When it comes time to bottle feed your baby, whether the bottle is filled with formula or breast milk, parents often wonder if it should be warmed, room temperature or a cold bottle. So which way is the right way?
Many years ago, parents were told to warm their babies bottles. In fact, many parents today were probably fed with warm bottles. But just like cars, televisions and “social” contact, things have changed over the years, and that includes how to feed your baby.
Today, it is not necessary to warm your baby’s bottle. In fact, many pediatricians often warn against warming the bottle because the contents could be too hot for your baby and burn their mouth, tongue and throat. This is especially true if you warm a bottle in the microwave, as the liquid may not warm evenly.
Also, with today’s everything-is-a-health-hazard mentality, some believe that the plastic bottle could leak harmful toxins into a bottle that is being warmed in the microwave. (Most baby products today are BPA free to eliminate the chances of harmful toxins affecting your child.)
Can I Give My Baby a Cold Bottle? Answer: Yes.
So if you don’t have to warm them, do you have to chill them? The answer, technically, is no. It is perfectly healthy for you to give your child a bottle that is room temperature. If you formula feed, you can keep distilled water on the counter next to the formula canister and use that to mix for your baby’s bottle. Distilled water in a container will not go bad at room temperature.
If you breast feed, you cannot control the temperature that comes directly from your breast, but it is generally not too hot or too cold for your child. However, if you pump, you need to store your milk in the fridge or freezer because it can spoil if left at room temperature. Breast milk can last for several days in the fridge or several months in the freezer.
Storing and Serving
If you need to store your breast milk in the fridge, you can take the bottle right out of the fridge and give it to your baby. If you formula feed, you can mix your baby’s formula with cold water. If your baby is not used to cold temperatures, it may shock him or her at first, and they may be reluctant to take the bottle until it is at their desired temperature. Other babies may not even notice the temperature change and continue drinking away. Either way, a cold bottle is perfectly fine for your baby to consume.
If you formula feed, you need to make sure to check the label on your child’s formula. Most formulas, when mixed, only stay fresh in the fridge for 24 hours, and that is if they haven’t been touched by your child’s mouth. The label on your child’s formula will tell you exactly how you can store it and how long it will last.
You can use cold tap water or cold bottled/distilled water to mix your baby’s formula. The water does not have to be room temperature or heated first. Note that some pediatricians prefer that you use distilled water for the first couple months of your child’s life before using regular tap water. Be sure to consult with your child’s physician to learn about their recommendations.
If you worry about giving your child a cold bottle, you can let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to “warm” it up. It is recommended to not heat up your child’s bottle in the microwave or boiling on the stove. As previously mentioned, the liquid in the bottle may not heat evenly and can burn your baby.
Room Temperature is Best
Remember, when feeding your baby a bottle, it is best to give it to them at room temperature or a cold bottle. Either temperature is perfectly healthy for your child. If you want to warm a cold bottle, do not heat it in the microwave or on the stove, and simply leave it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. If you have any questions about feeding your baby a cold bottle, it is best to discuss it with your child’s pediatrician. He or she will be able to better discuss your concerns in more detail.