Can You Microwave Formula? 4 Safe Options for Warming Bottles

It is common for mothers to regularly utilize formula for their infants, and it is natural to have inquiries regarding the proper method for preparing it.

Formula doesn’t have to be warmed before being offered to your baby, but many parents and babies prefer it warm. You have to use the right method to ensure your warming process is safe and effective. 

Can you microwave formula? No, you should never microwave formula for your baby. Microwaving formula can offer inconsistent results that can lead to part of the formula being lukewarm while another pocket is scalding hot. This can lead to burns for your baby when you try to feed him. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to warm formula that are safe for your little one, and that’s only if you choose to warm it at all. The options may take more time than microwaving, but they are safe and effective.

Warming Baby Formula (The Right Way)

There are a lot of different ways to warm baby formula, so you can find the method that works best for you and your little one.

Method 1. Place Bottle in Bowl of Warm Water

You can add warm water from the tap to a bowl and then put a bottle of formula in the bowl of warm water.

You will still need to test the temperature of the formula before offering it to your baby, but this method can warm formula consistently without getting it too hot. It also doesn’t take a super long time.

Method 2. Hold Bottle Under Warm Running Water

Turn your sink to a warm or hot flow, and hold the bottle of formula underneath it until the formula is warm. This can take a while, but it can work in a pinch when you don’t have a bowl or a bottle warmer available.

Method 3. Use a Bottle Warmer

Bottle warmers are safe and convenient to use. Just make sure to follow the directions for how long to leave a bottle warming, and make sure to get the type of bottle warmer that works with the bottles you have.

Alternatively, you could use a universal model like this that works with most bottles.

Method 4. Prepare Bottle With Warm Water

You can boil the water you want to use to mix your baby’s formula. Once it’s boiled, remove it from the heat, and let it cool to an appropriate temperature.

When it’s at the right temperature, add the formula, and you have a warm bottle without a lot of hassle.

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Baby's Brew Warmer on High Chair

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What NOT To Do

Don’t microwave formula to warm it up, and don’t use boiling hot water in your child’s formula.

While it’s fine to boil water and let it cool for use, you should never use just boiled water to feed your baby.

It’s also important to make sure you use safe, filtered water anytime you are using it to mix formula.

How To Test Baby Formula Temperature

To ensure the formula is lukewarm but not scalding hot, you need to test it first. Place a few drops on the inside of your wrist or the outside of your hand.

Both spots should be sensitive enough to heat to offer a good indication of the temperature.

Common Questions About Warming Formula

A father giving his baby a baby bottle.

Do Baby Bottles Need To Be Warmed?

You don’t have to warm baby bottles before feeding your baby, though most little ones prefer warm formula to cold formula. 

Can Babies Drink Cold Formula?

Babies can drink cold formula. It doesn’t have to be warmed to be consumed, though some babies prefer it warm and will take it easier than if it’s cold.

What Temperature Should Baby Formula Be?

Though there’s no one perfect temperature for formula, most babies like it around body temperature, which means 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

This can help a baby who is transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle feeding because the formula will be around the same temperature as mom’s breast milk.

Does Warm Formula Help With Gas?

There is some logic to the idea of heating up your baby’s formula if you want to try to avoid gas.

Breast milk is body temperature and is easy for a baby to digest quickly. Your child’s energy and digestive system don’t have to work to warm up the milk, so they can simply process it.

If you warm up your child’s formula, this should also make it easier for your child’s system to process and help avoid stomach pain. 

Does Microwaving Formula Destroy Nutrients?

Microwaving formula could destroy nutrients, though that hasn’t been proven. Even without evidence, you shouldn’t microwave formula for many other reasons.

How Long Is a Warmed Formula Bottle Good For?

Warmed formula needs to be used fairly quickly after it’s mixed. The formula should be used within an hour of starting a feeding session. 

Can You Reheat Baby Formula?

You shouldn’t reheat used baby formula or put it in the fridge to store for later. Once your child has drunk from the bottle, it may be contaminated with bacteria that could cause harm to your baby.

Throw out unused formula once your child is finished with the bottle, even if it’s not empty.

Can You Put a Warmed Formula Bottle Back in the Fridge?

You can store a prepared bottle in the fridge as long as you haven’t let your child use it yet and you get it in the fridge within two hours. It is safe to store and use for 24 hours.

Can You Make Baby Formula in Advance?

While you can make formula in advance, you need to be aware of how long it can be stored safely. You can store formula for two hours at room temperature, for four hours in a bag with an ice pack, and for 24 hours in the fridge.

Don’t prepare more than you can use in that time frame.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to heat and store baby formula the proper way so your child has the best experience when consuming it. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to make sure baby formula is the right temperature for your child.