4 Ways To Warm Up Your Baby’s Bottle
A sound that will make you stop dead in your tracks is the cry of a hungry baby.
You get it: they are starving and they don’t have any other way to express themselves but cry.
No matter how often you bounce them, cuddle them, or swaddle them, nothing suffices until that bottle ends up in their mouth.
What’s a momma to do?
Get on it, and get that bottle good and ready!
When it comes to heating up your baby’s bottle, there are four acceptable ways to do so.
While all moms have their personal preference, it’s wise to understand all methods if you’re ever in a pinch.
Read on to find out how to heat up their milk, and also gain some other helpful feeding tips and heating suggestions.
A bottle warmer is the most popular way to heat up milk. It works wonderfully with breastmilk or formula (and can double as a baby food jar warmer when ready).
A bottle warmer doesn’t take up much space on a counter top and is fine to remain plugged in. Many often come with automatic timers, so they aren’t necessarily fire hazards, since they do the thinking for you.
Its reservoir should be filled up with water at all times so you’re ready to start heating things up. Also, you just need to hit a button to make it function, so it’s pretty brainless.
Many take mere minutes to warm a bottle to perfection and lots are also backlit, so you can have an easy time using it over night.
Bottle warmers heat bottles evenly and safely. However, you should still check the milk’s temperature before giving it to your child.
You can even utilize a bottle warmer on the go since some are designed to be used in your car’s adaptor port.
Simply keep a spare in the car or toss one in your diaper bag and go.
The countertop method is an older way to warm bottles, but is safe (to an extent) and effective.
It just takes time and lots of planning.
You literally place a bottle that has been chilled out on your countertop to warm to room temperature. This method can get a bit tricky because you need to decide how much to put out, and how often.
When your baby is first born, their eating habits are a bit hit or miss, so you don't want to take the risk of having milk go to waste, or even spoil and upsetting your baby’s belly.
But, once you begin to anticipate when your baby will eat (and also how much), you can always have a room temperature bottle ready to be used.
Using warm tap water is also an antiquated method, but is effective. Plus, you can do this anywhere!
Simply run hot water until it’s warm enough to change your milk’s temperature from chilled to room temperature. It’s that easy.
Many moms who anticipate a bottle in their baby’s near future will begin to run the water for a few minutes prior to feeding time in order to be ready.
While you probably could hold a premixed bottle under the warm water, this method is mostly used on breast milk bags and is also more effective.
The plastic bags are thin and milk can spread across the bag in a thin layer to gets warmed pretty quickly.
You can use the bag in a bottle that requires a liner, or simply pour the contents of the bag into a waiting bottle of your choice.
Lots of modern moms are opting to use an automatic bottle maker (like the Baby Brezza) if they are using formula to nourish their baby.
It’s designed to dispense a designated amount of formula and mix it with the right amount of water (6 or 8 ounces) that is warmed to a safe and desirable temperature, like a Keurig coffee maker.
This is especially helpful with night feedings, and the machine can be left on for six to eight hours at a time, so it’s already warmed up and ready to go!
You literally push a button and voila! You have one happy (and full) baby on your hands.
Precautions to Keep in Mind
While microwaves can heat up bottles, it can end up being a hazard more than a help.
When milk is heated in a microwave, it can result in uneven heating, which can burn the inside of a baby’s mouth. This is because the liquid inside the bottle continues to warm, even after being removed from the device.
Using your stove top also has similar results as using your microwave. Milk tends to heat up too quickly, unevenly, and then overheats as well.
The only “acceptable” way to use a stovetop to warm your bottle is to warm the water in a pan, and then place it on a non-heated surface.
You can place your bottle in the warm water using tongs, and moving the bottle around in various positions.
If you opt to use the “safe” version of stove top heating, you should still always do the hot test on the back of your wrist in order to make sure your bottle’s contents aren’t too hot for your baby’s delicate mouth.
Additional Tips to Consider
Here are some additional tips when it comes to heating up your baby’s bottle, heating methods, and choosing a great one to use:
- Get Your Goal Straight. Your goal should not be to heat the bottle, but warm it. When a bottle gets too hot, it actually destroys important properties like enzymes and other immunizing agents that your baby needs.
- Aim to Hit Room Temperature. The whole point of warming a bottle is to get it close to 98.6 degrees, which is what a baby experiences when they nurse from their mother. This also helps them consume their entire bottle with ease and comfort.
- Go for Glass. Many parents are hesitant at first to use glass bottles since they are a bit heavier and could break if dropped. However, there is no chance of any chemical leaching, which could come with the use of plastic bottles. Glass bottles also heat evenly and effectively.
- Look for BPA Free. In order to ensure safe feeding when heating milk, always use a BPA free bottle if you’re opting for plastic. Your bottle’s package should have that label and if you’re using a hand-me-down, or a bottle made outside of the U.S. Always contact that manufacturer to inquire about its composition.
- Swirl Gently. A huge misconception of bottle preparation is that parents need to violently shake up their baby’s bottle. Instead, gently swirl the milk to even out hot spots and keep everything consistent. Too much shaking can cause an excess of bubbling, which can upset your baby’s system.
- Do the Wrist Test. As mentioned above, the wrist test is an ideal way to make sure the temperature of your milk is safe. Your inner wrist is tender and more sensitive to heat, much like your baby’s mouth, so always sprinkle a few drops onto your wrist to test it before feeding. Plus, if you don’t feel any kind of warmth at all it’s a good indicator that you need to apply more heat to the milk so your baby can feed comfortably.
When it comes to warming your baby’s bottle, there are several acceptable ways to do so.
Some ways are more convenient and efficient than others, but truth be told, they all work in a pinch.
Choose a method that best works for you, and also consider the type of bottle you use, and some of the additional feeding and heating suggestions for a safe and enjoyable feeding experience.