How many times can you reheat breast milk and formula?

Susan Fernandez February 02 2022

Every mom must have wondered how many times can she reheat breast milk or formula when feeding a baby. In this article, we will tell you what is better formula or milk, how to freeze it correctly, and how many times can you heat it up. So, let`s go!

How many times can you reheat breast milk and formula?

Firstly, let us answer the main question on this topic. You can reheat formula as many times as you wish since its nutritive value doesn't go down after the milk has been heated for the first time. However, if you plan on freezing your breast milk then this isn't recommended since there are many nutrients that get lost during the freezing process. Even though it might seem like a waste, either throw away or give away all of your frozen milk which has been stored for more than six months.

If however, you only have some leftovers in your freezer and they were put inside before six months had passed by, then feel free to use them - just don't do this too often since most of their nutritional value is gone. Both ways shouldn't be done with any leftover after breastfeeding which was taken from you in the past two days. This is because it will most likely lose a significant amount of nutritional value and therefore, won't be as healthy for your baby.

It is normal to reheat frozen milk only once since even though it might seem like the milk is cold enough, it might not be completely thawed out yet. This can happen due to unreliable automatic food warming devices which are often found in microwaves nowadays. However, if you plan on having some leftover milk after two days, make sure that it was taken from you within 24 hours prior to heating it up again - this way, the baby will get the most out of each meal by consuming fresh milk instead of something which has already lost half of its nutritive value.

Can you reheat breast milk that has already been heated?

For sure, you can reheat breast milk that has already been heated. In fact, you can reheat breast milk as many times as you need to. However, you must always remember to test the temperature of the milk before feeding it to your baby. But what about reheating already heated formula? How many times can you do it? In order to answer this question, you need to know that there are 2 types of infant nutrition: ready-to-drink and powder.

Let's start with the ready-to-drink formula. Most formulas you can reheat up to 3 times. However, if you notice any changes in color or smell, you should not feed it again to your baby. As for powdered infant food, the good news is that it has a longer shelf life than ready-to-drink formula. The other good news is that you do not have to worry about its taste getting spoiled over time because it develops a bitter taste when it starts going bad. So, the short answer is yes - irrespective of whether they are made from breast milk or formula, you can reheat liquids up to 3 times, as long as you observe these simple rules.

When a parent decided to reheat breast milk or formula, always remember that there are certain temperatures at which they shouldn't be heated up in order for them to remain safe and healthy for your baby. Make sure that these standards are followed since overheating both breast milk and child nutrition can lead to serious health issues in the future, such as diarrhea or scalded mouth among others.

Reheating formulas involve a process of heating it up until it is warm enough for your baby to consume safely while reheating breast milk has to be done after being heated at 70 Celsius degrees so that all potentially harmful bacteria were eliminated.

Breast milk or formula: what should you reheat?

As a mom of a baby you need to make your choice - will you breastfeed or use formula or maybe it will be their combination? The latter might be the best choice since it will help your baby's digestive system. To make this choice you should consider how pure and safe your breast milk or formula is. Assure to take into account the nutrition in it which will help your baby stay healthy.

Both of these kinds of food for babies are good, but there are differences in what they can offer to your child. Breast milk contains all the necessary ingredients that a newborn baby needs and is just perfect for them since their immune system is not yet fully developed. Moreover, breastfeeding is a very intimate procedure that bounds together a mom and an infant.

It is easier for a baby's digestive system to digest breast milk than the formula, so you might want to choose this one if you have an option. Infant food however is a more processed product and has different ingredients from those found in breast milk, but it also contains all the necessary components for a growing newborn baby's body. The advantage of the formula is that it doesn't get spoiled and is handy to use. Your baby can feed on it at any time you want them to, so if you need something quickly if you are outside using babies nutrition might be the best choice for you and your child.

