Does Formula Need to Be Warmed?

Breast milk provides the most optimal nutrition for infants. Experts agree that if you can breastfeed, you should. In fact, the world health organization suggests feeding your baby exclusively breast milk for the first 6 months. There are, however, a number of situations in which breastfeeding may not be the best choice. Under those circumstances, formula feeding is an acceptable and widely used alternative. You may have questions, such as “Does formula need to be warmed?” or “Will my baby like formula?” The following tips and information will help you decide which method is best for you and your baby.


Does Formula Need to Be Warmed for My Baby?

Whether or not you warm your baby’s formula is entirely up to you and your baby’s liking. Your baby may show a preference for cold, room temperature, or heated milk. If you plan on transitioning from breast milk to formula, serving the formula at a temperature similar to fresh breast milk can make the transition easier.

How to Warm My Baby’s Bottle

If your baby prefers a warm bottle, there are a few methods to heat your baby’s formula in a safe manner:

  • Run your baby’s bottle under a hot tap for several minutes.
  • Heat a small pot of water on the stove and place your baby’s bottle in it for a few minutes.
  • Use an electronic bottle warmer.

After heating, always shake the bottle vigorously before serving it to your baby. NEVER heat your baby’s bottle in the microwave. Heating the bottle in the microwave can cause “hot spots” within the liquid which can cause serious burns to your baby’s mouth and face.

Actual Mom’s Experience:

“I have been warming my little one’s bottle since she was a newborn, but recently I have been trying to get her to take a room temperature bottle. It would be easier for me, with my hectic schedule, if I didn’t have to heat the bottle up. I started by giving her a bit of room temperature tap water to see how she would do, she loved it! So now my husband and I have been able to give her room temperature formula and it’s so much easier on us, especially for those late night feedings.”

Posted 10/24/07 by montereyjaq

Watch the following video to learn more on how to warm baby bottles:

Does the Water to Mix with the Formula Need to Be Boiled?

Boiling the water used to make your baby’s formula has long been an important part of the bottle preparation process. Boiling tap or well water can help to remove any impurities or harmful bacteria that can be in the water; this distillation is why boiling the water has been recommended.

Recently, boiling water has been less recommended. In developed countries, tap water is usually clean enough to drink without boiling it; however, in rural areas or parts of the world in which water purity is an issue, you should always boil the water you intend to use with your baby’s formula.

More Information on Bottle Feeding

1. How do I clean and sterilize bottles?

You should clean and sterilize bottles before their first use. You can put all of your bottles in the dishwasher and run it through a hot or “sterilize” cycle. You can also boil the bottles and nipples in lieu of using the dishwasher. Once you have initially sterilized the bottles, you probably won’t need to sterilize them again. You can keep bottles clean by regularly washing them in hot soapy water.

2. How long can mixed formula keep in the fridge?

You should always refrigerate leftover formula. Use any mixed formula within 24 hours and use ready-to-mix formula or concentrate formula within 48 hours.

3. How long can a bottle keep at room temperature?

Room-temperature formula that hasn’t been used within an hour should be discarded.

4. If formula is left over, can I offer it again?

You should throw out leftover formula that has been served to your child. You can, however, make up a large container of formula in the morning and keep it in the fridge. From this container, you can pour out single servings of formula throughout the day.