How to Warm Breast Milk to Preserve the Nutrients

How to warm breast milk international relations and security network ’ t ampere easy as you ’ d intend. Follow these bare steps to preserve its living nutrients while bringing it to a safe temperature. If you ’ re a pump ma, the travel breast milk takes from breast to child is often filled with pit stops. And if one of those stops is the electric refrigerator or deep-freeze, it ’ sulfur crucial to learn how to warm breast milk safely and efficaciously .

Why You Should Warm Up Breast Milk

You can give pamper cold breast milk—it ’ s perfectly safe to do so—but, because breast milk normally comes straight from ma, babies are used to lukewarm, body temperature milk .

Another reason to learn how to warm breast milk is energetics, or the way the temperature of food affects the way it ’ sulfur digested. In general, room temperature and warm foods are thought to be easier to digest and are more nutrify than cold foods. sol warming breast milk would, in theory, make it easier for baby to digest.

What is the Ideal Temperature to Warm Breast Milk?

once warmed, lightly whirl summit milk and squeeze a few drops onto the inside of your wrist to test the temperature. It should feel relatively neutral against your skin—it should not feel cold, and it should not feel hot. Though I don ’ thymine expect you to take out a food thermometer, the below temperature ranges may help guide you :
32 to 78º F: It ’ s condom to feed pamper milk within this temperature range, but it may not be as optimum for pamper ’ s digestion or taste preferences. In fact, some babies may flat out refuse milk this cold .

98.6º F: This is generally considered the average convention soundbox temperature. It ’ s a good aim when warming breast milk, since it echos the temperature of milk coming directly from mama ’ south breast. Plus, it ’ s not hot enough to destroy any of the nutrients or pre/probiotic qualities of breast milk .

99º to 105º F: This temperature range is still considered lukewarm, so although it is slenderly higher than the recommend temperature for breast milk, it ’ s not hot enough to destroy the nutrients or pose a danger to baby .
106º F and up: Heating breast milk beyond halfhearted temperatures is not recommend. Hot melted can burn baby ’ sulfur mouth, plus studies show the quality of summit milk deteriorates when heated beyond commend ranges. ( More on that below ! )

How to Warm Breast Milk

now that you know the why, it ’ mho time to tackle how to warm breast milk. There are actually 4 unlike ways to warm breast milk safely, and in a manner that preserves the nutrients .

#1: Running Water Method

Step 1: Run warm, not hot, tap water
Step 2: Place a close bottle or base of breast milk under the run water
Step 3: Rotate the container slowly for a few minutes until the contents are affectionate
Step 4: Swirl to mix gently
Step 5: Test the temp by placing a few drops on your wrist before giving to baby
While this method acting of how to warm breast milk is effective, it’s not the most environmentally friendly. When possible choose for a method acting that uses standing warm water or no water at all ( like the methods below ), then less water gets wasted .

#2: Warm Water Bath Method

Step 1: Fill a bowl with warm water
Step 2: Place a closed bottle or pocket of summit milk in the container of warm water for a few minutes
Step 3: Swirl to mix gently
Step 4: Test the temp by placing a few drops on your wrist before giving to baby

#3: Countertop Method

Step 1: Place a close bottle or bag of breast milk on the countertop until it reaches room temperature
Step 2: Swirl to mix gently
Step 3: Test the temp by placing a few drops on your wrist before giving to baby

Though many moms leave breast milk out for a lot longer ( up to eight hours ! ) with no issues, the official recommendation is not to leave breast milk out for longer than two hours. This is specially important for preemies and babies with compromise immune systems. ( reference )

#4: Bottle Warmer Method

To learn how to warm breast milk with a bottle affectionate, follow the instructions on your own device ( instructions vary based on manufacturer ) — but be careful with this one. It ’ south easy to overheat breast milk in a bottle warm, which poses obvious dangers to baby, but could besides destroy some of the populate nutrients. ( More on that below ! )

How Not to Warm Breast Milk

Breast milk international relations and security network ’ metric ton merely a mix of micro and macronutrients—it ’ s besides teeming with “ live ” components. Breast milk is therefore particular, because it ’ south full of bacteria-fighting, immune-supporting, microbiome-building, and digestion-enhancing cells, enzymes, and probiotics .

