As a new parent, I found it very frustrating dealing with my fussing daughter which happened many times when she was hungry. A warm bottle of milk is one of the quickest ways to give your little one some comfort. But, how do you warm bottles considering the many different options that exist?
I’ll share the most common ways to warm a bottle by different brands. I’ll also give you a few tips on how to warm bottles when you’re traveling.
Heating up baby bottles – glass or plastic (for example silicone)?
It’s not crucial to warm a baby’s bottle, however, it does make it easier. When a baby is breastfed, the milk is warm, so babies become used to warm milk. Warm milk is also easier for babies to digest.
That leads to the next question, are there different ways to warm different bottle types? The answer is yes! Let’s have a look at the best warming methods for glass, plastic, and silicone bottles.
- Glass: Aside from using the bottle warmer, you can warm a glass bottle on the stovetop.
- Plastic: Plastic bottles are easily warmed in a bowl or mug with a few inches of warm water. Don’t use the microwave as it heats milk unevenly.
- Silicone: Silicone bottles are versatile as they can be warmed in a bottle warmer, microwave, under running water or even boiling some water on the stovetop. Many parents suggest not using a microwave as this will cause the milk to heat up unevenly. Rather heat water in the microwave and then place the bottle in the container of water that was heated up in the microwave oven.
What is the fastest way to warm up a bottle?
Using a bottle warmer is the quickest way to heat a baby bottle. However, if you don’t have a bottle warmer, you can warm some water on the stove, electric kettle or microwave. Place the bottle in the water for between 10 and 15 minutes. Keep testing the temperature to make sure the milk isn’t too hot.
How to warm a bottle (All Popular Brands) – 7 methods
After selecting a bottle, e.g. choosing between a Comotomo Vs Boon Vs Tommee Tippee Vs Nanobebe, you need to find a method that works best with your chosen bottle. Here are 7 ways to do that. Next to each method, I’ve listed which brands the specific technique applies to:
- Stove-top: Boon Nursh
- Baby bottle warmers: Munchkin Latch, Tommee Tippee, Kiinde
- Place bottle in hot water (countertop methods): Nanobebe
- Warming formula bottle with warm water Lansinoh, Dr. Brown, Medela
- Using milk bags: applies to all bottle brands
- Microwave (not recommended for all bottles): MAM, Hegen, Comotomo
- Using hot kettle water: Lansinoh, Dr. Brown, Medela
Here are the 7 methods to warm a baby bottle described in detail.
1. On the stove
If you don’t have a bottle warmer and you’ve got a little time to make your baby’s bottle in advance, warming it on the stove is also an option. Simply follow the steps listed below to warm a bottle on your stovetop.
- Fill a pot with water to the same height as the milk in the bottle.
- Warm the water till just below boiling point.
- Remove the pot from the stove.
- Place the bottle in the warm water.
- Test the milk every 30 seconds till it reaches the desired temperature.
- Swirl the bottle around in the water to ensure the milk is evenly heated.
- If the bottle has become too hot, just let it cool down for a minute or two till it’s the right temperature.
Here’s a short clip showing how easy it is to use the stovetop method. In the clip, the parent places the cup into the pot, while still on the stove. If you’d prefer to do this, just make sure the stove is off and the water has cooled down from the boiling point.
2. With a bottle warmer
The best way to warm your baby’s bottle is with a bottle warmer. Using a bottle warmer is a quick and safe way to heat a chilled bottle or milk bag. Refrigerated baby food can also be warmed in a bottle warmer. Most bottle warmers use steam to raise the temperature of the milk, making it an ideal solution for late-night feeding sessions.
With so many warmers on the market, it might be hard to know which one is the best bottle warmer for your twins, triplets, or your one and only child.
I recently wrote an article on the best bottle warmer for popular brands (9 top brands). Check out that article to see which one to choose!
3. Place bottle in hot water (countertop method)
Many parents still believe the best way to warm a baby’s bottle is the conventional countertop method.
