Can Babies Drink Cold Formula?
Being a new parent can be a daunting and confusing time.
After all, you don’t have long to master the art of diaper changing, dressing, feeding, and burping your baby.
Even just leaving the house with your newborn baby takes a lot more planning than ever.
Making sure you have enough nappies and wipes, at least one change of clothes, and preparing food and toys for the day are just a few of the things you need to think about.
If you’re planning a day out with your baby, then you may be wondering, can babies drink cold formula?
Can Babies Drink Cold Formula?
The short answer is, yes. There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby cold formula, especially if that’s the way they like it.
Since the vast majority of formulas these days can be mixed with cold water, it’s no secret that cold formula is far more convenient than warm.
There are also times when it just might not be possible to heat your baby’s bottle, so in these cases, it’s great to know that cold formula won’t do them any harm.
However, while it’s safe to feed your baby cold formula, there are several reasons why you should consider heating it first.
So unless it’s your baby’s preference, here are three of the main reasons why you should continue to warm your bottles where possible.
1. To Match Your Natural Body Temperature
The mother’s body temperature naturally sits at around 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
The milk she produces will also be around the same temperature.
The reason why many people heat up formula is to bring it to the same temperature that your baby may have been accustomed to when feeding from the breast.
Newborn babies might even reject cold formula.
If you’re switching from breastfeeding to formula feeding, then heating up the formula first will make it less of a shock to your little one.
If you’re starting out on formula, then you still may wish to heat it first to make the feeding ritual more of a natural experience.
2. To Reduce Energy Expenditure
If you use tap water to make up your bottles of formula, then the water used may be up to 40 degrees lower than breast milk.
If you are using water from the fridge that has been pre-sterilized, then it’s even colder than this.
A baby feeding on colder formula will have to expend valuable energy in warming up the liquid themselves once it’s in their bodies.
If you heat it for them, however, they save more energy for themselves.
3. To Make Feeding More Comforting
We can all relate to the difference between a cup of hot chocolate and a chocolate milkshake from the fridge, right?
Warmer drinks are more comforting, and babies generally prefer the taste and temperature of warm formula.
Feeding your baby a bottle of warm formula will help them get off to sleep easier, too.
Warming Up Your Baby Formula
You should never make your formula in a pan, and you should also avoid using warm water to make up the bottle.
If the formula is allowed to boil, the nutritional content of the formula will be changed, and it will obviously be far too hot to feed anyone, let alone a baby.
You should also avoid using the microwave to heat up your baby bottles.
Heating up your bottles in the microwave can create hot spots in the formula, which might burn your baby’s tongue or mouth.
Microwaves tend to heat things up unevenly, so you may not even be able to accurately judge the temperature of the bottle before feeding your baby.
Hence, it would be better that the formula is heated once it’s in the bottle.
Most babies like their milk or formula to be heated to at least room temperature, but if we can’t use the trusty old microwave, how can this be achieved?
The two safest and most popular ways of heating your baby bottles are by standing it in a bowl of hot water or using a bottle warmer.
1. In a Bowl of Hot Water
The most traditional way of heating up a bottle of baby formula or breast milk you’ve previously expressed is in a bowl of hot water.
Prepare the bottle according to the instructions and then place it in a bowl of hot water, leaving the nipple out of the water so that no water leaks in.
Waiting for the cold bottle to heat up to room temperature can be an arduous task, especially if your baby is crying to be fed.
In just a few minutes, however, the chill should be gone, and your baby will enjoy their feeding time much more.
You can test the temperature of the formula by swirling or shaking the bottle and then dispensing a small amount from the nipple onto your wrist.
If the formula feels cool still, then leave it in the water for longer.
If the formula feels warm, then it is too hot for your baby.
You can reverse the process and cool it back down by holding the bottle under the cold tap for a minute or two.
2. In a Bottle Warmer
Bottle warmers eliminate the need to boil water first, making them extremely convenient to use.
If they have a thermostat on them displaying the temperature of the bottle, then they’re also incredibly safe to use.
Having said that, you should always double-check the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist to make sure that the thermostat is working properly.
Remember that if the milk feels warm on your wrist, it is too hot for your baby.
The ideal temperature you are aiming for is the same temperature as your body.
Never leave your baby’s bottle inside the bottle warmer for more than 10 minutes; if you do, bacteria can start to breed and can cause diarrhea.
Preparing and Storing Baby Formula
It’s better if you prepare just one bottle of formula at a time, right before you feed your baby, but this isn’t always possible.
If you do need to prepare bottles in advance, then you should store them in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place your pre-made bottles at the back of your fridge, where it’s the coldest, as opposed to in the door where they are easier to reach.
If you don’t use the made-up formula within 24 hours, throw it away.
Any formula that has been left out of the fridge and has been at room temperature for more than one hour should also be disposed of.
Transporting Baby Formula
The safest way to transport your baby formula is to keep the water and formula separate until it’s feeding time.
This isn’t very convenient or practical, so if you’re making up the bottles before you leave, then you’ll need to consider how you’ll keep them chilled.
A small cool bag with ice packs or a thermal bottle pack will help you keep the formula chilled until you’re ready to heat it and feed.
Heating Your Baby Formula on the Move
OK, so you’ve got your bottles ready to go and safely stored, but how do you heat them back up again, now that you’re out and about?
There a couple of products you can buy that will help, but if you don’t have these at hand, you’ll have to rely on a local restaurant or store for their help.
1. Bring a Thermos
A thermos will keep hot water hot for when you need it.
Buy a specially shaped baby bottle thermos to ensure that it’s wide enough to fit the whole bottle inside with the water.
These special thermoses are also shorter than your usual coffee thermos so that the nipple isn’t submerged.
2. Portable Bottle Warmer
Invest in a portable bottle warmer to ensure you can heat up every bottle to perfection, as and when you need them.
No preparation is necessary with this device; just don’t forget to take it with you when you leave the house!
3. Ask In-Store
Ask at a nearby store if they can prepare you a bowl of hot water. Restaurants and cafes should be more than happy to oblige.
You’ll often find the folk at your nearest McDonalds or Starbucks very accommodating, even if you’re not a customer.
So, can babies drink cold formula?
While there do seem to be many benefits to feeding your baby warm formula, let’s not forget how much more convenient cold formula is.
Your best bet is to make it your baby’s choice.
If your baby seems to prefer drinking their formula cold, then you are a lucky parent indeed, as it’s perfectly fine to feed it to them this way.
The benefits in feeding them warm formula mostly lie in the fact that it’s more natural and more comforting for them.
A warm bottle of formula will go a lot further in helping your baby sleep, over a cool alternative.
Newborn babies, especially, should always be fed warm formula to ensure they’re not wasting energy on warming the liquid up inside their bellies.
Weight gain in the first few months should be monitored closely, and feeding them warm milk and formula will help them achieve this vital gain.