Microwave ovens are becoming increasingly popular. They certainly are convenient, letting you quickly cook entire meals or heat leftovers. But one thing you should not put in a microwave oven is your baby’s bottle.

Although heating the bottle in a microwave oven won’t ruin the feeding, it may cause slight changes:

- Infant formulas: With overheating, some vitamins may be lost.
- Expressed breast milk: Heating may destroy its protective properties.

But these are the real dangers:

-The liquid may become extremely hot, although the bottle itself remains cool to the touch. Drinking the hot liquid could burn the baby’s mouth, throat, or esophagus (the tube leading to the stomach).
- Hot liquid forms steam. The buildup of steam in a closed container could cause it to explode.

Here is a sad but true story. A mother put formula into the disposable plastic liner of a baby bottle, stretched a rubber nipple tightly over the bottle, and put it into a microwave oven for 1 minute. She removed the bottle from the oven while she was holding the baby. A few seconds later, the plastic liner exploded, and hot formula spilled on the baby. He has second-degree burns on his abdomen and thigh and had to spend 7 weeks in the hospital.

Many babies like their feedings at room temperature or slightly cooler. If your baby prefers a warm bottle, the best way to heat it is to follow these simple steps:

1. Set the filled bottle in a bowl of warm-- not boiling—water, or hold it under warm tap water.
2. Shake the bottle gently to distribute the warmth.
3. Shake a few drops from the bottle onto your wrist. If the temperature feels okay to you, it is safe for your baby.

Warming the bottle this way may take a few minutes longer than using a microwave oven. But it’s worth it for your baby’s safety.

On the subject of safety, be sure to use the same care with microwave ovens as with regular ovens.

- Do not use the oven while you are holding your baby.
- Always check the temperature of the food itself—not just the container—before feeding your baby.
- Follow instructions of the oven’s manufacturer and on food labels.
- Be especially careful with an unfamiliar oven. No two microwave ovens—like no two regular ovens—heat at the same speed and to the same temperatures.

Drs. Bishop, Poon and Young
Nurse Practitioners Elizabeth Combs & Lynn Huesman
45 Cavalier Boulevard
Florence, KY 41042
Phone:          (859) 371-7400
After Hours: 1-866-985-5663
Fax:              (859) 371-8472