- Heat some water in the kettle, stove, or hot water tap
- Ensure the water is warm but not boiling
- If you’re warming water on the stove, remove the pot from the stove. If you’re using a kettle, pour some water into a container the bottle can stand-in, such as a jug.
- Place the bottle in the container and allow it to warm in the water.
- Move the bottle around occasionally to make sure all the milk gets warm.
- Don’t shake the bottle as this might cause air bubbles in the milk.
How long does it take to warm a baby bottle in hot water?
The good news is, you don’t need any special equipment and it only takes a few minutes to have the water at the right temperature! So, a good idea would be to start the process about 20 minutes before you want to feed your baby.
4. Warming formula bottle with warm water
Having warm water and a sink on hand when you’re making your baby’s bottle is a huge plus. It’s as simple as running warm tap water directly into the bottle while you’re mixing the formula.
A concern parents might have with this method is the purity of the tap water. Generally, if you can drink it, it’ll be safe for your little one too.
- As a precaution, you can boil the water in a kettle or microwave.
- Allow to cool slightly before making the bottle.
- Don’t pour the boiling water into the bottle as this might cause pressure build-up in the bottle. In some bottle types, this might lead to leaking.
5. Using milk bags
Milk bags are a very nifty invention! It allows mom to pump milk straight into the bags which can then be stored in the fridge till your baby needs them.
Since these bags are made from reasonably thin plastic, it’s easy to warm them up. Simply run the bag under a tap of warm, not hot, running water. Once the milk feels warm, you can easily pour the milk into a bottle.
6. In the Microwave
Many parents don’t know how long to microwave milk or that milk in a microwave can heat up unevenly. This is why it’s not a suggested method to try. Rather heat water in the microwave and then place the bottle in the container of water that was heated up in the microwave oven. Therefore use this method in combination with method 3 by placing the bottle in a container with warm water inside.
Simply pour water into a large bowl and then place it in the microwave for about a minute. Then put the closed bottle of formula into the hot water to heat it up.
How long should I heat up a baby bottle in the microwave?
If you want to still heat up your baby’s bottle in the microwave you should only heat up 8 oz bottles for no more than 30 seconds at full power. Make sure your baby’s bottle is microwave safe before placing it into the microwave.
7. Using Hot Kettle Water
If you don’t have a microwave and the warm water from the tap isn’t warm enough for your baby’s bottle then you can use hot kettle water. Simply boil water in your kettle, then pour it into a jug. Place your baby’s bottle of formula into the jug to allow the hot water to warm up the bottle.
How to warm a baby bottle on the go
One of the most common questions new parents ask is how to warm bottles on the go? If your baby usually prefers warm milk, they aren’t suddenly going to accept cold milk when you’re away from home. Fortunately, it’s not as complicated as you might think!
How to warm a baby bottle on an airplane
When you’re on a plane, you can warm the bottle in a few easy steps.
- Ask a flight attendant for a cup that’s half full of hot water.
- Place the bottle into the water for about a minute, checking at 30 seconds and then at 45 seconds.
- If you ask, most cabin crews will warm the bottle for you.
How to warm a baby bottle in a car
Car travel shouldn’t hinder you from giving your baby a warm bottle. The easiest way to warm a bottle in a car is to use a bottle warmer that plugs into your car adapter. An example of this is the bottle warmer from Munchkin. Here are the steps:
- Plug the warmer into your car adapter
- The bottle will warm evenly in minutes
- A digital display will indicate the temperature and remaining warming time
- Most warmers are designed to fit most bottles and car cupholders
How to warm up a Playtex drop in a bottle?
Once you’ve poured unheated formula into the Playtex Drop-Ins liner, simply warm the formula by placing the bottle in a container of warm water. Don’t use boiling water. Loosen the cap while heating the formula. The formula heats up in a few minutes.
Warming your baby’s bottle isn’t difficult at all. Some warming methods are better suited to certain bottles, but for the most part, bottles can be warmed using warm water on the countertop if you don’t have access to a bottle warmer. Don’t let cold milk be the reason for your little one’s fussing!
If you want to further explore some warming methods, I wrote an article comparing Bottle Warmer vs Microwave vs Hot Water methods.