Wed, 05 Mar 2003

The best way to heat up baby's formula

Dear Dr. Donya,

Do you have any advice for heating up a baby's bottle in the microwave?

-- Gale

Dear Gale,

Formula or breast milk heated in a bottle in the microwave can burn your baby's mouth.

Microwaves heat liquids unevenly so there could be hot spots that can scald the baby even though the outside of the bottle or a few drops of formula may only feel warm to the touch. Feeding temperature does not have to be warmer than body temperature.

The best way to warm a bottle is to place a filled bottle in a bowl or pan of hot water and let it stand for a few minutes. Shake the bottle after warming it to distribute the warmed milk evenly. Then turn it upside down and allow a drop or two of the liquid to fall on your hand or wrist. It should feel comfortable or barely warm.

But if you have to use a microwave, keep the bottle upright and uncovered during heating to allow the heat to escape. Heat the bottle for no more than 30 to 45 seconds. The most important thing to remember is to turn the bottle upside down at least 10 times to eliminate any hot spots and always test the formula's temperature before feeding it to your baby. It should feel cool to slightly warm.

-- Dr. Donya