Should You Warm Baby Formula?

Warming up Infant Formula Is a Preference, Know the Risks

Mother feeding baby with bottle on sofa
Blend Images - Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Q. When can I stop warming up my daughter's infant formula? She is nine months old and likes a warm bottle, but should I even be warming up baby formula?

-Sarah, Desert Hot Springs, CA

Since you have done it this long, you should likely continue until you switch her to whole milk once she turns 12 months old.

But you don't usually ever have to warm an infant's milk or formula. It is more a personal preference than anything else.

Some infants do just fine drinking formula at room temperature or even when it is a little cool. After all, once you switch to whole milk, you likely won't be warming it up anymore and will offer it right out of the refrigerator.

Since she is used to you warming her formula bottles, she might not appreciate your making the change right now. If she is a very easy going baby, she might not care though and you could probably give it a try if you like. Besides, not having to warm the bottles of formula is much more convenient.

A Few Risks Associated With Warming Baby Formula Bottles

When warming up infant formula, there are a few points to keep in mind before you start that stove or microwave.

Do not use a microwave. Because of the risk of scalding burns, remember to not use a microwave to warm your baby's bottles of formula. A microwave heats things unevenly and can lead to super heated pockets of formula in the bottle which can scald your baby's mouth.

Although many parents do use a microwave to heat bottles, then vigorously shake the bottle and test the formula before giving it to their baby, it still isn't a safe practice. It is safer to use a baby bottle warmer or some warmed tap water to warm the bottle.

Go BPA free. The type of bottle you use to feed your baby makes a big difference in how or whether you should be heating your baby's infant formula.

BPA stands for bisphenol A, which is a chemical that has been used since the 1960s in manufacturing many hard plastic food containers, including baby bottles and sippie cups, in addition to the the linings of metal cans used for liquid infant formula, according to the FDA (the U.S. food and drug administration). 

Since 2008, the use of BPAs in baby bottles has dropped out of favor with manufacturers, since BPAs have been associated with leading to certain cancers, disruptive to brain development and the reproductive system, including early onset of puberty. In 2013, the FDA supported an end to the use of BPA based epoxy resins in the lining of formula cans and recommends the following:

When hot or boiling foods (including water, infant formula, or other foods and liquids) come in contact with containers made with BPA, then traces of BPA get transferred on to the food. 

Boil water in a BPA-free container, allow to cool to lukewarm then mix with powdered infant formula.

  • Discard baby bottles, sippy cups, and other food containers that are scratched since scratches in plastics can harbor germs and release small amounts of BPAs (if they were used in the manufacturing of the container).
  • Check labels on bottles and containers for the recycle codes on the bottom—In general, plastics marked with recycle codes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are very unlikely to contain BPA. Some (but not all) plastics marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.

Source

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. BPA: Reducing Your Exposure. Accessed 

Continue Reading