Can I Give My Baby a Cold Bottle?

For many years, grandmas, aunts, and a slew of other female elders have been known to give new moms what’s known as new mom advice. You know, advice that all the mothers that came before you know, and even some who have yet to have their children, give you to help make your life easier once baby arrives. It’s all warm-hearted information passed from one knowledgeable mother to the newest member of the honorary mommy club. Sometimes you’re left with more questions than before the initial answer is given. One of the most common and all-time favorites from when I was a little girl, warming up my baby sister’s bottles, to years later when I had my third child was, “Warm up the baby’s bottle.”

Mom’s everywhere will tell you babies don’t like cold milk, and giving your baby cold formula at such a young age will upset their stomach. Well, this may come as a surprise to some, but giving a baby room temperature or even cold formula is ok. This tidbit of information is well-intended and straightforward enough to find out how true it is through simple observation of your baby during feeding time.

Here’s what we’ve found on the topic of whether it’s actually ok to give your baby a cold bottle.

An old wives tales?

Growing up I remember strictly being told to warm the baby’s bottle and to make sure it wasn’t too hot or too cold. I also remember the baby crying if the temperature was anything less than perfect.

According to a recent study, the baby formula does not need to be warmed. However, some newborns may reject the taste and temperature of the warm formula. Since a woman’s body temperature is normally around 88 degrees Fahrenheit warm formula gives comfort to newborns with feelings similar to receiving breast milk. Giving a baby cold formula can cause excess energy usage from your newborn when warming cold milk to their internal body temperature.

Does cold milk cause Colic?

It has been said that giving your baby cold milk can upset their stomach if given to early. Cramps and spasms in the intestinal tract were believed to be symptoms associated Colic babies after drinking cold formula. This theory has never been proven true. It should be noted, however, that cold milk can shock babies who are not used to drinking cold bottles causing a reluctance to drink.

Others, will simply notice the temperature change and continue to drink anyway. It may be best to start with room temperature water vs. cold water. This will allow baby to get used to the cooler temperature of the milk when thinking of transitioning from warmed milk to cold milk.

To Chill or Not to Chill

There are fears of storing formula for later consumption. It is fine to store formula and milk up to one hour after initial mixing at room temperature. If it is left any longer than one hour then it should be thrown away. Unused formula or milk, unheated, should be stored in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used. Storing formula in the refrigerator until it is ready for baby prevents bacteria from growing and can last up to 24 hours in the cold temperature. The shelf life for readymade and formula concentrate will last 48 hours after prepared when stored in the refrigerator.

Baby is able to drink milk or formula directly from the refrigerator without prior reheating. The observance of your baby’s reaction to the cold temperature is advised. Too cold of temperature can cause the baby to overuse valuable energy which can make for a cranky baby.

When to make the switch

So when exactly is it okay to transition from warm to cold milk? New medical information available, given our current healthy versus health-hazardous mentality, finds that there is no specific need to warm up your baby’s bottle before feeding. It all comes down to baby’s preference, and get this, some babies actually prefer cold formula. Both warm or cold, the milk is equally beneficial because it does not lose any nutrients in the heating process. However, too much heating during the warming process can destroy some of the important antibodies and other immune factors that make it so healthy. Always be careful not to overheat the baby’s bottle. Attempting to heat up a bottle in the microwave can be attributed to causing heat pockets and overheating the liquid inside the bottle too much causing adverse effects.

Why warm milk?

There are times when it all comes down to a matter of convenience. Plenty of moms complain of the time restraints associated with warming a bottle during every feeding. If you want to warm your baby’s bottle remember these important rules:

  • Never warm milk in the microwave as it can cause heat pockets that may burn your baby’s mouth
  • Put bottle in a container of warm or hot water for a few minutes to warm the bottle before feeding.
  • Milk should feel lukewarm to the touch. Test the temperature on the inside of your wrist.
  • Give boiled then cooled or bottled water to the baby if mixing with formula.

After warming your baby’s bottle be sure to test the temperature. If your little one prefers warmed bottles early on that is ok. Eventually, they will get used to the idea of having milk, water, and juice served at a colder temperature. There are also those times it just makes sense to give our little one’s cooler beverages. It’s fair to think in varying climates throughout the world babies actually may have a preference.

After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a cool beverage on a hot day vs. a hot drink? If you’re unsure if your baby is ready to consume cold milk or formula speak with your pediatrician. A good doctor can help you decide when the best time will be for you to make the switch from warm to cold bottles for your baby.