How to Warm Up Breast Milk Safely

How to Warm Up Breast Milk Safely

Becoming a mama sometimes feels like starting a new job without being given any instructions. There’s just so much to learn. Like how to warm up breast milk safely, for instance. How are you supposed to just know these things?
We’re firm believers that it’s all just so much better if we do it together.

So without further ado:

Here are the two major secrets for heating breast milk safely:

  1. Heat it up too much, and it may lose its nutritional value.
  2. You may not even have to heat it at all.

Curious? Let’s dive in.

In this article: 📝

  • Warming up breast milk – the lowdown
  • How long is warm breast milk good for?
  • Do you have to heat up breast milk?
  • How do I warm up breast milk from the fridge?
  • How do you warm up breast milk quickly?

Warming up breast milk – the lowdown

The WHO and the American Pregnancy Association both recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of your baby’s life – if that’s possible for you.

This is because mama milk is purpose-built to meet the nutritional needs of a little one.

Knowing how to store breast milk properly is important.

It gives you options if you’re not around – or if your partner, parents, or friends want to help with the feeding.

And beyond this, bottles make it possible to feed your baby breast milk even if they’re struggling to latch.

And it’s good for your breasts, too!

Expressing milk can be really helpful if your breasts are feeling uncomfortable and full.

How long is warm breast milk good for?

The CDC recommends you can store breastmilk in the fridge for the following amounts of time:

  • Freshly-pumped or expressed: up to four days
  • Previously frozen: up to one day
  • Leftover from a previous feeding — within two hours of the feed

And then, if you have a freezer that is 0°F or colder, you can store breast milk for these stretches:

  • Freshly-pumped or expressed: up to twelve months (although using it within six is best)
  • Leftover from a previous feeding — within two hours of the feed

Important tip? Never refreeze milk once it has been thawed.

So how do you heat it up when you’re ready? Do you even have to?

Do you have to heat up breast milk?

Nope, you don’t. It can be served at room temperature, or even cold.

But some babies might be used to the warmth of the milk flowing from your body.

And they’ll appreciate your effort in giving them a nice hot meal.

The problem is, as this study showed, heating milk above 40°C (or 104°F) may mean that it loses some of its important nutritional properties.

That’s why it’s important to follow these guidelines.

How do I warm up breast milk from the fridge?

If your baby likes it just as is, they can drink it straight from the fridge.

But there are also safe ways to warm it up.

Here’s how to heat up breast milk that’s been refrigerated.

  1. Place the sealed container in a bowl of warm water. Alternatively, run it under a warm tap. (Not too hot, as you don’t want to tamper with all that natural goodness that’s in your milk.)
  2. Always test the temperature before giving the milk to them. A few drops on your wrist should do the trick.
  3. Sometimes, the milk separates into liquidy parts and fattier parts. A simple swirl should shake things up.

How do you warm up breast milk quickly?

And here’s how to warm up frozen breast milk:

  • Follow the principle of first in, first out. Basically, use the oldest milk first.
  • Use one of these options: Get the milk out of the freezer and leave it in the fridge overnight. Thawing using this method usually takes about twelve hours. If you go with this option, use the milk within a day. Or place your sealed bag or storage container in lukewarm water or run the water over it.
  • Never use the microwave as it can get in the way of the nutrients your milk can provide your baby.

And that’s that. All the best, mama!

If you’re looking for support along the way, reach out to your Peanut community.

You don’t have to do this alone.

🍼 More on The 411:
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The 411 on Breast Massage
31 Best Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms
7 Breastfeeding Positions to Try
Pumping at Work: Tips & Advice
Caffeine and Breastfeeding: What to Know
Is it Possible to Increase Breast Milk Supply?
10 Foods to Increase Milk Supply
Yeast Infection Under the Breast: Signs, Causes & Treatment
When Does a Pregnant Woman Start Producing Milk?
Can You Overfeed a Breastfed Baby?
When Do Babies Stop Drinking Formula?
How Long Can Breast Milk Stay Out?
What is Power Pumping and Does it Work?
How to Hold a Newborn Baby
What To Do About Nipple Pain While Breastfeeding

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