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Can You Microwave Breast Milk?

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When storing breastmilk for later use, it must be kept under refrigeration as it is a perishable food item. Since breast milk is naturally lukewarm when it comes from the mother, it is common to heat the milk before serving.

Can you microwave breastmilk? It is not recommended to microwave breast milk as the milk you naturally provide a baby is lukewarm. When you heat breastmilk in the microwave, it heats unevenly and the hotspots can be harmful to your baby’s throat and mouth. 

The information provided in this write-up will help you to know more about heating breast milk in the microwave. This article details helpful tips to avoid any concerns with the best way to heat breast milk in the microwave.

Microwaving Breast Milk Basics

It is possible to microwave breast milk, however extreme cautions must be taken. After all, you don’t want to serve your infant scorching hot liquid that will burn their mouth and throat.

We are going to break down some microwaving basics for you to use when reheating breast milk. We will cover a few different methods to minimize the risk of hotspots produced in liquid due to uneven heating within a microwave.

Is it bad to microwave water for breast milk?

No, it is not bad to microwave water for breast milk as it is the best way to warm breast milk.

Actually, you should never microwave breast milk as the heat generated in a microwave is uneven. As a result, this can cause hotspots in the milk that could burn the mouth and throat of your baby. 

Moreover, microwaves can also damage the antibodies and nutrients in breast milk. 

To warm up breast milk, you can boil water in a medium sized container. Then, insert the baby bottle into the hot water bath and allow it to gradually warm up the breastmilk.

Does microwaving breast milk destroy nutrients?

Yes, microwaving can destroy nutrients in breast milk. Breast milk is a living fluid, so when it is heated in the microwave the nutritional properties and immunological components can be destroyed.

When breast milk is overheated in the microwave then it can reduce vitamin and mineral content in it, and also denature and inactivate the bioactive proteins. Denaturation can change the molecular structure of proteins in the body and break many weak bonds and links in the protein molecule. 

Thus, you should never microwave breast milk directly. You can use alternative methods to warm the breast milk to the desired temperature. 

These methods can be to put the bottle or bag of breast milk in a bowl, cup, or jug of lukewarm water for some time. You can also use a bottle warmer for this purpose. 

However, before giving the heated breast milk or formula to the baby, you must test its temperature with a thermometer. It should not be warmer than lukewarm or the temperature of your body, about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can you heat breast milk bottles in the microwave?

No, you should not heat bottles of breast milk in the microwave. Microwaves heat the milk unevenly which can burn the throat and mouth of the infant.

Actually, your baby is most familiar with breast milk that is the temperature of your body. You can heat bottles of breast milk to warm up the liquid to the desired temperature just by placing it for a few minutes in a container of hot water.

A bottle warmer is also a good alternative to warm up breast milk bottle. It will help you to warm the milk up to the level of your body temperature, 99 degrees F.

Either way you decide to heat up breast milk, never go above 100 degrees F as it can damage useful elements in it.

How long do you microwave breast milk?

It is not recommended to microwave breast milk, but if you have to microwave it then it should not be microwaved for more than a minute. Microwaves heat the milk unevenly which can burn your baby’s mouth and throat, additionally overheating can destroy nutrients in the breast milk.

Instead of using the microwave to warm up your breast milk, it is recommended to use a bottle warmer or put the bottle in a container filled with hot water. The main purpose of using these methods to warm up the breast milk is that your baby is more familiar with drinking lukewarm breast milk. 

Breast milk is alive with beneficial bacteria that is the temperature of your body when your baby drinks it directly from your breast. So you should not heat it more than body temperature or 99 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Both of these methods can help in maintaining the right temperature to serve breast milk.

Tips to Microwave Breastmilk

Microwaving breastmilk can be harmful to your baby, but if you do not have any other alternative then you can follow these tips to minimize the inherent risks.

  • Pour the breast milk into a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Place the bowl into the microwave to heat the milk for 1 minute.
  • Stir the milk and check its warmth with a thermometer. Otherwise, you can place a few drops on your hand, not on your wrist, it should feel lukewarm.
  • Nuke the breast milk for a few more seconds,
  • Stir the liquid to distrust any hotspots.
  • If it is warm enough, but not too hot to feed your baby, then pour it into a baby bottle and proceed.

In this way, you can avoid the formation of hot spots in breast milk which can be dangerous and potentially burn the mouth and throat of your baby.

How to microwave breast milk

Best Way to Microwave Breastmilk

Microwaving breast milk is not recommended as it can burn the mouth and throat of your baby by creating hot spots in the liquid. However, you can effectively warm up your breast milk in a microwave if you take a few precautions.

Babies usually drink breastmilk warmed up to the level of body temperature or at least room temperature.

The hot water bath is the safest and most effective method, start by microwaving a medium sized container fill with water until it begins to boil, careful not to superheat the water. Warm your breast milk by placing the bag or bottle of the milk into the hot water bath to increase the temperature of the milk to the level of body temperature or around 99 degrees F or 37 degrees C.

Another option is to transfer the breast milk into a microwave safe container. Nuke for 1 minute, stir and check the temperature. 

Continue nuking for 10 second increments until the desired temperature is met. Once the milk has reached a temperature near 99 degrees Fahrenheit, then pour it into a baby bottle and proceed with feeding.

If you have no other options and must microwave breastmilk in a baby bottle, then follow these steps:

  • Use a microwave safe glass or plastic baby bottle.
  • Only fill the bottle half full of breast milk.
  • Microwave for 10 seconds and swirl the bottle.
  • Nuke for another 10 seconds and stir the liquid in the bottle.
  • Check the temperature of the milk with a thermometer or by pouring a splash on the back of your hand.

If you decide to microwave breastmilk in the baby bottle, then make sure the thoroughly check the temperature of the milk before serving to your infant. 

After microwaving two times the milk should be close to room temperature. It is not recommended to go any higher than this as it is really easy to create hotspots that can burn your baby.

You don’t want to allow the breast milk to warm beyond than 100 degrees F as overheating it can damage the nutrients and biodiversity of the living liquid.