Breastfeeding is something many mothers decide to do because of the health benefits and mother-baby bond associated with it. As you're breastfeeding, the temperature of the milk that comes from your breast isn't under your control but is safe for baby. If you're pumping or bottle feeding your baby, however, you want to know if there are any things that happen when you give your baby cold breast milk. After all, when your baby is crying for food, you may wonder if you need to take the time to heat it.
Because breast milk must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on the length of storage, it can take some time to heat it up carefully. And when it's 3 a.m. and you're sleepwalking with a hangry baby, you may be tempted to serve it cold.
In wondering if you can give your baby cold breast milk, the short answer is actually 'yes,' you can according to The Bump. In doing so, however, it's important to know that there are a few factors or problems you may run into. Although it is generally safe and healthy for moms to give their kids cold breast milk, it doesn't always work out for every kid for a few reasons highlighted below.
1. Your Baby May Be Shocked At First
Many people have taken a drink expecting one thing and gotten something completely different. The shocked reaction is the same for babies who may be expecting a warm bottle when they first take a sip of cold breast milk, according to Can I Give My Baby.
2. The Fat Layer May Not Mix Well
According to the previously mentioned The Bump article, it's difficult to get the fat layer to mix back into the cold milk. You want your baby receiving that fat layer in her milk primarily because it contributes to healthy weight gain and keeps her full longer. To make it easier to mix, try running the bottle under warm water if needed.
3. Your Baby May Refuse It Or Drink Less
If your baby is really uncomfortable or just not used to cold breast milk, they may refuse the bottle at first or drink less. The aforementioned article from The Bump noted that some babies prefer milk that's closer to body temperature. If this is the case, you can try introducing milk to your baby at a slightly cooler temperature, gradually, until they're used to it.
In the end, there isn't much of a difference between feeding your kid cold breast milk and warm breast milk, aside from temperature. If your baby accepts it and you're mixing the milk well, it's safe to do and may save you a little bit of time. The consequences of serving cold breast milk aren't major and can easily be side-stepped if you decide you want to try it.