If you want to warm up breast milk from the refrigerator, there are a few things you should know. Check the temperature before giving it to your baby. Do not microwave it. Also, make sure to keep it warm, so it stays flowing.
You can decide whether to warm breast milk that has been kept before giving it to your baby. Since breast milk is warm when newborns nurse, many babies prefer it when they drink it from a bottle.
Warming breast milk improves its consistency after storage. The fat in breast milk tends to separate in the bottle when it is frozen or chilled. Breast milk can be mixed back to its normal consistency more quickly and readily if you warm it up or, at the very least, bring it to room temperature.
Learn how to warm breast milk and what safety measures to take by reading on.
Why is Breast Milk Heated?
Breast milk doesn’t need to be heated. The temperature at which breast milk must be used after being thawed is not critical. Your baby can eat it if it has melted into a liquid condition and is free of ice crystals.
However, a lot of infants choose warm breast milk. Breast milk that has been heated might lose some of its coldness, making feeding time more pleasant. During feedings, warm breast milk can also aid in calming and soothing babies.
How to Warm Breast Milk from the Refrigerator?
From the refrigerator, warm breast milk:
- Obtain breast milk from the refrigerator, and reserve it.
- Use a microwave or a teakettle to warm the water. Fill a mug or basin with extremely warm (not boiling) water.
- Breast milk should be placed in a bowl of warm water in a sealed bag or bottle. For warming, the milk should be kept in a sealed container.
- Breast milk should be left in warm water for 1-2 minutes to attain the proper temperature.
- Pour breast milk into a bottle with clean hands or, if it is already in a bottle, tighten the bottle nipple.
- If the fat has separated, swirl the breast milk rather than shake it to incorporate it.
- Check the temperature of the breast milk before giving it to your child in a bottle. Pouring a little on your wrist will accomplish this. It should be cozy but not sweltering.
Avoid sticking your finger into the milk bottle to avoid contaminating the milk with bacteria.
Holding the sealed milk container under hot water from the faucet can also warm it. This requires more time and water. Your hand could get burned or scalded.
How can Frozen Breast Milk be Warmed?
Frozen breast milk should be taken out of the freezer and allowed to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before being heated. Then, follow the same directions to reheat the breast milk that has been chilled.
You can heat breast milk straight from the freezer using the same technique you would use to heat it from the refrigerator if all you have is frozen milk and you need milk right soon. The only distinction is that you must soak it for at least 15 minutes in warm water.
Is Breast Milk Microwaveable?
Breast milk should never be microwaved. Because food isn’t heated uniformly in microwaves, hot patches might form, endangering your child.
Additionally, it is thought that microwaves harm the nutrients and antibodies found in breast milk.
However, you can heat the water for warming breast milk in a microwave.
If you are a mother, you might have heard that breast milk should not be microwaved. The reason for this is that the heat of a microwave can destroy the nutrients and other properties found in breast milk.
One important component of breast milk is antibodies. These antibodies help your baby fight diseases. It is also believed that the microwave can destroy these antibodies.
Another important nutrient in breast milk is lysozyme. Lysozyme is a protein that is essential for your child’s growth and development. Lysozyme is reduced when you microwave your breast milk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement on microwave warming of breast milk. They suggested that you do not microwave your baby’s milk and instead use warmers such as a bottle warmer.
Microwaves also don’t heat your baby’s milk evenly. This results in “hot spots” or small regions of the milk that are not at the same temperature. Hot spots can burn your baby’s mouth and throat.
Correct Way of Checking the Temperature of Breast Milk
Place a few droplets of breast milk on your wrist to check its temperature. It should be comfortable—not hot, but warm.
A touchless, instant-read thermometer is another option for checking the milk’s temperature before serving.
Breast milk should be stored at about 98.6 F or almost the same as the normal body temperature.
You risk giving your infant germs if you put your finger in the breast milk or hold the bottle to your lips.
Is a Bottle Warmer Necessary?
For warming breast milk or formula, several parents swear by bottle warmers. A bottle warmer is a straightforward device that you may use to heat a bottle.
Bottle warmer producers assert that their products heat more uniformly than a microwave. If they are genuinely helpful or simpler than steeping breast milk in hot water, opinions vary.
A bottle warmer’s possible drawback is the increased risk of warming breast milk and losing healthy nutrients.
Researchers investigated the maximum temperature various amounts of breast milk may reach in a bottle warmer in 2015. They discovered that the milk can reach temperatures of more than 80°F (26.7°C), which may hurt its nutritional value.
Which brand of bottle warmer was tested is not specified in the study. It could be beneficial to use a thermometer and check the temperatures of the breast milk when you use a bottle warmer if you’re interested in the convenience it offers.
How can I Use a Bottle Warmer to Warm Breast Milk?
Put the entire bottle in the heating section of a bottle warmer and follow the instructions in the handbook to warm breast milk.
The majority of bottle warmers take a while to achieve the correct temperature. To prevent overheating, keep an eye on the bottle warmer and disconnect it when not in use.
Using and Preserving Breast Milk
Depending on how much your baby generally consumes at one feeding, prepare to save breast milk in quantities ranging from 2 to 6 ounces. This may help you utilize less breast milk you need to discard.
