature of the bag. If it’s warm, remove it and transfer the warm express milk to the feeding bottle and feed your baby.
3. Use a Bottle Warmer
This is the most convenient method of warming feeding bottles or warming a bottle of breastmilk, which just requires setting the warming temperature, and your baby’s feeding bottle will warm to the right temperature and is completely hygienic. It is best suited for the times when you need to quickly feed your baby and have very little time to warm the bottle especially for warming bottles at night. To know how to use a bottle warmer see the below steps.
How to Heat
- Pour milk into the feeding bottle.
- Do remember to remove bottle parts while warming in the bottle warmer.
- Adjust the temperature setting on the bottle warmer to the temperature you want.
- Keep the feeding bottle in the bottle warmer.
- Turn on the switch and let the bottle warm in it.
- After it switches off, take out the feeding bottle.
- Feed your baby.
4. Make Formula Milk With Warm Water
In case your baby is on formula milk, then instead of warming the feeding bottle with formula milk, it is better to make formula milk with warm water. It saves time and reduces an extra step.
How to Heat
- Heat water in the geyser or in a pan on the gas stove for a few minutes.
- Take water in a pan and let it cool to the right temperature or till it’s warm, not hot.
- Take the adequate quantity of formula milk powder in the feeding bottle.
- Add warm water to the feeding bottle.
- Mix the formula milk powder with warm water to make formula milk. Make sure there are no lumps and it has a smooth consistency.
- Feed your baby.
- if you are wondering how long is a heated bottle of breast milk good for, then here’s what you need to remember: it is best to use it within 2 hours. Never re-freeze breast milk that has been thawed or warmed.
5. Heat In the Microwave
Heating the feeding bottle in the microwave is easy but it is not recommended as the bottle might feel cool on heating but the milk inside might be hot and scald your baby’s mouth. Also, a microwave heats the milk unevenly, so one part might be warm and other parts might be hot. Microwave heating is also not recommended as it may change the composition of breast milk if you heat up the milk on a high temperature. If you have no other option and want to heat the milk in a microwave, here’s what you can do:
How to Heat
- Take out the milk in a feeding bottle.
- Keep the bottle in the microwave and heat for about 30 seconds to a minute.
- Put it for more minutes if the milk is taken out of the refrigerator.
- Take out the bottle after it has warmed.
- Swirl the bottle gently to mix the milk in case it has warmed up the milk unevenly.
- Feed your baby.
Things To Remember While Heating Feeding Bottle of Your Baby
You can choose any method of warming the feeding bottle; however, there are few precautions to take while warming bottles to ensure it’s safe for your baby. Few things for safely warming the milk bottle are:
1. Do not heat the bottle: you need to warm it.
Remember you don’t need to heat the bottle just warm it to a temperature matching the normal human body temperature. So whatever method you use don’t heat the bottle.
2. Do not use boiling hot water.
In case you are putting the milk bottle in hot water to warm it or under the tap, don’t heat the water to boiling temperature to quickly warm the bottle. If you are wondering how hot should a baby bottle be – the temperature for the baby bottle needs to gradually rise and not quickly, as exposing the milk to a high temperature will destroy its natural enzymes and nutrients.
3. Do not use a microwave.
Avoid warming the bottle in a microwave. In a microwave, the milk and bottle warm unevenly which can cause burn to your baby’s mouth. Also, bottles warmed in a microwave, continue to heat even after removing them from the microwave. This will increase the temperature of the milk inside.
4. Switch off the stove.
In case you are warming the milk bottle in hot water boiled on a gas stove, remember to switch off the gas stove, let the water cool down a bit to a temperature where it’s warm, not hot before you put the milk bottle in it. Don’t put the milk bottle in the water heating on the stove. It will cause uneven heating of the bottle.
5. Swirl the bottle.
You can use any method to warm the milk bottle but before you give the milk bottle to your baby, swirl the bottle gently to mix the milk in case if it has warmed unevenly.
6. Test the temperature.
Always test the temperature of the milk before feeding your baby. Take a few drops of milk on your hand to check whether the temperature is right. If it feels warm, wait for a few minutes before giving the bottle to your bab,y and if it’s cold, warm it a bit again.
7. Do not re-use leftover milk.
Don’t reheat and feed your baby the leftover milk in the bottle as the bacteria will have entered the bottle, so always discard the leftover milk and wash the bottle before the next feeding.
It is of utmost importance to safely warm your baby’s feeding bottle to the right temperature. High heat can destroy the nutrients and immunizing properties of the milk and hot milk can scald your baby’s mouth. So choosing a warming method that is safe and warms the milk bottle gradually to safeguard the nutritional value of milk is essential.