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 do 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 Portable Bottle Warmer
Baby’s Brew makes a great portable bottle warmer that you can use to warm breast milk on the go.
Before you use it, you just charge it and throw it in your diaper bag. When it’s time to warm the milk, you screw the bottle onto the warmer (make sure your bottle is compatible, either on its own or with an adaptor), and then push the button on the bottom to heat it up.
Breast milk will heat up in about 10-15 minutes. You may want to pack Medela Quick-Clean wipes to clean the warmer in between uses.
3. Use a Thermos
When getting hot water from a restaurant isn’t an option (such as when you’re at the beach), another option 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, you could 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.)
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.)
Confused about all the rules for handling breast milk in different situations? Worried you’re throwing away milk that you don’t have to? Not sure how to travel with your milk or feed baby on the go? Check out the Ultimate Breast Milk Storage Workshop here! Use MILK10 for 10% off.References
- Bonyata, Kelly, IBCLC. “Human Milk Storage – Quick Reference Card.”https://kellymom.com/store/freehandouts/milkstorage01.pdf