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Heating Milk and Food for Infants

For bottles with disposable inserts or hard plastic and glass bottles.

  1. In Hot Tap Water
    Place bottle under hot, running tap water until the desired temperature is reached. This should take one-to-two minutes.
  2. On the Stove
    Heat water in a pan. Remove the pan from the heat and set the bottle in it until it's warm.

Use Caution:

When heating baby's milk, always shake the liquid to even out the temperature and test on top of your hand - not the wrist (this is one of the areas least sensitive to heat) - before feeding. Milk that's "baby-ready" should feel lukewarm.

Heating breast milk or infant formula in the microwave is not recommended. Studies have shown that microwaves heat baby's milk and food unevenly. This results in "hot spots" that can scald a baby's mouth and throat.

Safe Microwaving of Solid Foods

Studies show that the when baby food is microwaved in a jar, it's often heated unevenly. The hottest places are in the center of the foods. The coolest places are next to the glass sides, which could lead you to believe that the food is not too hot.

Follow these precautions when microwaving baby's food.

  • Don't microwave baby foods in the jar. Instead, transfer the food to a dish before microwaving it. This way the food can be stirred and taste-tested for temperature.
  • Microwave 4 ounces of solid food in a dish for about 15 seconds on high power. Always stir, let stand 30 seconds, and taste-test before feeding.
  • Don't heat baby-food meats, meat sticks or eggs in the microwave. Use the stovetop instead. These foods have a high fat content, and since microwaves heat fats faster than other substances, these foods can cause splattering and overheating.

When heating baby's food, always stir, let stand 30 seconds, and taste-test before feeding. Food that's "baby-ready" should taste or feel lukewarm.

How to Store Mother's Milk

Careful home handling and storage of breast milk is essential in preserving its special qualities. Here's how to properly store breast milk:

  • Refrigerate breast milk if it will be used within 24 hours. If the milk will not be used in that time, it should be frozen - but only for a maximum of 3-6 months. Date it when you freeze it.
  • Store breast milk in the back of the freezer, not in the freezer door. The door is the warmest spot in the freezer. This avoids the possibility of unintentionally defrosting the milk, which can happen with frequent openings and closings of the door.


LIQUIDS Refrigerator Freezer
Expressed breast milk 24 hours 3 to 6 months
Formula (stored in individual baby bottles) 2 days Not recommended
Whole milk 5 days 3 months
Reconstituted evaporated milk 3 to 5 days Not recommended

SOLIDS - opened or freshly made Refrigerator Freezer
Strained fruits and vegetables 2 to 3 days 6 to 8 months
Strained meats and eggs 1 day 1 to 2 months
Meat/vegetable combinations 1 to 2 days 1 to 2 months
Homemade baby foods 1 to 2 days 3 to 4 months

Important Tips to Remember for Baby:
  • Don't leave baby food solids or liquids out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Don't put a bottle or baby-food back in the refrigerator if the baby doesn't finish it.
  • To reduce the risks of choking, be watchful of babies and young children while they are eating, and teach children to chew their food well.

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