Oh, the struggle to calm a hungry and crying baby. Baby’s patience is so low when they are hungry, and they have to wait for you to warm up their bottle. Below we will list some ways to warm a bottle at home or when you are on the go.
The essentials of bottle-heating
I want to let you know that medically it is not necessary to heat the baby’s bottle. It is more about preferences. Young babies tend to prefer warm milk, while older babies are open to tolerating cold or lukewarm milk. When you are nursing a baby, the milk that comes out from the mother’s breasts is at body temperature or 37-degree C. In comparison, the hot coffee we drink is about 70-degrees C. That is why sometimes heating the bottle is unnecessary.
Things to bear in mind
The end goal is not to heat the bottle but rather to warm it up. When you expose the milk to high temperatures, it will destroy its natural immunizing properties and enzymes. What you need to do is warm the bottle, so its temperature matches the temperature of the body. This is the right way to preserve all the nutrients from the milk, and also, you won’t risk burning your baby.
The most common ways of warming up a bottle:
- Baby bottle warmers
- Microwave (not recommended)
- Stove-top (not recommended)
- Using tap water
- Counter-top methods
Experts agree on one thing: avoid using the microwave to warm up the bottle. This is because it may result in uneven heating, and that can lead to burning the baby’s mouth. A bottle that can be used in the microwave tends to continue to “cook” even after you have removed it from the microwave. This means the temperature of the milk will rise, and it can burn the baby. Using the stove-top can also lead to unevenly warmed-up milk. It can either warm up too quickly or overheat the milk all at once. A safer way would be to warm up water in which you will place the bottle after you have removed the water from the stove. Your safest bets are using tap water or the bottle warmers.
Buy BPA-free or glass bottles
When you are warming up a bottle, you need to know that there is a possibility of chemical leakage. If you use glass bottles, you are eliminating that possibility, yet parents find glass bottles heavy, and there is the possibility of breakage. If you prefer using plastic bottles, the good news is that most plastic baby bottles are BPA-free. The BPA in plastic is an estrogen-like chemical that has the potential to cause many health problems. If you are planning to use secondhand plastic bottles, check if they contain BPA. If you can’t find any info on the bottle, you can ask the manufacturer of the bottle to give that information. Even if the plastic bottle contains BPA, you can still use it just to avoid heating the formal or the milk in them. You can get a glass container, which you can use to warm up the milk or the formula, and then transfer it to the plastic bottle.
Heat the bottle evenly
Most of the recommended methods will heat the bottle evenly, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Carefully swirl the milk to mix it up and eliminate the hot spots. If there are any, make sure the temperature is consistent all over the bottle.
Always test the temperature
It doesn’t matter which method you use; safety always comes first. Test the milk before you give it to the baby, thus avoid burning him/her. You can do that by dabbing few drops of the formula or the milk onto your wrist, and if there is no reaction on your skin, it is safe for the baby. Usually, babies prefer the milk’s temperature to be as close as possible to the body temperature. A cooler is acceptable, but a warmer might burn their mouth. If you think it is too warm, just wait few minutes to cool down, and then you can give it to your baby.
The four ways to safely warm a baby’s bottle
The counter-top method is one of the most used and easiest methods because you don’t need any special equipment to perform it. What you are going to do is warm up some water in the microwave or on the stove or simply use warm water from the tap. The water needs to be warm but not boiling. Before you place the bottle in the water, remove the water from the heat source, then the bottle will gently warm up by the water. Occasionally you can swirl the bottle so that the milk can warm up evenly. Don’t shake the bottle because that will create air bubbles in the milk. This method will cost you nothing, and it is super easy. It will take only a few minutes to warm up the baby’s bottle to the wanted temperature.
If you are using expressed milk for your baby, the breastmilk bag will come in handy. The bag is made of thin plastic, which allows you to spread the breast milk evenly and in a thin layer. That way, you can warm up the milk to the desired temperature very quickly by running warm tap water on the bag. When you have reached the desired temperature, you can transfer the milk to the bottle.
If you are using a formula to feed your baby, there is no need to warm up the bottle. Instead, all you need to do is mixing the formula with warm water directly into the baby’s bottle. If the tap water is not safe for drinking, you can boil it for few minutes, cool it down, and then mix it with the formula. The best temperature for the milk or the formula, which you can give to your baby without having a fear of burning him/her, is 37-degrees C.
When it comes to baby bottle warmers bear in mind that there are few different options on the market, and you need to choose one that fits the shape and size of your baby’s bottle. This method is the fastest and easiest because all you have to do is press a button, and your bottle will be warm up to the perfect temperature. The market also offers baby bottle warmers, which you can use in your car in case you are traveling.
There is no reason why you should give your baby cold milk. The issue is that most babies prefer warm milk. As we said above, your two best options are the baby bottle warmer and counter-top method. No matter which method you choose, always make sure the milk or the formula is evenly heated and not overheated. It is not easy to hear your hungry baby screaming and crying to be fed, but safety is your number one priority.