Baby bottle warmers to warm your milk to perfection

Baby bottle warmer

by Eleanor Weaver |

Perfect for busy mums and demanding family life, a baby bottle warmer is a compact and convenient device to ensure your baby's milk is warmed to perfection.

Whether you're using breast milk stored in the fridge, defrosting frozen supplies of milk or even heating baby food, a hassle-free bottle warmer will quickly and safely bring your baby's feed to the best temperature. We love that this mimics the comforting warmth of breastfeeding and saves your little one from getting more hungry and tearful in the wait.

But how does it work? And do you really need one? We've shared a handy guide to baby bottle warmers and included the best you can buy, whether you're looking for one to put in your kitchen or carry one in your baby's changing bag.

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How does a baby bottle warmer work?

Traditional baby bottle warmers have a central vessel where you put your baby's bottle in. You then fill around the bottle with water and switch on the power, which enables the heating element in the bottle warmer to heat the water and bottled milk in turn.

With a baby bottle warmer, you can take the guesswork out of warming your baby's bottle to the ideal temperature with a thermostat and clear indicator light that goes off when it's just right.

Suitable for breast milk, formula, and even baby food in some cases, make sure the bottle warmer you're looking to buy can accommodate the bottles you have at home. Many come with adapters for holding different shapes and sizes of bottles and jars.

What is the ideal temperature for baby milk?

The ideal temperature for breast milk is 37°C. Not only is it easier to digest for tiny tummies, saving discomfort at bedtime. But babies prefer their milk at natural body temperature. If you've stored your expressed breast milk in the fridge or freezer, using a bottle warmer will bring it back to this temperature for your little one.

The same temperature applies to formula milk too. You can use a bottle warmer with ready-to-use formulas that can be stored in the fridge. However, if you're using powder formula, it's recommended to make up each formula fresh for your baby. In comparison to breast milk, the formula isn't sterile. You should make it up using hot water to kill the bacteria and use it within two hours once cooled to room temperature.

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Do you really need a bottle warmer?

While it's not completely necessary, using a bottle warmer is one of the best and safest ways to warm your baby's bottle. Not only that, but a bottle warmer is:

  • Quick: Baby bottle warmers are designed to be quick and efficient, so you're baby isn't left crying or hungry for too long - something mum and baby can both appreciate! Some bottle warmers can reach the perfect temperature in as little as 90 seconds.

  • Easy to use: There's very little hassle involved; you just need to put in the bottle, fill it with water if the reservoir is low, switch it on, and go. Some baby bottle warmers have pre-programmed settings to suit different bottles and starting temperatures, whilst others just have a one-touch operation to save the faff if you're consistently heating the same type of bottles.

  • Reliable: Baby bottle warmers are designed to evenly heat up your baby's milk every time without the risk of overheating. Some will even keep your baby's bottle warm for a long period of time with auto-shutoff and overheat protection to prevent anything from getting too warm.

  • Transportable: As well as being generally more convenient, some bottle warmers are designed to easily fit in your baby's changing bag and carry on the go. These can be USB charged, require no power at all, or be mains-powered but light enough to carry with you when visiting family and friends.

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Is a bottle warmer better than using the microwave?

It is definitely better. Warming your milk in the microwave is not recommended. Warming in the microwave can result in uneven heating as the milk is directly heated - bottle warmers heat the water surrounding the bottle instead. This transfer of heat is a much safer process – bottles heated in the microwave may continue to ‘boil’ after being removed and could end up being too hot for your baby’s sensitive mouth. Not only that, but overheating the milk can damage baby bottles and destroy the natural nutrients contained in breast milk.

If you’re not using a bottle warmer, it’s recommended to replicate the process by filling a jug or bowl with warm water and placing your baby’s bottle inside for no more than 15 minutes.

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