Most infants’ parents find it convincing that a microwave is the fastest method to warm breast milk, making it the most convenient way for working moms.
Experts advise refraining from microwaving breast milk, as it interferes with the milk’s nutritional value, among other negative effects.
But, can you microwave breast milk?
No, you cannot microwave breast milk. When breast milk is heated in the microwave, it heats beyond 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not conducive to sustaining the stability of all the health benefits that come with breast milk. Also, breast milk heats unevenly in the microwave, forming hot spots. The hot spots become too dangerous when breast milk is given to a newborn, for they can easily cause burn injuries in their mouth and throat.
This article gives a clear explanation of whether it is possible to microwave breast milk. The article begins by giving a clear explanation followed by Main Reasons You Should Avoid Microwaving Breast Milk. Also how a microwave destroys Breast milk’s health benefits for your infant. Finally, we have a solution by offering How to Safely Microwave Breast Milk as one of the subtopics discussed.
Main Reasons You Should Avoid Microwaving Breast Milk
Placing a breastmilk baby bottle in the microwave to warm the milk can be dangerous. Below are the main reasons why this idea should never cross your mind.
At around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, breast milk can no longer sustain its level of nutrition. Higher temperatures damage breast milk’s ability to sustain its nutrients.
Other necessities like immunoglobulins, amino acids, and proteins contribute immensely to an infant’s growth and development.
The high microwave temperature also damages them. Therefore feeding an infant breast milk that is microwaved has no nutritional value that will contribute to their growth and good health.
A microwave is designed to heat meals in bits. As a mother, your instincts will tell you to microwave the breast milk in just 10 seconds and remove the breastmilk baby bottle from the microwave.
What has not occurred in your mind is that the milk has been heated in bits and has hot spots. When such breast milk is given to an infant, the baby will suffer from mouth and throat burns when they finally get in contact with the hot spots.
Is Microwaving Breast Milk for only 10 Seconds Safe?
Microwaving breast milk in the microwave is not recommended because of uneven cooking and damage to the nutritional value of the milk.
Does it mean you can microwave the breast milk for the shortest time as 10 seconds and invert the bottle severally to get rid of hot spots?
This question must be crossing your mind right about now.
No, it is not safe. Since the microwave will interfere with the milk’s nutritional value, however, it is possible. It all depends on the quantity of breast milk. If you are microwaving breast milk that is less than 4oz, please use microwaved water instead—only breast milk whose quantity is more than 4oz can be microwaved for 10 seconds at full power.
Before you microwave, remove the nipple top from the baby bottle. Replace the nipple top when you are done and invert the bottle several times to eliminate hot spots. Also, do several wrist tests to ensure you do not impose mouth and throat burn injuries on your infant. If not, check the internal temperature and ensure it does not exceed 99 deg F or 37 deg C.
How a Microwave Destroys Breast Milk’s Health Benefits to an Infant
Breast milk is equipped with nutrients, antibodies, and stem cells that can only survive at a temperature of 99 deg F or 37 deg C.
A microwave produces too much heat that destroys and affects the functions of these essential natural necessities. Below is how a microwave interferes with the nutrients of breast milk.
Microwaves Damage Inflammatory Components in the Breast Milk
Breast milk is rich in Lactoferrin protein, SIgA antibodies, and lysozyme. They contribute to the development of the nervous system.
They seal an infant’s intestinal and respiratory system to prevent germs from floating into their bloodstream and protect them from infections.
Damage of the probiotic bacteria found in breast milk
Probiotic bacteria help control causes of diarrhea and eczema in newborns
Microwaves Damage the White Blood Cells in the Breast Milk
When exposed to microwave heat, the white blood cells in the breast milk are also not great survivors. The white blood cells play the role of producing antibodies to fight bacteria and infection in the body of a newborn.
A microwave will Reduce the Amount of Fat Content in Breast Milk
Fatty acids in breast milk are essential for an infant because they contribute to their growth by providing enough energy for your young one. Fatty acids also contribute to the metabolism and functioning of the immune system.
