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Is Cold Breast and Formula Milk Bad for Newborns? (Myths & Facts)

As parents, we constantly strive to provide the best care for our newborns. Among the numerous concerns we face, the temperature of the milk we feed them is often debated.

From the softest blankets to the gentlest touches, every decision is made with love and care. But when it comes to feeding your little one, you can't help but wonder Is cold milk harmful to our little ones? With conflicting opinions circulating, it's crucial to separate fact from fiction.

In this article, we will delve into if cold breast and formula milk are bad exploring scientific evidence and expert insights to shed light on the truth. So, let's set aside the myths and misconceptions surrounding cold milk for newborns, and uncover whether it's truly a cause for concern or simply a matter of personal preference.

Is Cold Breast and Formula Milk Bad for Newborns
Is Cold Breast and Formula Milk Bad for Newborns?


In This Article


Can Babies Drink Cold Breast and Formula Milk?

Breastfed babies are accustomed to receiving milk at their mother's body temperature, around 37°C. However, for formula-fed or bottle-fed infants, it is common for their milk to be slightly warmed before feeding.

Nonetheless, scientific studies have revealed that the temperature of milk does not impact its nutritional composition. This means that babies can safely consume cold milk without any compromise in its nutritional value.

The key factors for bottle-fed babies are using the correct water-to-formula ratio and appropriately storing breast milk for breastfed babies.

Research has revealed that various methods of warming, such as bottle warmers or hot water baths, can raise the temperature of breast milk above 80°C (176°F). It is important to note that many of the beneficial properties present in breast milk may start to diminish or become compromised at this high temperature.

This is why microwave heating is not recommended, as extreme heat can rapidly degrade essential nutrients. To preserve the valuable components of breast milk, it is advisable to choose gentle warming techniques or consider feeding it at its natural temperature.

By prioritizing careful temperature management, parents can ensure that their baby receives the full benefits of breast milk's nutritional and immunological properties.

Can Pre-Mature Babies Drink Cold Breast and Formula Milk?

Doctor Holding Pre-Mature Baby
Doctor Holding Pre-Mature Baby

Scientific research indicates that feeding cold milk to premature babies may not be ideal. Infants that are born prematurely sometimes have weak digestive systems and have a harder time handling cold weather.

Intestinal discomfort, decreased vitamin absorption, and an increased risk of feeding intolerance are all possible effects of drinking cold milk. It is generally recommended to provide preterm infants with milk that is at least at room temperature or slightly warmed.

This helps ensure optimal digestion, nutrient utilization, and overall well-being for these delicate infants. It's crucial to consult with healthcare professionals or neonatal specialists who can provide specific guidance tailored to the unique needs of premature babies.

Can Cold Breast and Formula Milk Cause Gas?

Some infants with sensitive stomachs may experience dyspepsia from cold milk or cold formula. However, there is no scientific proof to support the claim that babies' gas is primarily brought on by cold milk.

A Baby Crying
A Baby Crying

Infants frequently experience gas, which can be caused by several things, including swallowing air when eating, developing digestive systems, or certain food allergies. While some newborns may feel uncomfortable or have gas-related symptoms after ingesting cold milk, this is not always the case.

Every baby is unique, and their tolerance to different temperatures may vary. There are a few reasons why some parents may decide to warm up their baby's milk:

  • Some infants favour warm milk and may reject cold milk.

  • A cranky or anxious infant may find comfort in warm milk. Warming milk can make it more digestible.

What Happens When You Give Cold Milk to Your Baby?

When you give cold milk to your baby, a few things may occur. Firstly, the temperature of the milk may be a bit of a shock to the baby, as they are used to receiving milk at body temperature (around 37°C).

Some babies may accept and drink cold milk without issues, while others may show discomfort or refuse to drink it.

According to Jody Segrave-Daly, an IBCLC and co-founder of The Fed Is Best Foundation, cold breast milk may cause the fat to separate from the rest of the liquid. If the fat separates, the infant may be unable to ingest it because it will stick to the bottle's edges.

Father Feeding Milk to Baby
Father Feeding Milk to Baby

As breast milk contains essential calories for newborns, it is critical to make sure the milk is thoroughly blended. To release the fat and distributed it equally throughout the milk, Segrave-Daly advises gently spinning the bottle or putting it under hot water.

These actions can assist in ensuring that younger infants who only rely on breast milk obtain the required amount of fat for optimum nutrition. Cold milk may impact the baby's overall feeding experience.

Babies often prefer milk that is slightly warmed as it can be more soothing and comforting. Cold milk may lead to slower feeding or interruptions due to the baby's resistance or discomfort.


Can I give my baby cold breast milk from the fridge?

Yes, a mother may give her infant milk straight from the refrigerator. Breast milk or formula that has been chilled is safe to give to a newborn. Some newborns could find it more pleasant to feed on milk that has been gently warmed. If the infant displays indications of discomfort or won't drink cold milk, gradually reheating the chilled milk with a bottle warmer or with warm water might be helpful.

Can we heat breast milk in the microwave?

It is not suggested to microwave breast milk. Breast milk can develop hot patches after microwaving that might scorch a baby's lips and throat. In addition, microwave heating might hasten the breakdown of vital nutrients and immune-stimulating components found in breast milk. It is advisable to utilize other techniques, such as soaking the bottle in warm water or using a bottle warmer made especially for this purpose, to safely reheat breast milk.

Do formula-fed babies sleep longer?

Many parents hold the view that warm milk promotes better sleep in infants. Although giving warm milk to newborns can be calming and reassuring, there is no proof to suggest a connection between warm milk and better sleep. Healthy sleep habits are greatly encouraged by a variety of other elements, including a regular bedtime routine, a peaceful atmosphere, and meeting the baby's fundamental requirements. Furthermore, because each infant is different, what works for one baby might not work for another.

Summary of Is Cold Breast and Formula Milk Bad for Newborns

Finding a balance while taking both cold and over warming into consideration is vital in the discussion surrounding milk temperature for newborns. While cold milk may not be detrimental, it's important to ensure proper mixing to prevent fat separation. On the other hand, over warming the milk can have adverse effects on its nutritional composition and may diminish essential nutrients. When it comes to milk temperature, it's important for us as caretakers to achieve the appropriate balance.

By staying attuned to our babies' needs and preferences, consulting healthcare professionals, and following recommended guidelines, we can provide nourishment that is both safe and enjoyable. Let us embrace the delicate art of finding the perfect milk temperature for our little ones, ensuring their well-being and creating precious bonding moments during feeding time.

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