Use the oldest breast milk that has been kept first, and always label it with the date it was expressed to keep the rotation fresh.
Breast milk can be kept in the freezer for up to a year and in the refrigerator for four days. After 90 days, however, breast milk’s acidity may increase, and its nutritional value may decline. Therefore, aim to use frozen breast milk within six months of when it was expressed for the greatest quality.
Breast milk that was pumped on various days can be combined and stored, but it should always be used as of the earliest, oldest date. And never combine frozen breast milk with fresh milk.
You can attempt simply refrigerating breast milk to use up your supply more quickly if your infant doesn’t enjoy breast milk that has been previously frozen.
In general, refrigerated breast milk is preferable to frozen breast milk since it is fresher and has more up-to-date nutrients and antibodies for the baby’s needs.
However, if you need to keep a lot on hand, such as going back to work, freezing breast milk is a smart option. The formula is still thought to contain fewer nutrients than frozen breast milk.
How Long can Breast Milk be Left Outside?
Breast milk may wind up sitting out for some time if your infant only eats intermittently or if you are traveling. Depending on the available quantity of germs in the environment, the safety of breast milk left out varies substantially.
Up to 77°F or 25°C, breast milk is safe to consume for:
For fresh breast milk, four hours. You should use, keep, or destroy it after four hours.
For previously refrigerated and thawed breast milk, two hours. After two hours, discard any leftover, thawed breast milk. Breast milk frozen and thawed shouldn’t be refrozen or heated.
When breast milk is left out, it should always be sealed in a bag or covered with a lid.
According to at least one study, breast milk may be chilled for up to 24 hours in an insulated cooler with ice packs. Use only containers and bags made exclusively for freezing human milk.
Does Heating Affect Breast Milk?
When heated and stored, breast milk may have a somewhat different appearance.
Breast milk may separate after being chilled or frozen. While the liquid in the milk falls to the bottom, the milk’s fat floats to the top. Once the bottle has warmed, swirl it to incorporate the solids.
It’s typical for your breast milk to change color after cooking. It might turn blue, yellow, or even brown. The majority of the time, this discoloration does not indicate a problem with your breast milk. Your infant can still safely consume this liquid.
Can Breast Milk be Overheated?
When breast milk is heated too much, the main danger is that it will burn your baby’s tender mouth and skin when they swallow it or touch the hot bottle.
Additionally, excessive heat depletes breast milk of many of the vital elements that your baby requires.
If you accidently heat a bottle of breast milk, you can quickly cool it down so your baby can still drink it. Make sure the breast milk is consumed within two hours, though.
When does Bad Breast Milk Occur?
Sometimes it seems like a bottle has been left out too long or the frozen breast milk in the refrigerator isn’t quite right. It’s important to remember that breast milk can spoil under these circumstances.
There are a few important indicators that breast milk has gone bad.
- The most noticeable signs of deterioration, like with cow’s milk, are an unpleasant odor and curdling. Your breast milk can separate, but it should combine quickly again. If it doesn’t, it might have deteriorated.
- You should taste your breast milk if you have any concerns. If it’s gone bad, it will taste strongly sour.
- Sometimes, breast milk that has been preserved will have a flavor or scent frequently referred to as “soapy.” Excess lipase in your milk is thought to cause this flavor. Although some babies reject the milk due to the change in flavor, this milk is still safe for your baby.
- If you think your milk is experiencing this problem, you can try fast chilling and scalding newly pumped milk before storing it. Try mixing it with freshly pumped milk if you have previously frozen milk that your baby won’t eat.
- Once the milk has been frozen and thawed, there is no known way to remove the soapy smell or taste. However, some mothers claim adding vanilla essence may make it more tolerable.
- If unsure whether your breast milk has gone bad, err on caution and discard it. Keep track of how old your breast milk in storage is. You may write the date and time on many freezer bags and bottles.
- Initially, use the breast milk that has the earliest date. Your freezer should be organized, so the older milk is at the front and ready to be removed first.
What Happens When you Consume Bad Breast Milk?
Breast milk that has gone spoiled shouldn’t be consumed. If breast milk is not stored correctly, if it is exposed to room temperature for an extended period, or if its expiration date has passed, it may deteriorate. Stolen breast milk can give rise to gastrointestinal problems like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Rarely, it can also lead to more significant health issues like infections.
To keep breast milk fresh and suitable for consumption, appropriate storage is crucial. Depending on how soon it will be used, breast milk should be kept in the freezer or refrigerator. Freshly expressed breast milk can be frozen for up to 6 months or kept in the back of the fridge for up to 5 days. Use chilled breast milk within 24 hours of defrosting. Additionally, it’s crucial to use the oldest breast milk first and to mark the breast milk with the date it was expressed.
It is better to discard your breast milk and express fresh milk if you believe it has gone bad. When it comes to your health and the health of your unborn child, it is always preferable to be safe than sorry.
Warming breast milk is a relatively frequent procedure, however, due to the many variables involved in the storage and reheating, safety and quality requirements cannot be guaranteed.
Since many babies depend entirely on frozen breast milk for nutrition, further research is required to determine the best way to use it.
However, breast milk often keeps well in the fridge and freezer and can be warmed to make it simpler for the infant to consume. Use only storage containers or bottles made specifically for breast milk.