Warm Milk For Baby

When babies are breastfed, milk is naturally at body temperature, so babies usually prefer milk that’s warmed to body or room temperature when they’re feeding from a baby bottle. Warmed milk is easier for baby to digest, as they don’t need to use extra energy to warm it up in their tummy.

Warm up milk for your baby. When babies are breastfed, milk is naturally at body temperature, so babies usually prefer milk that’s warmed to body or room temperature when they’re feeding from a baby bottle. Our quick and easy microwave method will make sure it’s the right temperature

When babies are breastfed, milk is naturally at body temperature, so babies usually prefer milk that’s warmed to body or room temperature when they’re feeding from a baby bottle.

Warm milk is easier for babies to digest and contains nutrients that are easily absorbed by their growing bodies. When breastfeeding, milk is naturally at body temperature, so babies usually prefer milk that’s warmed to body or room temperature when they’re feeding from a baby bottle.

When you breastfeed your baby, they get their milk at body temperature, so when it’s time to switch to a bottle they usually prefer warm milk. This can make their digestion process easier, as they don’t need to use extra energy warming the milk in their tummy.

Benefits of Warm Milk for Babies

A hungry, crying baby wants their milk right away and won’t understand waiting just a minute or two for you to warm up their bottle safely.

But why do we heat baby bottles? And what’s the best way to warm them safely and quickly to minimise baby’s tears?

Why should you heat up baby’s milk?

If you’re formula feeding, it’s recommended that you make up a bottle fresh. To make up a new bottle you need to use hot water so that bacteria found in the formula powder can be killed.

But also, babies like their milk warm. When babies are breastfed, milk is naturally at body temperature, so babies usually prefer milk that’s warmed to body or room temperature when they’re feeding from a baby bottle.

Warmed milk is easier for baby to digest, as they don’t need to use extra energy to warm it up in their tummy. So some parents find that warm milk is less likely to cause baby to have tummy aches. If you’re reheating a pre-prepared bottle the idea is just to warm a baby bottle by gently raising the temperature, not to make the milk feel hot.

Choosing the type of bottle (and teat) you want to use

There are a wide range of different baby feeding bottles to choose from and what you choose is very much up to you and your baby. Some babies will prefer the feel of a particular teat and you may have to try a few before you find the one that’s best for you.

If you’re transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, a teat that feels and moves like a breast should make the switch easier. All Tommee Tippee teats are shaped, move and stretch just like mum’s breast, because that’s what babies like.

Baby bottles are made from glass, plastic or these days, silicone. If you’re using plastic bottles, check that they’re BPA free. And always check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, sterilising and warming any baby bottles.

How to heat up a baby bottle

Microwave

Don’t heat your baby milk in a microwave. Microwaves don’t always heat things evenly, so even if your baby bottle feels okay on the outside, there can be hot spots in the milk that could scald your baby’s mouth. Overheating breast milk destroys the precious nutrients it contains.

It’s safer to use a baby bottle warmer or some warmed tap water to warm your baby’s bottle.

Bottle warmer

This is probably the easiest way to heat up a bottle of breast milk or formula that’s been stored in the fridge or freezer. Bottle warmers are usually fast and easy to use and take the guess work out of warming baby’s bottles to that ideal body temperature.

Make sure that the bottle warmer you choose is suitable for the types of baby bottles you’re using and always follow the instructions.

Boiling water

There’s no need to boil water to warm baby’s bottle. Remember, you’re just trying to gently warm the milk inside to body temperature. Fill a jug or bowl with warm water. The water should be hot enough to heat the bottle, but cool enough so that you can place your hand in it.

Place baby’s bottle in the warm water for no more than 15 minutes. Once the bottle is warmed, swirl it gently to make sure all the milk is warmed evenly, but avoid shaking as this can introduce air bubbles.

How to check for the perfect temperature

Have you ever wondered why people squirt milk from baby’s bottle on their wrists to test the temperature? It’s because the skin on the inside of your wrist is thin and sensitive, just like your baby’s, so this serves as a reliable guide. It should feel neutral – not too warm and not hot.

Bottle Warming FAQs

Is the perfect temperature the same for both breast milk and formula?

Breast milk comes from mum at a natural body temperature of around 37°C/99°F. So if you’ve cooled breast milk to store it or if you’re making up a bottle of formula, you should warm baby’s bottle to about the same temperature.

Can babies drink cold formula?

Yes they can. There’s no harm in giving your baby formula that you haven’t warmed up, as long as it was made up with hot sterile water and stored in a fridge after cooling. But babies tend to prefer their milk warm as that’s what they’re used to and it’s easier for tiny tummies to digest.

Does warm milk make babies sleep better?

Among the many wonderful things about breast milk is that it contains tryptophan, a substance that encourages the brain to produce the sleep hormone melatonin, so it’s most likely this that makes baby feel sleepy after feeding. Tryptophan can also be found in baby milk formula and in dairy products.

Warmed milk is easier for baby to digest too so less chance of discomfort at bedtime.

Can you overheat a baby bottle?

Yes and it’s really not a good idea. Overheating breast milk destroys the natural nutrients it contains. Rapidly heating and then cooling baby bottles can also cause baby bottles to become misshapen or damaged, which can encourage bacteria to grow inside.

