A newborn may need to be fed every 3-4 hours, and many types of formula need to be prepared fresh and served warm.
Between preparing bottles, warming bottles, feeding the baby, and cleaning up, it may seem like your whole life revolves around this process.
So can you save time by keeping the baby’s milk in a bottle warmer? How long can you keep baby milk in bottle warmer? And are there any ways to make the process more efficient?
Let’s look at how to warm and keep the baby’s milk.
What is a Bottle Warmer?
There are many different ways to warm a bottle before feeding a baby, but a bottle warmer can make the task faster and easier.
A bottle warmer is usually a countertop appliance designed specifically to warm baby bottles.
Bottle warmers take the “guesswork” out of determining the right temperature for a bottle, with automatic programming that heats bottles to the right temperature, preserving delicate nutrients, and making it comfortable for the baby to drink.
They make warming bottles faster and easier than doing it yourself.
How Long Can You Keep Baby Milk in Bottle Warmer?
Once it is warm, the baby’s milk should not stay in the bottle warmer for more than 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the ideal temperature for feeding a baby (98-104°F) also happens to be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
When allowed to remain at that temperature, unhealthy germs can grow in the bottle. A warmed bottle should be used immediately.
If it isn’t used, it should be removed from the warmer within 15 minutes, and used within an hour. Baby milk that has been warmed and not used within the hour should be discarded.
How Long Can Baby Milk Stay at Room Temperature?
The guidelines for safe feeding of baby milk can depend on whether you are feeding breast milk, prepared formula, or concentrated formula.
Here is a quick overview of how long these different baby milk types can be stored:
Freshly expressed breast milk can stay at room temperature for 4-6 hours. It should be used for feeding a baby, or refrigerated or frozen during that time.
If breast milk has been refrigerated or frozen and then thawed or warmed, it should be used within 2 hours. Any breast milk not used within 2 hours of heating should be discarded.
Concentrated/Powdered Infant Formula
Once you have prepared infant formula, it can stay at room temperature for 1-2 hours. It should be used for feeding a baby, or refrigerated for later use, during that time.
If the baby formula has been refrigerated and then thawed or warmed, it should be used within 1 hour. Any mixed formula not used within 1 hour of being heated should be discarded.
Premade/Ready-To-Eat Infant Formula
In theory, ready-to-eat and liquid concentrate infant formulas pose a slightly smaller risk to a baby, because they are sterilized during manufacture, unlike powdered formulas. However, the guidelines are very similar.
Check your packaging for storage guidelines and expiration dates. Once opened, the formula can safely remain at room temperature for 1-2 hours. It should either be used or refrigerated during that time.
If the formula has been refrigerated and then heated, it should be used within 2 hours. Any heated ready-to-eat infant formula not used within 2 hours should be discarded.
When using a bottle warmer, all baby milk should be removed from the warmer within 10-15 minutes, and used for feeding within 1-2 hours.
Any unused baby milk, whether it’s breast milk or infant formula, should be discarded if it has been warmed and then not used within that time.
This reduces the risk of unhealthy bacteria growing in the bottle and posing a health risk to a baby.
Fortunately, all types of baby milk can be refrigerated before warming, so you can heat up only as much as you need at the moment.
A bottle warmer makes heating baby milk much faster, easier, and more consistent than other methods.
Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing, storing, and using infant formulas, because different formulas have different guidelines.
Also, follow good practices for safely storing and using breast milk.
Warming just as much as you need, and not keeping it warm for too long, is an important way to protect the health of your baby, so don’t leave baby milk in a bottle warmer for more than 15 minutes.