How to Heat a Bottle

Whether it's filled with formula or breast milk, learn the safe way to warm up Baby's bottle.

For bottles with formula:

Alexandra Grablwski

Invest in a bottle warmer. This is probably the easiest way to heat up a bottle of formula, especially for middle-of-the-night feedings when you don't want to wait for water to heat up on the stove. You can buy a warmer at stores like Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us, and be sure to follow the directions closely to avoid overheating.

Place the bottle in warm water. You don't need to boil water on the stovetop -- you can easily overheat the formula this way and it's not safe with plastic bottles, which can melt in the extreme heat. Instead, warm some water on the stove (or run some warm water from the tap into a bowl), and submerge the bottle in the warm water until it's room temp.

Skip the microwave. This will distribute heat unevenly, increase the chances of burns, and also deplete the nutrients in the formula. What’s more, a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published in the August 2018 edition of Pediatric says this practice isn’t best. “Since heat can cause plastics to leak BPA and phthalates into food, avoid microwaving food or beverages (including infant formula and pumped human milk) in plastic when possible,” says an accompanying report, adding that these chemicals have been linked to health problems.

For bottles with breast milk:

Don't heat, just warm. Too much heat can destroy the milk's enzymes and immunizing properties, so simply warm the bottle gently before giving to baby.

If breast milk is frozen, run the bottle under some warm water to defrost it.

Place it in a bowl of warm water. As the water cools, replace it with more warm water until the milk is warmed to room temperature.

Never use the stovetop or microwave. Boiling or microwaving is dangerous, since the milk can heat unevenly or overheat. Heating plastic bottles in the microwave can also lead to health problems, as stated in the report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

1 Comment

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