You don’t always have the luxury of spending an endless amount of time per day to warm your baby’s bottles the old fashioned ways; often times you’ll have a ton of other stuff going on at the same time and find that you’ll need to get things done quickly.
Or, and brace yourself – we’re about to talk about every mamma’s nightmare – God forbid you have a hungry baby while you haven’t even started warming their bottle yet. Yikes!
Good luck getting out of that one and stopping their endless crying anytime soon … In all fairness to the baby, though, they have a point. Being hungry sucks and they don’t know everything else you’re going through at the time to cut you some slack if you’re late for feeding time.
The following article will walk you through all the different methods of safely warming a baby bottle, along with all the steps required from start to finish.
How To Heat Baby Bottles
Regardless of whether you feed your baby formula milk or breast milk, learning how to heat a baby bottle the safe and easy way is skill that every parent should learn.
If you’re worried about any of this taking up an endless amount of your time, worry not – you’re looking at no more than 10 minutes spent from beginning to end.
1) Bottle Warmer
Possibly the most popular method of heating baby bottles is making use of a bottle warmer machine, especially if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night for this.
Why is this the most popular option? Because all you have to do is literally press one button and let the machine take care of the rest for you, having a warm bottle of milk ready for your baby in around just 5 minutes.
It doesn’t get any more hands off than this!
Before you go ahead and purchase a bottle warmer, make sure the one you get is compatible with the baby bottles you already have at your disposal.
Some of the more popular options on the market today are compatible with most baby bottles out there, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find the right one with a little bit of research.
2) Place Inside Hot Water
You can also warm your baby’s bottle by placing it in hot water for a while – and here’s how.
Step 1: Heat some water using a stove or the microwave, or just run some warm tap water that you collect that way
Step 2: Make sure that the bowl/pot/etc .. that you put the water in is large enough to properly hold your baby’s bottle (or bottles, depending on how many you’re planning to heat up at once)
Step 3: Only heat the water up so that it becomes warm at most, not excessively hot (and especially not boiling hot). If you can’t put your finger or hand in the water without feeling pain, then it’s too hot to put your baby’s bottle in.
Step 4: Take the water out from the microwave or off from the stove if you’re using those to heat it up, or stop the flow of water if you’re using tap water.
Step 5: Put the bottle inside the warm water and leave inside for some time (no longer than 10 to 15 minutes at most is needed in general). Make sure the bottle is fully submerged in the warm water. If any part of the bottle that contains milk is not fully submerged in the warm water, this will result in uneven heating and an unpleasant feeding experience for baby.
Step 6: While inside, gently move the bottle around so that all the parts get heated evenly. It’s very important that you do this gently, or else bubbles will form inside the bottle that will cause your baby to get gassy and feel very uncomfortable.
3) Letting Tap Water Run
Wherever you are at the time and have access to a sink tap, be that a kitchen, a bathroom at home or a public bathroom when you’re outside the house, turn the sink tap on and adjust it so that the water running is warm.
You don’t want the water running to be hot, just warm is what we’re looking for.
Get your baby’s bottle and seal it properly with a tightly closed cap and everything else needed to prevent any water from making its way inside and mixing with the milk.
Let the warm water run over the bottle for a few minutes, and make sure that all sides of the bottle get exposed to the warm water evenly so that the milk gets evenly heated.
4) Drinkable Tap Water
If the tap water you get at home is pure enough for you and your baby to drink, you can save a ton of time on everything heating-related.
How? Get an empty baby bottle, fill it with warm tap water that you’re sure is good enough for your baby to safely drink, put as much formula as needed and mix the two together.
That way, you won’t need to warm the bottle up because you’re already using warm water that’s ready for your baby to drink.
We’ll stress it again because of how important it is, though – always make sure your local tap water is pure and safe for your baby to drink without harm.
What Methods Should I Stay Away From?
Even though we would all tend to think that putting a bottle in the microwave is the fastest and easiest way to properly get it warmed, this should never be done.
Under no circumstance should you ever try warming up your baby’s bottle by putting it in the microwave. There’s a reason this is written by manufacturers all over most (if not all) baby bottles out there!
The only time it should be put in the microwave is when you’re sterilizing your baby’s bottle.
Trying to warm your baby’s bottle using a microwave will result in uneven heating, which can very well cause scalds and burns in your baby’s mouth and throat.
Another thing with heating baby bottles in the microwave is that these bottles don’t exactly begin cooling down removed from the microwave, the milk inside continues to increase in temperature for a while even after taken out.
2) Stove Top Heating
Another method that’s very popular when it comes to sterilizing baby bottles, but one you should stay away from when it comes to warming them, is stove top heating and using boiling water.
