Formula and Breast Milk Storage and Warming Techniques

Formula and Breast Milk Storage and Warming Techniques

Bacteria

Before we jump into storage safety, it's important that you understand why you need to safely store your formula or breast milk. Formula and breast milk should be safely stored to prevent the formation of bacteria. Storing in warmer temperatures result in faster bacterial growth which is why you should always refrigerate prepared formula and breast milk as soon as possible. You can also freeze or deep freeze breast milk which allows you to store your milk longer. A baby’s saliva can contaminate a bottle. It is recommended that you discard any remaining formula and breast after you have fed your baby.

Storage Safety

Formula, ready-to-use formula, and breast milk can be safely stored up to the recommended times in the tables below. After the formula or breast milk has passed these recommended storage times, your formula or breast milk should be discarded. Note that when storing formula or breast milk in the refrigerator, avoid storing them in the refrigerator door. The door is often the warmest location inside your refrigerator. Additionally, you should also review the manufactures suggested storage guidelines for powder and ready-to-use formula.

Recommended storage period for formula and breast milk at room temperature, refrigerator and freezer.

Thawing Breast Milk

If your breast milk is frozen, there are several ways to thaw your milk. You can either leave it in the refrigerator until it thaws, use a bottle warmer with an approved thawing cycle, use a lukewarm water bath or run lukewarm tap water over the bottle or breast milk bag. Avoid using hot water. Doing so may warm your breast milk above the recommended safe warming temperature of 104˚.

Bottle Warming

Warming bottles is not a requirement. Some babies prefer it while others may require it to help with digestion. Warming breast milk can also help with mixing the milk back to its original consistency after it has been refrigerated or frozen.

The most common ways of warming formula or breast milk include a bottle warmer, a lukewarm water bath or running lukewarm tap water over the bottle or breast milk bag. Bottle warmers usually warm formula and breast milk faster than warm water from the tap or from a water bath. Never warm a bottle in the microwave or on the stovetop. Doing so can result in hot spots which can burn your baby. You also run the risk of warming breast milk above the recommended safe warming temperature of 104˚. Studies suggest that warming breast milk above 104˚ may damage the critical nutrients in the breast milk that your baby needs.

Most bottle warmers do not measure the temperature of the liquid directly. You should test the temperature of the liquid before serving it to your baby. If you are warming breast milk using a bottle warmer, it is highly recommended that you use a bottle warmer that has been designed to warm breast milk to avoid over warming your milk.

Note that the BisbeeBaby Keddle (www.bisbeebaby.com), which is a formula and breast milk warmer, measures the liquid temperature directly using multiple sensors which ensures even and accurate warming. If you are using a bottle warmer that doesn’t measure the liquid temperature directly or doesn’t have multiple temperature sensors, it’s recommended that you swirl the liquid in the bottle or bag prior to feeding your baby to remove any hot spots that may exist.

Lastly, it is not recommended that you warm a bottle twice. After a bottle has been warmed, it should either be used and/or discarded.

References

The article was developed using information from the website’s links below. If you would like more information on safe storage or bottle warming techniques, we would recommend that you review one or more of the sites below.

https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding

https://www.medela.com/breastfeeding

https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/how-to-warm-breast-milk

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breast-milk-storage/