Today’s first question is about warming bottles on the go, when you don’t have access to your bottle warmer at home.
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How Can I Warm Bottles on the Go?
I’m exclusively pumping, and I’m going on vacation next week. My baby will only drink warmed bottles of breast milk. I’m worried about how I’m going to warm up bottles when we are out and about at restaurants, at parks, at museums, at the beach, etc.
It’s supposed to be pretty hot out (over 80 degrees) so leaving bottles at room temperature all day seems like a bad idea. But if I keep them in a cooler with an ice pack, how so I warm a bottle of breastmilk on the go?
I agree that leaving breast milk bottles at room temperature all day at that temperature is probably not a good idea, so I think your instinct to keep them in a breastmilk cooler (here are some great options) is right. Here are some options for warming bottles in public in some of the places that you mentioned.
1. Ask for Hot Water
In a restaurant or convenience store, ask for a cup of hot water (like you’d use for tea).
You want a cup that’s large enough that your baby’s bottle will fit into it, and you want it about half full (so you can either ask for it to be half full or dump some out after you get it). Then you put the bottle you’re warming into the cup, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t overflow or spill, so that you don’t get burned. Depending on how hot the water is, the bottle should be warm in a minute or two.
Note: This method is much quicker and more effective than running a bottle containing cold milk under hot water in the sink, but that will also work if you don’t have access to a cup.
2. Use a Thermos
When getting hot water from a restaurant isn’t an option (such as when you’re at the beach), your best bet is to bring a Thermos of hot water with you.
Warm the water up at home or in your hotel, put it in a Thermos (or whatever hot liquid storage container you want), and close it up tight. Then, when you’re ready to warm the bottle, you’d do the same thing as with the hot water in a cup – just put the bottle in the Thermos for a minute or two until it’s warm enough for your baby.
Note: The water needs to be really hot, but there doesn’t need to be a lot of it. The Thermos I used in the below photo only needed to be half full, for example. I’d recommend doing a trial run at home first, to make sure the water is getting hot enough before you put it in the container.
(If you’re in a hotel and are not able to warm up the water, just combine the two methods – bring a Thermos and stop at Starbucks or McDonald’s on your way to the beach to fill up the Thermos for later.)
3. Use a Portable Bottle Warmer
Tommee Tippee makes a portable bottle warmer that is very similar to the Thermos method described above.
To use it, you just boil or microwave water before you leave the house and put it in the Thermos. Then when you’re ready to warm milk, you pour some of the water into the cup that comes with it. The Thermos holds about 2 cups of water.
4. Let it Come to Room Temperature
If you have breast milk in a cooler, you can take it out of the cooler before you think you will need to use it.
Over the course of an hour or two, depending on the ambient temperature, how much milk is in the bottle, etc., the breastmilk will come to room temperature.
Breast milk should be used within two hours of coming to room temperature.
Finally – if you’re going to be pumping during the day, feeding fresh milk to your baby might also be an option versus packing bottles for all of the feedings. (Here are some tips on pumping in public.)
Nursing, Pumping, and Bottle Feeding
I had a baby two weeks ago, and my baby will latch but doesn’t seem to be gaining enough weight. I saw a lactation consultant over the weekend and she recommended pumping and then giving my baby a bottle after nursing. She said to do this 12 times a day.
This seems impossible, as it takes over an hour to do this and I will never sleep if I have to do this 12 hours per day. I really want to breastfeed but I don’t think I can do what she suggested.
What she suggested is called triple feeding (nursing, pumping and bottle feeding), and while I think it’s a good idea if you would really like to make nursing work, I think 12 times a day is too many. As you said, you will never sleep (or do anything else) if you do it 12 times per day, since it can take over an hour each time. I would shoot for 8 times per day instead.
I did this for a week or two before switching to exclusive pumping, and it was exhausting (but I’m glad I did it to feel like I gave nursing a real shot). Here are some tips to make triple feeding easier. Good luck!References
- Bonyata, Kelly, IBCLC. “Human Milk Storage – Quick Reference Card.” https://kellymom.com/store/freehandouts/milkstorage01.pdf