If you would like to find a middle ground between breast milk and regular formula, then mixed feeding might be the answer. Only give your baby half of their daily nutrition in breast milk while giving them some in the regular nutrition as well - this will make sure they get all the nutrients they need from different sources. Mixing these two kinds of food also makes it easier on your baby's stomach since there is less difference in ingredients than when comparing breast milk to regular formula.

So, it`s up to you how to feed your infant - with milk, formula, or both. No matter what is your decision, read on to learn more about how many times can you reheat breast milk or formula and what to do after it.

Finding the best nutrition for your baby

The first couple of days is the most difficult when it comes to feeding your child since his or her digestive system isn't entirely developed yet. During this time you should be wary about what they eat and give them only very little of it. You can feed them sugar water which can help their body get used to digesting something new, and later they will most likely even enjoy eating porridge which is a big step towards having a healthy and safe food source for them.

Don't let anyone tell you what might be the best choice for your baby, but do some research on your own and pick what you think is the right thing especially if you are breastfeeding.

How can you store breast milk before reheating?

Storing milk after breastfeeding is fairly easy, but it needs to be done the right way so that you won't lose any of its nutritional value. The first thing you need to do is let all the air out of the plastic bag or bottle that your milk will go into - this will leave you with a tightly sealed container.

You can keep your milk in a refrigerator for up to five days after which it should be discarded since once the time has passed it might have turned bad. If you are freezing your milk then make sure not to store it longer than two months even if there is no change in color or smell - frozen breast milk always looks and smells like fresh milk during breastfeeding. If however, it seems less nutritious when thawed, then it may be discarded.

If you are pumping your milk then make sure to label it with the date of expression before you put it away in a refrigerator or freezer. This will make it easier for emergency situations, but you should always have at least one breast pump available so that if your other one breaks or loses power, you can quickly replace it and continue feeding your baby without any delays.

It is important to only store what you actually need since putting away too much milk can cause some problems for yourself - this includes not being able to find anything easily because of all the bags lying around, as well as possible refrigeration issues since there is more than enough inside. You don't want to end up wasting food due to improper storage which could have been avoided if you only put away what you actually needed.

Preventing breast milk from spoiling can be done by using a special UV lamp which you simply shine on your milk for a couple of seconds so that it changes its composition and makes it safe to use.

You should however never store breast milk in direct sunlight as this will cause further spoilage due to the heat, but if you live in a warm city with plenty of sun then storing your milk inside might not be such a great idea after all since there is no way of keeping it cool and fresh.

Some common mistakes during breastfeeding and reheating breast milk or formula

As a mom, you want to do everything right when it comes to your baby. But when it comes to reheating breast milk or formula, there are a few mistakes that are easy to make. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when reheating:

  • Not checking the temperature

Before you give your baby their bottle, it's important to check the temperature of the reheating milk or the baby's nutrition. You can do this by putting a few drops on the inside of your wrist. The milk should feel warm, not hot. If it's too hot, it can scald your baby's mouth and throat.

  • Overheating the milk

If you overhear someone saying that they "nuked" their breast milk in the microwave, don't do the same! Overheating breast milk or formula can cause a protein in it to break down, which could be harmful to your baby. And if you accidentally leave the bottle heated up too long, it could burn your baby's mouth and throat. Take care of the temperature!

  • Reusing old bottles or nipples

If you're reheating breast milk or formula to make another bottle for your baby, don't use any bottles that are already dirty with food debris or dried on infant foods. Also, make sure that you use a clean nipple each time you remake breastfeeding. Dried-on residue from breast milk has its own health risks for babies, so it's best not to reuse bottles at all when possible.

  • Use boiling water when you wish to reheat breast milk

Some mothers may be tempted to use boiling water or think that "boiling hot" is a good way to reheat breast milk. But boiling water can actually scald the milk, so it's best to stick with cooler temperatures for reheating your bottles.

Putting one's finger into the bottle is an often-made mistake that many new mothers fall victim to - don't do it! By putting your fingers in your baby's food, you are letting bacteria in which will most likely cause them to get sick.

