Q: I entered my friend’s kitchen when she was microwaving her breast milk for her little baby girl. Should I tell you how much surprised I was? I heard that something like breast milk should never go in the microwave oven. Why can’t you microwave breast milk? Or is it still a myth?
Can You Microwave Breast Milk?
Breast milk is an extremely important food for a newborn. It can’t be substituted with any other type of beverage or food like cow milk, goat milk, camel milk, or even liquid semolina.
This is a very happy time for most of the new mothers – the time of breastfeeding.
Unfortunately, we cannot talk about all the mothers, because in some situations and under certain circumstances some of the women are forced to create the so-called breast milk banks which are stored in a freezer.
This storage method protects milk from the loss of nutrients, immune cells and amino acids.
In case you are a new mother or you know such ones who need to feed babies with expressed milk, you need to know the right way to freeze it as well as warm it up before feeding.
Modern microwave ovens have a number of functions. Defrosting and heating are just two of them.
Due to the adjustable temperature regimes, a man does not risk boiling a liquid anymore. Still, microwaving breast milk remains questioned.
Some studies show that microwave ovens do not influence food and beverages; therefore, microwaving any products including breast milk is safe, according to them.
The other scientists prohibit warming anything in the microwave oven warning that these devices cause toxic influence on human body. As a result of heating breast milk in the microwave, a newborn receives carcinogenic compounds and diseases of the digestive system.
The experiments show that microwaved breast milk gets filled with bad chemical compounds, which affect:
- cardiovascular system
- kidney tract
- central nervous system
How to Heat Breast Milk?
The above-mentioned facts might make you think that the microwave oven is absolutely useless when it comes to breast milk.
Really, you want to give your baby only a high-quality nutritious food. What’s the purpose of microwaving breast milk if it is going to kill all the useful components?
In spite of the microwave oven being fast and easy, when it comes to breastfeeding, the advantage is on the safe methods’ side.
Actually, there are four ways to heat breast milk without the microwave, namely:
- Water bath
- Running water
- Room temperature
- Baby food warmer
You can choose one of the methods you like and use it each time that you need to heat expressed milk without the microwave oven.
A water bath is probably the best way to warm up breast milk. You might not have a special kitchenware. Then you take a large bowl and boil water in it.
Remove the bowl from the kitchen stove, put it on a table, and place another small bowl filled with breast milk on the top. Cover the bowl with the lid and wait for 2-5 minutes. You can also heat a bottle with breast milk.
The microwave oven might also be useless if you decided to heat breast milk under running water. This method is about carrying a bottle of breast milk under hot running water and swirling it until warm (just like they show it in movies).
This is very important not to shake the bottle, as shaking destroys nutrients just like the microwave oven.
The other two methods are quite clear. You place one or a few bottles of breast milk into a baby food warmer and switch it for 2-10 minutes depending on the device adjustment.
Experienced mothers recommend getting your child get used to cold milk so you don’t have the need to heat it.
Finally, you may use the microwave oven to warm up milk. This is a necessary measure and not the rule. If it happens once or twice in a lifetime, it won’t be harmful to your precious boy or girl.
Therefore, the safest method for microwaving breast milk is not actually microwaving breast milk, but microwaving a glass of water which you will use to heat your breast milk.
You’ll dip a bottle of breast milk into the bowl with water that was warmed up in the microwave oven, and put inside the switched off microwave for a few minutes.