Can you reheat breast milk and formula?

Bacteria can form in any milk especially when saliva gets into it during feeding, which is why you should not refrigerate and reheat any milk that you give to baby.

You should always use warmed formula to feed baby immediately and never reheat it. The ideal is to prepare formula as and when needed.

Warm Milk vs Cold Milk for Newborns

There’s nothing worse than trying to put off a crying, hungry baby. When they want food, they want it now and have little patience for the time it takes to heat a bottle safely.

So, how can you warm a bottle quickly without causing harm to your baby? By researching and experimenting, we’ve compared all the ways to warm baby bottles to find the safest and best methods to get your baby fed faster.

This is what we’ve learned.

The Basics of Bottle-Heating

First of all, let’s make one thing clear: It’s not necessary to heat a baby’s bottle; it’s simply a matter of preference (1). While young babies may especially have a preference for warm milk, older babies may be more open to tolerating lukewarm or even cold milk.

When a baby nurses, the milk that is released is warmed to body temperature, around 98.6 degrees. For us adults who like our coffee around 160 degrees, that seems downright icy. This is why “heating” a bottle is a misnomer.

Take Note

The goal is not to heat the bottle of milk but rather to warm it. Exposing milk to temperatures that are too high destroys its natural enzymes and immunizing properties.

Instead of working to “heat” the bottle, try to gently raise the temperature to match the typical temperature of the body. This will preserve the nutrients in the milk and prevent burning (2).

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There are several different ways to warm a bottle:

  • Microwave (not recommended).
  • Baby bottle warmers.
  • Stove-top (not recommended).
  • Counter-top methods.
  • Using tap water.

Warning

No matter what method you choose, experts agree: Don’t warm bottles in the microwave. It can result in uneven heating which can burn a baby’s mouth.

Bottles that are microwaved continue to “cook” after they’re removed, making the temperature increase further and putting your baby at risk for burns.

Heating bottles on the stove-top in boiling water can also cause milk to heat unevenly, warm too quickly, or overheat all at once. You can heat water on the stove and then use it to warm a bottle, but make sure to remove it from the stove before putting the bottle in to warm. Bottle warmers or a mug of warm tap water are a safer bet.

If your baby prefers their milk warmed, check our advice below to make sure you’re reaching that perfect temperature quickly and safely.

Graphic depicting how to warm baby bottles

Choose a Glass or BPA-free Bottle

When you’re heating your baby’s bottle, it’s important to be mindful of the possibility of chemical leaching. Glass baby bottles are a great choice to give you peace of mind, but some parents are dissuaded by their weight and the possibility of breakage.

The good news is that all plastic baby bottles currently sold in the U.S. are manufactured without bisphenol A (BPA). BPA makes plastics rigid, keeps plastics from growing bacteria, and prevents rust. It’s an estrogen-like chemical that can potentially cause health problems (3).

If you are using old or secondhand plastic bottles, you may want to check if they contain BPA. You may also need to check if your bottles were purchased outside the U.S. Consult the manufacturer to ask if you’re not sure.

If you prefer to use the bottles you have but aren’t sure about their BPA content, don’t worry, you can still use them! Just heat your milk or formula in a glass container, then transfer it to your existing bottles to avoid the leaching issue.

Heat Evenly

While most of these methods heat your baby’s bottle evenly, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Gently swirl (don’t shake) the milk to mix it and ensure there are no hot spots. You want the temperature to be consistent throughout the bottle.

Test the Temperature

No matter which method you use, remember — safety first! Always test the milk before giving the bottle to your baby to avoid burning their mouth. Dab a few drops of milk onto your inner wrist; you should feel almost nothing if it’s the appropriate temperature.

Most babies prefer milk that’s as close to body temperature as possible. If you feel no warm sensation on your wrist, the temperature is perfect. If it’s slightly cool, it may still be acceptable, but if you feel any heat at all, the bottle is too hot! Wait until it cools down before offering it to your little one.

4 Ways to Safely Warm Your Baby’s Bottle

Here are four tried and tested ways to warm your baby’s milk without causing them any harm.

1. Set the Bottle in Warm Water

One of the most tried-and-true bottle-warming methods is the counter-top method — and it requires no special equipment! Heat some water on the stove or in the microwave, or run the hot water tap. The water should be lukewarm but not boiling.

Remove the water from the heat source, and set the bottle in it, allowing it to sit and be gently warmed by the water. Swirl the bottle occasionally to make sure all the milk gets heated through, but avoid shaking vigorously as this can introduce air bubbles.

This method is easy and costs nothing, but it can take several minutes to warm your baby’s bottle to the desired temperature.

2. Warm Milk Bags Under Tap Water

If you’re feeding your baby expressed milk, the breastmilk bag is your new best friend!

Because the plastic is thin and the breast milk is spread across the bag in a thin layer, you can bring it to the right temperature quickly and efficiently by running the bag under warm tap water.

When it feels like it’s heated through, transfer the milk to your bottle.

3. Prepare Formula Bottles with Warm Tap Water

If you’re mixing a bottle of formula and have a sink on hand, there’s no need to go through the extra step of heating your bottle. Simply run warm water directly into the bottle when you’re mixing your formula.

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