The Scoop On Paced Bottle Feeding (And Why You Should Try It)
So you have your breast milk stored safely in the freezer or refrigerator.
Now, what do you do with it?
Trust me: there is a right way and a wrong way to reheat breast milk. I’m here to tell you how it can be done correctly while maintaining maximum nutritional value.
The key is to heat it gradually and evenly, and definitely don’t overheat it.
You always have the option of buying a bottle warmer, but they aren’t necessary. I’ve personally never used one because I’ve mastered warming frozen or refrigerated milk simply by using water.
According to a 2015 study, bottle warmers have a tendency to overheat the milk, thus diminishing its beneficial properties.
Of course, whenever dealing with manufactured devices, always thoroughly read and follow the instructions, as every bottle warmer is different. Some heat the milk via steam, and some with water. The steam warmers use less water, but either way they get the job done.
The bottle warmer BabyGearLab recommends most is called Kiinde Kozii. Some of the valuable qualities they list include: “consistent, simple, user-friendly, and works with any bottle.” But the negative qualities listed are: “expensive, no end-of-cycle beep, and multiple cleaning steps.” No thank you.
How to reheat frozen milk.
How to reheat refrigerated milk.
Tip: I find that the cold temperature of the bottle changes the water, so check it periodically and change out the water for fresh lukewarm so it maintains its warmth.
Some babies don’t mind drinking their milk cold. You can try it and if it works, that’s great.
But I have a hunch that, especially in young babies under six months, cold milk could cause gas or tummy troubles, and warm milk just seems more comforting and soothing when trying to get your baby to sleep. So I recommend warming it to body temperature, if you have the time.
Once it’s warm, be sure to gently swirl the milk to combine the cream top with the more liquid bottom, as separation does occur during refrigeration/freezing, and it will also ensure that the heat is distributed evenly before you test it.
How do you know when you’ve reached the perfect temperature? Just put a drop on the inside of your wrist.
If it feels cold, warm it up a little more. If it feels warm, let it sit a bit to cool down. If it feels hot, definitely let it cool down before giving it to baby.
It’s very important that you’re careful not to scald your baby’s sensitive mouth and gums.
Always test the temperature on your wrist first! If you don’t feel any difference in temperature when the liquid hits your wrist, Goldilocks would be thrilled. It’s just right.
What do you do if you heat the milk too much or too quickly?
Don’t throw the milk away! It’s easy to accidentally overheat your breast milk, and if it happens now and then, don’t worry about it.
There will likely still be some benefits to it, and it’s not going to be bad for your baby. Just learn from your mistakes and be more careful next time.
The only time you should throw your milk away is if it’s truly gone bad…and you’ll know if it has. Just like cow’s milk, it will look and smell horrid, and you wouldn’t dream of giving it to your baby.
However, don’t be alarmed if your breast milk has a funny smell after freezing. According to La Leche League International, this is due to milk fats breaking down from being frozen, and it will not harm your baby.
Once you get in the groove of warming/reheating your breast milk, you’ll see it’s a piece of cake.
Just remember not to shock the vitamins and minerals out of it by heating it too quickly, and always remember to gently swirl and test it before offering it to your cutie pie.
This way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you did it the right way so your baby is getting the most benefits from your hard-earned liquid love.
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