It is your own choice if you prefer to warm the breastmilk before serving it to your babies. But, most babies would prefer it warm, for when they received warm milk when being nursed. Besides, it can help in maintaining its consistency after being stored if you are bringing breast milk in temperature or warming it.
Warming breast milk from the fridge:
- Set aside the breastmilk after taking it from the fridge.
- Using a microwave or teakettle, heat some water. Pour the water (not boiling, just very warm)in a bowl or mug.
- In the bowl of water, put the sealed bottle/bag of breastmilk. For warming, the milk must be kept sealed.
- For 1-2 minutes, let the milk stay there until it reaches the target temperature.
- With your clean hands, pour the milk in a clean bottle or screw the nipple of the bottle (if it’s bottled already).
- Never shake, only swirl the breast milk to combine with the fat if being isolated.
- Test the bottle temperature before serving. Pour a small portion in your wrist, it should never be hot, just warm enough.
- Never dip your finger in the bottle to avoid any bacteria or germs contaminate the milk.
Warming breast milk from the freezer.
In warming the breast milk from the freezer, you need to remove it from the freezer first. Next, transfer it to the fridge to defrost overnight. Then, do the steps on how to warm the breast milk from the fridge.
If you need an urgent supply of breast milk, yet it’s frozen. You may follow the same step on how to warm it from the fridge or do the same procedure on how to heat it. But, the difference is that you have to do keep warmer for ten to fifteen minutes longer.
Is it possible to microwave breast milk?
Never microwave breast milk. This appliance is not capable of heating the food evenly. Therefore, it may have some spots that could still be hot and may cause a burn. It is also believed that it can damage the antibodies and nutrients found in breast milk. However, as mentioned you can use the microwave in heating the water that you will use in warming the breast milk.
Do you really need a bottle warmer?
Some parents use the bottle warmer to warm either milk formula or breast milk. This is an apparatus simply used to heat a bottle.
While its manufacturers claimed its efficiency in heating evenly compared to microwaves, the opinions are still mixed if its useful or better steep the breast milk in a hot water.
The bottle warmer probable risk is the higher chance of overheating the milk instead, where the needed nutrients might be killed.
In 2015, research has tested ho warm the various portions of breast milk can enter in a bottle warmer. According to the result above 80°F (26.7°C), this has been interpreted to cause some bad effects on the milk’s nutritional value.
However, the said study does not mention the bottle warmer brand used in their testing. If you prefer the convenience of using a bottle warmer, you better test the breast milk reliably by using the thermometer.
Warming breast milk in a bottle warmer.
How to warm the breast milk with the use of a bottle warmer? Place the bottle in a heating location then follow the steps or instructions provided by the manual.
Commonly, it will take a few minutes to achieve the desired warmth with the use of this bottle warmer. You must focus on the bottle warmer to avoid overheating, and when not used, please unplug.
Is it fine to reuse previously heated breast milk?
Any breast milk that was previously warmed must not be restored or heated again.
There are instances that babies cannot finish the milk since they nibbled on their food. Yet, after 2 hours of sitting out, you better dispose of the leftover or used breast milk. This is to avoid the chance that milk goes bad and be prone to get some germs from the surroundings.
How long does breast milk sit out?
In the cases that your baby does eat on and off, or you are on a trip, the breast milk can sit out for some time. The safety of the leftover breast milk highly depends on the overall level of the bacteria around.
Breast milk is preferred to be under the temperature of up to 77°F or 25°C for:
- For 4 hours, if the breast milk is fresh. After the given time, you may use discard or store it.
- For 2 hours, if it is thawed or stored previously. You must discard any unused, defrosted milk right after 2 hours. Never reheat nor refreeze the milk that was already thawed or frozen.
- See to it that the breast milk is always sealed or covered when it’s sitting out, either a bag zipped or a lid.
- At least a single study stated that you can store some breast milk in a separate cooler for 24 hours with ice packs. Yet, always use a bag or bottle that is particularly designed for freezing human milk.
How to store and use breast milk
Plan to keep or store 2-6 ounces of breast milk. The amount varies on the needs of your baby per feeding or serving. This idea will help in reducing the amount of milk you may discard if not used or consumed.
Never forget to put labels or time and date when you store the breast milk and have a schedule of using them starting from the oldest stored. This will keep the rotation fresh.
If you store the breast milk in the refrigerator it can stay there for 4 days, while 12 months in the freezer. Yet, after 90 days there is a chance of the acidity rising which can minimize the nutrients. So to obtain the best quality, better use the frozen milk within 6 months or when expressed. The frozen breast milk is a better technique if you a lot to be available, for instance like you are returning to work. Because this is still believed to have more nutrients compared to milk formula.
As a new mom, it is so vital that you know how to warm the breast milk and how to keep it fresh for the supply and nourishment of your baby.