Breast milk composition

( image source )
And research suggests overheating breast milk can damage or destroy some of these live components and heat-sensitive nutrients. One study found that high temperatures can reduce vitamin bc levels in front milk by a much as 24 percentage ! Another cogitation shows that warming milk above 143º F can besides destroy the beneficial probiotic bacteria and white blood cells in breast milk. While that sounds hot, the tap water in may households can reach 140º F or more. ( source )

They call breast milk liquid gold for a reason—you want to be indisputable to preserve all of those knock-down nutrients by learning how to warm breast milk by rights .

Follow these two rules to help prevent overheat :

Rule # 1: Never Use a Microwave to Warm Breast Milk

You never, always want to reheat breast milk in the microwave. ( source )

Because microwave ovens don ’ triiodothyronine heat liquids evenly, hot pockets of liquids can develop. And those hot spots can burn baby ’ randomness delicate mouthpiece. Plus, research suggests bottles that get excessively hot can explode, causing second-degree burns .

Rule #2: Make Sure the Water Isn’t Too Hot

Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate consumption boiling water ( or even hot exploit water for that matter ) to warm breast milk. Doing thus could lead to overheating. One sketch suggests heating bottles to 120º F causes the timbre of breast milk to deteriorate significantly. halfhearted water ( broadly between 98º and 105º F ) is enough to warm breast milk to body temperature—exactly what it should be !

Rule #3: Don’t Put Breastmilk Directly Into a Pan and Heat

First off, this can expose front milk to more bacteria and external influences. second, it is very hard to control temperature this manner. You risk overheating, which can not alone damage milk choice, but besides pose a danger to baby .

How Long is Heated Breast Milk Good For?

While newly pumped and expressed milk can be left at room temperature for vitamin a long as 6-8 hours ( 4 hours in a particularly warm room ), heated milk that was previously refrigerated or frozen has a inadequate shelf liveliness. Once milk has been warmed to room temperature, safety guidelines say you should use it within 2 hours.

Keep in mind that many moms leave warmed breast milk out for longer and don ’ t have any problem—the recommendations err on the side of caution. This is barely the safest option, peculiarly if pamper has a compromised immune system .

Because of this small window, it ’ s a good idea to store, dissolve, and strong breast milk in little amounts. Try to store two to four ounces of milk per bag or bottle. ( This is helpful for pace bottle feed, anyhow ! ) then, entirely thaw and warm what you ’ ll use to prevent waste. You can always heat up more !

Can I Reheat Breast Milk That Was Already Heated?

If you can, it ’ sulfur best to avoid feeding baby leftover milk. once baby drinks from the bottle, it is possible that his/her saliva can introduce bacteria into the breast milk. But summit milk is fluid gold, and some ma just can ’ t have a bun in the oven to see it go to waste. Some experts say the hazard is first gear and studies show that the antibodies in front milk aid fight any potential bacteria .
again, it ’ s best to store and feed breast milk in small amounts to avoid this trouble altogether. And, if you do use leftover breast milk, be surely to use it within a few hours. Talk to your healthcare provider about what ’ mho best for your child .
Note: For some babies—a child with a compromised immune system such as a preemie or a sick infant—rewarmed milk is not a good idea at all. In these cases, it’s safest to discard any unused breast milk.

Can You Refrigerate a Bottle After It’s Been Warmed?

As noted above, warmed breast milk should be consumed within two hours .

Some ma prefer to leave the bottle on the rejoinder, so they don ’ t need to reheat it. early ma prefer to refrigerate the milk .

The choice is yours, but it ’ s a good estimate to refrigerate any fresh summit milk, particularly if you ’ re outdoors or the room is hot and/or cheery .


Breast milk is amazingly resilient, but that doesn ’ t mean it never goes bad. While it can sit out for longer than you might expect, it can spoil.

Some signs of spoilage admit :

  • A foul smell
  • A strange taste
  • A change in texture or color
  • Separation that refuses to mix when swirled together

many food safety experts live by the say, “when in doubt, throw it out.” If you ’ rhenium uncertain about whether or not your stored breast milk is safe to serve, toss it. It ’ south always better to be safe than regretful !

How About You?

Do you warm your expressed or pumped breast milk before giving it to your baby ? How does your baby prefer breast milk ?