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Everything You Need To Know About Warming Formula

It's 3 a.m. and you can barely open one eye, let alone both. Your baby is wailing and they want to be fed, like yesterday. You take the bottle out of the fridge, but no dice — they want it warm. Can you warm formula? If so, how in the heck do you do it safely?

Formula is not cheap. From powdered mix to pre-prepared to liquid concentrate, formula ranges from 7 cents per ounce to 70 cents per ounce depending on the, well, formula of the formula. The cost of formula is concerning to parents on a budget, and wasted formula could be very stressful. It stands to reason that you'd want to waste as little as possible while providing the best nutrition for your baby.

So if your baby is particular about the temperature of their formula, there's good news — you can warm it. But the Mayo Clinic is very explicit on how you should warm your baby's formula, and it's never in the microwave. I know — I love my microwave, too. It makes me popcorn, and melts my ice cream just enough that the edges are liquid-y goodness. If my baby is going to live in my house, they should be prepared for this preparation. Start 'em young, is what I say.

But, sadly, no. The Cincinnati Children's Hospital shared the same warning — microwaving your baby's formula is apparently both a nutritional and safety concern. Not only does it deteriorate the nutrition of the formula, it also creates hot pockets (and not the delicious ones that you for sure put in the microwave) in the milk, and could expel steam through the nipple at your baby. That would be very bad indeed.

Nemours Health System wrote that to warm your baby's formula, you should run their bottle under warm, running water, warm it slowly on the stove in a pot of water that you bring to a boil (with the bottle in it), or if it is powdered, use warm water to prepare the formula. This seems less than ideal at 3 a.m., but it's safer than the microwave.

But what about that bottle warmer you registered for? It looks fancy, but there are conditions surrounding it. You have to have the right sized bottle, the proper bottle that's compatible with the warmer, and you still have to add water. But, it is automatic. I live in Brooklyn and I already have an instant pot, a mixer, a juicer, a toaster oven, and my beloved microwave for my hot pockets. I cannot have another thing on my counters or I won't have counters. (My blender, tea kettle, and other accoutrement of my kitchen live in my pantry, thank you kindly.)

The Mayo Clinic is also very specific on one more point concerning formula — you cannot save a partially finished bottle. That's a pain, and it's expensive, but babies' tiny immune systems don't need the extra serving of bacteria. So you should try to only make just enough, even if guessing at that seems to be like picking lotto numbers.

Can you warm formula? Yes, but not with your hot pockets. Or at least, not in the same machine.