It is therefore essential to note that microwaving breast milk brings more harm to your infant than good. Microwaving might not only cause serious burns to your baby’s mouth and throat. It also denies your child helpful development and growth nutrients and anti-inflammatory components.
What is the Appropriate Internal Temperature of Breast Milk?
The appropriate temperature of breast milk is 99 deg F or 37 deg C. Once the internal temperature rises to 104 degrees or higher; it begins to lose its nutritional value. Breast milk should never heat beyond 104 degrees does not mean that you can microwave it slightly below the mentioned temperature.
As mentioned earlier, a microwave will heat the breast milk forming hot spots. According to you, microwaving breast milk slightly below 104 degrees means you are on the safer side. Well, you are yet to know that breast milk will heat beyond the mentioned temperature once the heat begins distributing evenly from their hot spots.
Once the breast milk is hot beyond the expected temperature, it loses its nutritional value. Healthy necessities like immunoglobulins, amino acids, and proteins contribute immensely to an infant’s growth and development. Feeding an infant breast milk that is microwaved has no nutritional value that will contribute to their growth and good health.
Alternative Methods of Heating Breast Milk Compared to Microwaving
Other ways that you can use to heat breast milk include the use of a bottle warmer. Be sure the bottle warmer you choose is not one that tends to overheat. A perfect bottle warmer to warm breastmilk should warm the milk to 98.6 degrees.
You can also warm some water on a stove, transfer it to the kitchen counter and immerse the breastmilk baby bottle until the internal temperature is 98.6 degrees. If not, hold the bottle under a faucet of warm running water.
How to Safely Microwave Breast Milk
Since warming breast milk directly in the microwave is not advisable, we have given you an alternative way a microwave can still assist you. You will need a microwavable container, water, and a breastmilk baby bottle.
Pour a sufficient amount of water into a large microwavable container. Place the water in the microwave and heat at high power for 2 minutes.
Remove the container from the microwave, and submerge the breastmilk baby bottle without the nipple into the hot water for 5 minutes.
Remember to swirl the bottle after every minute to distribute heat evenly through the milk. Replace the nipple, invert the bottle several times and test the warmth by placing a drop of it on your wrist before feeding.
Helpful Tips for Heating Breast Milk in a Microwave
As stated earlier, microwaving breastmilk in a baby bottle is not good for the baby’s good health and growth.
The secret to having the recommended breast milk for your infant is to ensure the breast milk temperature is at 99 deg F or 37 deg C.
A temperature above the mentioned one means the milk is no longer nutritious and is way too hot for the infant to take. Below are helpful tips that can guide you through using a microwave to heat breast milk.
Microwave Water Instead of Breast Milk
Since placing breastmilk in a baby bottle in a microwave to warm is not recommended. Why don’t you microwave water to make it hot enough to warm the breast milk?
Pour some water into a microwavable container, heat it at high power for two minutes, remove the water from the microwave and immerse the baby bottle with the breast milk for 5 minutes.
Microwave Enough Water
Ensure to microwave enough amount of water that can be able to submerge the baby bottle wholly so that the breast milk inside will get heated evenly.
Swirl the Bottle
Swirl the bottle containing the breast milk severally in hot water. Swirling contributes to the even distribution of heat also.
You can also shake the bottle gently for the same purpose of equal distribution of heat. However, do not overdo the shaking since the milk might be filled with air bubbles that can cause a newborn to blot due to excess gas.
Conduct Several Wrist Tests
Wrist tests will guide in deciding on whether it is time to feed the baby or not. If possible, you can use a thermometer to know the internal temperature of the breast milk. The right temperature of breast milk that is friendly for infant consumption is 99 deg F or 37 deg C.
In conclusion, breast milk should not be microwaved directly. It does not matter how fast you want the milk to warm up. For your newborn to enjoy breast milk’s health benefits, you must avoid microwaving breast milk directly.
This article has also proven that a microwave will leave the breast milk with hot spots that will harm your child by inflicting burn injuries on their tiny mouth and throat. To avoid this kind of harm, consider following our “How to Safely Microwave Breast Milk” subheading as illustrated above.
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