There I was, standing in front of the microwave with a bottle of my wife’s breast milk. I had no idea what to do should I stick it in the microwave or not. I didn’t want to mess it up and have my baby go hungry.
I consulted the internet for some guidance, but I could only find articles telling me not to microwave breast milk in a baby bottle. None was giving me a clear reason as to why I shouldn’t.
I was starting to get frustrated. My baby was hungry, and I didn’t know what to do.
But which is better? The convenience of reheated milk or feeding my baby something that could be potentially harmful?
In this article, we’ll explore whether or not microwaving breast milk in bottles is safe and the alternatives you can use to warm up breast milk.
Can you Microwave Breast Milk?
No, you should not microwave breast milk in a baby bottle. Heating in a microwave can create hot spots in the milk, which can scald your baby’s mouth and throat. It can also destroy some of the nutrients in the milk.
So while it may sound convenient, don’t microwave heat breast milk or the bottle.
Does Microwaving Breast Milk Destroy Nutrients?
Most people aren’t aware that once breast milk is heated to about 104 degrees Fahrenheit and higher, it loses a lot of nutritional properties. And these effects can be widespread, from damaging antibodies such as SlgA, lactoferrin, probiotics, and other vitamins, and minerals.
Now you may be wondering, “What if I just keep the temperature lower in my microwave when microwaving breast milk?”
That is still a big No No! Heating breast milk in a microwave is not advised even if the temperature is reduced or kept low. Furthermore, microwaves produce uneven heating, so some parts of the breast milk will be hotter than others. So while you may touch the bottle and feel that it’s still warm or spray a bit on your hand, you’ll have no guarantee that there aren’t hot spots in the breast milk.
Also, keep in mind that hotspots aren’t the only concern; losing a lot of breast milk’s natural nutrients is another major concern why microwaving is bad.
So if you can’t microwave milk in a baby bottle, how should you warm it?
There are several ways to warm breast milk. For example, you can put the human milk in a bowl of warm water or hold it under warm running water from the tap. You can also use a bottle warmer.
How to Warm Breastmilk without a microwave?
So if you’re looking for an easy way to warm up your breast milk, the microwave is not the answer. But don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to warm human milk. In this section, we will explore a few different methods that you can use to heat up your milk without using a microwave.
Use A Bottle Warmer
A bottle warmer is a convenient way to heat up breast milk without using a microwave. Bottle warmers can be found in most stores and are very affordable. All you have to do is put the bottle in the warmer, and it will heat up the breast milk to a safe temperature.
There are also many different types of bottle warmers on the market. Some are designed for travel, while others are meant to be left at home. You can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Just make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully so that you don’t damage your breast milk or the warmer.
Use a Bowl of Warm Water
Since microwaving breast milk in a baby bottle or use a bottle warmer, you can warm it up in a bowl of warm water. Just put the bottle in the warm water and let it sit for about one minute until it’s warmed up.
Be careful not to use boiling hot water, as this can heat the breast milk to temperatures above 104 degrees which can also cause it to scald your baby’s mouth and lose nutrients. Plus, human milk doesn’t need to be too warm – the goal is to just bring it up to a lukewarm temperature.
You may use a microwave with this option to warm up the water quickly. All you need to do is fill a bowl with water and stick it into the microwave for about 60-90 seconds.
Also, make sure that you don’t accidentally put the breastmilk in the water while it is being heated in the microwave.
Hold it Under Warm Running Water
Another safe way to warm breastmilk without a microwave is to place the bottle of milk under warm running water. You just need to hold the bottle of breastmilk under some warm water for a few minutes.
However, like with the other methods, you need to make sure that the temperature of the water isn’t too high. To ensure that it won’t cause the human milk to get too hot, you should be able to leave your hand under the running water without much discomfort.
Once you’ve adjusted the water to the right temperature leave it flowing over the bottle for a few minutes. Then simply give the breast milk a few swirls so that the milk gets mixed around and is at a good even temperature.
Hold Your Breastmilk In A Thermos/Warmed Bottle
If you’re on the go, another great thing to do is instead of worrying about warming up your breastmilk is simply placing your bottle in a thermos of already warmed water. This method is also great for when you’re on an airplane.
Thermoses work on the same principle as bottle warmers do – they keep hot liquids at a temperature that is higher than 104 degrees for an extended period of time, which makes them perfect for warming up the milk. If you know you won’t be able to feed your baby right away and need someplace safe and secure to store breast milk, a thermos is a great option to use.
All you have to do is pour the water into a container and then put the bottle in it. Or if you have a large enough thermos you can simply stick the bottle in it to warm it when you need to.
Microwaving Breast Milk Myths
While writing this article, one common thing I came across while reading is the notion of sticking the bottle of breast milk in the microwave for 10 seconds. Some claim that you can do this to thaw the frozen breast milk quickly. While others swear that you can use it to warm milk based on the quantity.
However, the guidelines from the CDC still remain firm that you should never microwave breast milk. First, it can cause the breast milk to lose important nutrients, and secondly, overheating the milk might make it too hot for your baby to drink.
So no matter how much you want to warm up your breast milk quickly, do not stick it in the microwave. There are many other ways to go about warming your milk without a microwave.
Whether you need to make a bottle immediately or want something to store it in while you’re out and about, these methods can come in really handy for warming breastmilk without a microwave. Just choose the one that fits your needs best.
Can I put warmed breast milk back in the fridge?
No, if you take the breast milk out of the refrigerator, you have to use it within 24 hours as long as you don’t take it out of the fridge. Once it is brought to room temperature after you’ve warmed it up, you have to use it within 2 hours. You should never refreeze breast milk after it has already been thawed.
Can you microwave breast milk for 10 seconds?
Breast milk can be heated in a microwave for 10 seconds to get it slightly warmed, however, it will still have hot spots which isn’t good. So if you can avoid microwaving breast milk altogether then that’s the best thing to do.
Now that you’ve made it to the end of the article there are a few main things you need to walk away with. First, microwaving can cause the breast milk to lose important nutrients. Secondly, overheating the milk might make it too hot for your baby to drink. Additionally, once breastmilk has been microwaved, it is no longer safe to refrigerate and should be used immediately.
With the points above in mind, you can now go ahead and select any of the methods mentioned above when warming breast milk.
As for what I ended up doing, it was the first method. And I actually warmed up the bowl of water using my microwave since it was the quickest method. Then simply left the breast milk in it for a few minutes.
I hope that you now have a better understanding of how to warm breast milk without a microwave.