Q. I’m 8 months pregnant and planning to breastfeed as much as possible. For the times when I’m out, I plan to pump and store it for later use by the babysitter. What’s the best way that the babysitter could heat up the bottle? I don’t really want her using the stove but I’m not sure if you can microwave breast milk. A friend of mine said microwaving breast milk can destroy the immunities and/or nutrients, can you microwave breast milk?
A. Warm breast milk, has been around since maybe the dawn of time, but storage and cooling of breast milk is a recent addition to the scene, as are microwaves. Microwaves allow us to heat and reheat food and drink with quick convenience, but the way they heat items can change nutrient content and destroy some of the good stuff that can come from our food, especially when it comes to your baby’s breast milk.
NO, You really shouldn’t heat either breast milk or formula in the microwave. If you need to heat your baby’s stored milk you should put the bottle with the milk in into a bowl of hot water and allow it to slowly raise the temperature of the milk in the bottle.
Microwaving breast milk destroys the natural antibodies a mother passes to the baby, as well as vitamin C. It takes a bit longer to heat it in a hot water bath but it won’t destroy the healthy and necessary contents of the milk.
Another knock against microwaving breast milk or formula is that microwaves don’t heat evenly and you can end up with hot spots that can seriously burn your baby. Since research shows that the milk will not heat evenly causing some spots in the bottle to be hotter, it’s just not a risk worth taking.
There are specifically designed bottle heaters on the market and there’s the tried and true hot water bath which doesn’t require anything more than a bowl or jug, and boiling water.