Another mistake that is often made by mothers who are also trying to feed their children at the same time is that they hold the bottle in an awkward position while it is being used. For instance, when feeding with a spoon or a sipper, you need to constantly keep both hands on it so that it won't fall down and break which can be difficult if you are already holding your kid in one arm.

A third common mistake that many mothers make is giving their child too much of the bottle - having more than enough isn't good for him or her since they might feel full even before finishing what they were given.

Reheat properly after freezing your breast milk in the right way!

You should always make sure that the milk you are planning to freeze doesn't have any dirt or blood in it since these can cause further spoilage and could even lead to your child getting sick. If however, there were some nutrients lost through boiling, then this won't be much of a problem since the formula is still nutritionally balanced for babies.

Freezing breast milk isn't too difficult and there are two options available: either using bags or plastic bottles which should both work fine as long as they don't break while the milk is being frozen. The advantage of using an actual bottle is that this way you can transfer it directly into one when needed without spilling anything so this might be easier if you are only feeding one baby at a time. Don`t forget to reheat it after all!

Freezing milk quickly is the best option available since this way it will retain most of its nutritional value while also having extended storage without getting too old or spoilt. Breast milk can be stored in a freezer for up to six months and if you don't plan on using it within that time, then you should put it in the fridge and use it within the next two days or so. 

Does breast milk lose nutritional value when frozen?

Well, freezing breastmilk can reduce some of the vitamin C content, but overall most of the nutrients are retained. So if you have frozen breastmilk and need to reheat it, don't worry too much about losing out on nutrients. Just be sure to use proper food safety protocol when reheating any type of food, including breastmilk. At the same time, depending on how many times you heat up breast milk (or formula) it can start to lose its nutritional value. So if you are reheating breastmilk multiple times, you may want to consider using fresh milk instead. Also, if the temperature is too high, all the nutrients will simply disappear, so reheat it attentively.

How can you correctly reheat breast milk?

Breast milk doesn't have to be freshly taken from the breast in order for it to be nutritionally balanced since a lot of nutrients are actually lost when it is being expressed.

However, this does not mean that you should reheat any leftover food from the freezer - chances are high that there were some significant nutrients lost during the time it was frozen so you should always try and feed your baby with food that was recently taken from you.

Reheating formula isn't particularly difficult but if you wish to do this as safely as possible then you should consider either buying a specific bottle warmer or warming up your milk inside a bowl full of hot water. This way, heating will happen much slower and won't cause further nutrient loss leading to your baby not getting the most out of his or her meal.

If you plan on heating your milk right in its bottle, then make sure that there are no contaminants inside since this might cause serious health problems for your baby in the future. Not only is putting one's finger inside the milk bad due to bacteria contamination but also because it makes it much harder for you to know when the milk has reached its desired temperature.

How can you reheat the formula in a proper way?

If you decided to heat up the formula, it is much easier than reheating breast milk because regardless of how it was stored, this doesn't cause any nutrient loss leading to the baby not feeling full for too long.

Regardless of whether you are using a microwave or stovetop, make sure that you check the temperature manually since automatic devices usually don't pass the required heat standards due to their low quality.

Test out your heated (or reheated) milk on your inner wrist before feeding it to your baby in order to make sure that there weren't any changes regarding its temperature - if you can keep your finger inside without getting burned then it will be safe for him or her as well.

Bottom line

You can reheat the formula as many times as you want and it is best to be done by using a stovetop or a microwave. Breast milk, however, should only be reheated once and never frozen for more than six months in order to preserve its nutritive value.

Due to the fact that some of their nutritive value might go lost if they are kept frozen for too long, breast milk and formula should always be used within two days after being taken out from the fridge.

When you want to heat up any type of leftovers that have been stored inside your freezer, make sure that they were put there no longer than six months ago so that you won't lose any nutritional value due to freezing them overnight.