There is more than one way to warm a bottle, however bottle warmers have several advantages. They can save time, heat milk consistently to avoid hot spots and overheating, and offer many portable options. However, glass bottles are typically recommended with bottle warmers.
There’s one list that often causes the soon-to-be parents a little bit of stress – the registry. You’re faced with so many decisions about what you think you need.
What brand is best? How many do I need? Is a baby bottle warmer really necessary?
You might think it is since your baby may not like it cold, or it raises a new question in your mind.
Can babies drink cold milk? If so, why is a bottle warmer necessary?
Do I Have to Heat Cold Milk?
It’s not a medical requirement for babies to drink warm milk. You can take the bottle straight from the refrigerator to the babies’ mouth with no problem, other than they might reject it.
As long as it’s within the appropriate time limits, room temperature milk is just as beneficial as warm milk.
Furthermore, frozen breast milk is a great way to help soothe teething babies by turning some into ice cubes. You can place an inside a mesh feeder for your baby to suck on.
Some Babies Have Preferences
However, some babies won’t drink it cold if they’re used to being breastfed. The milk they get will be at the mother’s body temperature, and they become accustomed to that.
As the baby grows and gets used to bottle feeding, their preference might change, and cold milk will be more acceptable.
Until then, making your baby a warm bottle can be a pretty simple task.
Ways to Warm a Bottle
Never Heat in the Microwave
The first thing to understand about warming a bottle is that it should not be heated in a microwave.
This method can result in uneven heating, and hot spots in the bottle will burn the baby’s mouth. Stovetop heating is not recommended either.
Use Caution with Boiling Breastmilk
Boiling it can also create irregular temperature spots or overheat the milk altogether. You want to avoid overheating so that it maintains all the nutrients if you are giving breastmilk.
I know what you’re thinking: If I can’t microwave or prepare it on the stovetop, how can I heat milk without a bottle warmer?
The following methods are two safe ways to warm bottles, whether you are going to bottle feed breast milk or formula.
1. A Bowl of Warm Water
Start by warming water in a pot on the stove or in the microwave. It doesn’t need to be boiling or overly hot, but warm.
Take the bowl away from the heat source and place the bottle in it. Allow the bottle to sit in the water, and the temperature of the milk will increase.
Occasionally swirling the bottle will help heat the milk evenly.
2. Warm Tap Water
If you have frozen breast milk to thaw, you can place the bag under a stream of running tap water that has reached a warm temperature.
Once the milk feels warm, transfer it to a bottle. Similarly, to mix a bottle of formula, you can use warm or room temperature bottled water.
3. The Bottle Warmer
Yes, the third method to heat bottles would be the bottle warmer. There are several different types of devices on the market, and you need to choose which one is best for you.
Standard Baby Bottle Warmer
This is the most common type of warmer that people consider. It heats bottles one at a time by setting them in the center, filling the machine with water, and turning it on.
Some standard warmers will automatically shut off once the bottle has reached the correct temperature, but others need to be monitored regularly.
The Philips Avent Fast Baby Bottle Warmer heats bottles in approximately three minutes. It has a “smart” temperature control that helps parents avoid overheating by detecting the temperature and adjusts as necessary. It will also keep the bottle warm for up to 60 minutes.
Flask Type Warmers
The flask warmer is similar to a regular thermos. You fill it with boiling water and place a lid on the top to prevent anything from spilling.
When your baby is ready to feed, the bottle is placed inside the flask until it has reached a warm temperature. Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle Warmer even looks like a thermos.
This particular style of warmer heats a bottle in about five minutes and is an excellent option for moms-on-the-go!
Portable Bottle Warmers
While these usually take longer for the milk to heat up, they are convenient when you may not have access to a microwave and some water.
Some will warm by plugging an adapter into the car, while others operate when they are plugged into a USB port.
A third option acts like an ice pack would inside a cooler. Prince Lionheart On The Go Bottle Warmer has a pouch that contains “crystals” that activate by clicking a disk.
Once activated, the crystals warm up the insert and eventually heat the bottle. The insert and the bottle are placed inside a carrying bag to keep it warm for up to two hours.
It can warm bottles and baby food, so it is still helpful as they grow! The insert is reusable after boiling for 15 minutes in hot water.
Advantages of Bottle Warmers
There are a few good things about bottle warmers, or they’d be off the market by now.
One advantage most mothers appreciate is the time. While the bottle is warming, the mom can be soothing her baby or making something quick to eat.
It’s convenient enough that she can complete other simple tasks and not have to worry about water boiling over or the temperature getting too hot.
Additionally, the bottle warmer is made to warm the bottle the entire way through. Temperature consistency is another advantage to consider.
Newer models allow you to set a temperature, and the warmer will shut off once it’s reached. Again, no worrying about serving a bottle that is too hot.
Wide Variety of Options
The last advantage is the variety. As previously mentioned, the different styles available will match just about every person’s needs, including those requiring a plug and those that require batteries.
Disadvantages of Bottle Warmers
Typically, heating breastmilk or formula in a plastic bottle is not recommended. If there’s not an automatic timer, the bottle may melt. Not only is a bottle ruined, but if you’re breastfeeding, you’ve lost a few ounces of that precious liquid gold!
On the opposite side, some do not get hot enough to warm bottles all the way through. The temperature is spotty throughout, giving your baby an uneven meal.
The last disadvantage we’ll discuss is time. Some bottle warmers take a while to bring milk to a suitable temperature. It may not be a significant problem, but when you have a hungry screaming baby, it’s never too soon for that bottle to be ready.
Bottom Line- See What Works Best For You
So, do you need to put that bottle warmer on your baby registry? If you feel like that’s what best fits your lifestyle, then go ahead! Research the products before you buy.
Multiple negative reviews are a pretty good sign that this isn’t a warmer you’d want. There are many options to choose from, and you still might not find a style that you think fits your needs. It’s nothing to worry about, though.
Remember, there is one method of bottle warming that is practically cost-free. Using a microwave to warm a bowl of water will always be available.