Do You Have to Warm Up Breast Milk?

Babies are so fickle. It's impossible to predict with any level of certainty what they'll like for very long and feeding time is no different. From nipple preference to the amount they eat, it's confusing. What about what they eat? Do you have to warm up breast milk? Can they drink it cold? How about frozen?

When you're feeding your baby, you want it to be as rich and healthy as possible, and anything that can improve that experience is well worth it. But sometimes, you're tired AF, the baby is screaming, your partner is at the store, and you just want them to take the bottle straight from the fridge. However, you've heard that cold milk can give a baby gas, or that it's not as good for them. You've heard it's harder to digest when it's cold, and a gassy baby is not a chill baby. I know I'm worse than a toddler whose lost iPad privileges when I have a stomachache, and I'm a grown woman who understands that it's because I ate the entire pint of Ben and Jerry's and chased it with a beer. Babies who don't understand? Yeah, unpleasant. But is any of that true? Do you have to warm up breast milk?

According to British parenting organization, First 1000 Days, there is no scientific evidence to support that feeding your child milk straight from the fridge changes the nutritional content or digestive properties of the milk. This is true even in the case of preemies, according to Advances in Neonatal Care.

So is it OK to give them a bottle straight from the fridge? Sure, but your baby may not like cold breast milk. Babies are like that one friend you have who always orders something new and complicated at Starbucks every time they go. It's always changing, and you can't predict it. If they don't prefer cold breast milk, just remember, the Mayo Clinic suggested that you warm breast milk slowly, and not in the microwave in order to avoid hot pockets of breast milk and the breakdown of nutrition that occurs in the rapid heating of milk. But if they like a nice cold one? Consider yourself very fortunate, and let them belly up to the breast milk bar. If you are concerned about the way your baby is reacting to your breast milk, don't hesitate to call your pediatrician. Until then, cheers to a cold one at the end of a long day.