The same problems that pop up when microwaving your baby’s bottles are also common when boiling them – there’s a high chance they’ll heat unevenly, overheat, or just warm up way too fast (which means the milk will lose much of its nutritional benefits).
What Temperature Should I Strive For?
When heating your baby’s bottle, strive to only warm the bottle to get it to your baby’s body temperature.
This makes sure that all the nutrients in the milk remain intact, and the bottle is just warm enough for your baby to desire. The majority of babies out there like it best when their milk bottle is almost or the same as their body temperature.
What If I’m Dealing With Breast Milk Bags?
If you’re trying to warm up a breast milk bag instead of a bottle, your best (and easiest) choice is going to be running it directly under warm tap water.
The important thing, though, is for the plastic bag to be thin enough for the milk inside to get properly warmed, yet thick enough for the water coming down on it not to pierce into it and make the milk flow out.
Again, make sure all the milk gets evenly heated by moving the bag around and allowing warm water to get to all areas evenly.
And there you go! You’re now ready to empty the milk content of the bag into your baby’s bottle.
Important Issues To Keep In Mind At All Times
1) Hot VS Cool
There’s no rule set in stone that says you have to heat your baby’s bottle before having them feed from it.
It all ultimately comes down to what your baby prefers.
If you’ve previously tried giving them a cool bottle of milk before and they looked the happiest they’ve ever been jugging it down like there’s no tomorrow, then that’s perfect! You don’t really need to heat it up for them if they show signs of enjoying it cool.
In reality, though, only a few percentage of babies out there enjoy a cool bottle of milk as much as they do drinking a warm one – especially the younger ones.
Generally speaking, the younger a baby is, the more likely they are to refuse a cool bottle of milk – and vice versa.
2) Excessive Temperatures
Another critical issue you should be aware of is that you should never subject your baby’s bottle(s) to excessive temperatures.
Many parents who want to warm their baby’s bottles while on the go think that subjecting the bottle to high temperatures will end up getting it warmed up faster, but that’s definitely not the case.
Subjecting your baby’s milk to temperatures that are too high will end up stripping the milk from much of its nutritional properties, decreasing the overall quality of protein, and putting your baby at great risk of suffering mouth and throat burns.
3) Test It Yourself
A good habit to get into is to test the milk yourself before giving it to baby to drink. This way, you’ll notice if it’s too hot and won’t give it to them on the spot to avoid burning, or if it’s still too cool and needs a bit more warming up.
How do you test it yourself, exactly? Not by drinking from the bottle, that’s for sure. The last thing you should do is drink from your baby’s bottle, contaminate it and then give it to them to drink from it after you.
The best method is to pour a few drops of milk from the bottle onto your inner wrist and gauge the temperature that way. Why your inner wrist, exactly? Because it’s much more sensitive than other areas on your arm, and is the most accurate way you can gauge whether the milk is still cold, perfectly warm or too hot.
If you manage to feel any sort of heat that way, the bottle is too hot to give to your baby and should be left to cool for a bit.
If you don’t feel any sort of heat that way, the bottle is good to go and ready to be given to your baby to drink from.
4) Chemical Free
It’s extremely important for you to have your baby drink from chemical free baby bottles if you ever plan on warming them. At the very least, make sure the bottle is labeled as BPA-free, in case you prefer to stick to using plastic baby bottles and don’t really like using glass baby bottles.
On the other hand and if you’re indifferent about using either type, you could just buy some glass bottles and live worry free, since glass bottles are completely chemical free.
In case you’re not really sure about whether or not the baby bottles you already have at home are BPA-free, here’s how you can play it safe until you buy ones that are.
- Place your expressed breast milk or formula milk that you plan on feeding your baby into a glass container
- Warm it properly that way
- When the milk is all warmed up and ready to go, transfer the contents from the glass container to the plastic bottles.
This way, you’ll have minimized any chance of chemical leaching since you didn’t warm the milk while it was inside the plastic bottle.
5) Warming The Same Bottle Twice
Never warm the same bottle of milk twice – a bottle of milk should only be warmed once.
If you warm a baby bottle of milk and leave it outside to cool down, only to find out that it’s now become too cold for your baby’s liking, it’s best that you throw that bottle away and prepare another one.
Bottles that are warmed once, left to become cold and them warmed again are no longer safe for babies to drink because of rapid bacteria growth.
As a matter of fact, you should have your baby drink from the bottle as soon as it’s warm enough. Try to avoid warming it, leaving it to cool back down to the temperature it was before and then giving it to your baby to drink from.