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When you’re always on-the-go, learning how to warm breast milk is extremely crucial for you and your baby. Follow these steps on how to achieve this safely and efficiently! 

How To Warm Breast Milk: Useful Tips You Should Know

How to Warm Breast Milk

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You actually don’t have to warm breast milk, research suggests. It all essentially boils down to your baby’s preference. If they prefer their milk cold, then you’re in luck – you don’t have to go through the process of warming it up. However, if they want it the other way around, read on to find out how to safely warm breast milk

Five Steps on How to Warm Breast Milk

How To Warm Breast Milk

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Thaw frozen breast milk

Keep the frozen container where you store your expressed breast milk in the fridge to leave it to thaw overnight. 

However, there are instances where you wouldn’t have to put the breast milk in the freezer. It’s actually recommended that you store freshly-expressed milk in the main part of the fridge as long as its temperature is at 4 degrees Celsius or lower – the breast milk will be safe to use up to three to five days. 

Should there come a time that you need the stored breast milk right away or if you just left the breast milk in the fridge, proceed to the next step.

Place breast milk under warm running water or in a bowl of warm water

Do this while keeping the container sealed. Take note to use warm water and not hot water. 

It’s imperative to do this step because stored expressed breast milk should be warmed up gradually. Speeding up the process by placing it in a microwave or on a stove will only cause more harm than good.

Leave the breast milk in warm water for 1 to 2 minutes

Make sure to do this in a short amount of time, an estimate of one to two minutes. Some research has suggested that speeding up the heating process can affect the antibodies found in breast milk. 

Warming breast milk properly will help prevent it from getting too hot. This is also to avoid accidentally scalding your baby’s mouth and to keep the nutrients of the breast milk.

Swirl the container to mix the milk 

This is actually a very controversial subject among parents – to shake or not to shake (the breast milk)?

On the one hand, it is said that causing extra movement to the breast milk will lead to deconstructing the natural form of the protein that is contained in the breast milk. Proteins comprise of chains of amino acids that twist and fold together to build muscle, kill bacteria, and more of its function. Shaking the bottle with breast milk is said to ruin the protein’s structure. 

On the other hand, others suggest that shaking does not cause any harm to the baby in that sense. Instead, vigorous shaking of the breast milk simply leads to the baby developing excessive gas. Air will be introduced to the milk when it is shaken. 

There is still an ongoing debate regarding this subject but most studies suggest swirling the bottle instead – it’s better to be safe than sorry after all! 

Test the temperature of the breast milk

Again, just like in the previous steps, you want to make sure that the breast milk you’ll be feeding your baby won’t hurt them. To test the temperature, drop some of the breast milk onto your hand or wrist – the liquid should feel warm, not hot. 

Things You Should Remember: 

How to Warm breast milk

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  • Always thaw the oldest breast milk first because its quality decreases over time. 
  • Never use a microwave to warm breast milk, as mentioned earlier. 
  • Use breast milk within 24 hours of thawing.
  • Warmed breast milk should be used within two hours.
  • Never refreeze breast milk once it has been thawed. 
  • Never leave warm breast milk out at room temperature – it should be used within two hours.

Breast milk, expressed or not, should be handled with the utmost care at all times. You will be feeding your baby with it, and it’s their primary source of energy and necessary antibodies for their growth and development. Take down these notes and steps for more informed practice of breastfeeding! 

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve done these steps successfully! Share this article as well for fellow parents to know the proper way to warm breast milk.