Whether you’re taking a long trip or just running a few errands with your little one, you may have to feed the baby on the road. If you’re breastfeeding, you might want to know if a car bottle warmer is safe for breast milk.
The answer is yes, it’s safe to use a portable warmer to heat your infant’s breast milk. There are rules, of course. It’s always important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for using the warmer. The instructions let you know the best and safest way to use the equipment.
It’s also important to know what the Centers For Disease Control says about storing and using breast milk safely:
- You probably know that you should always wash your hands thoroughly before handling breast milk. If you’re in a car and can’t use soap and water, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.
- You can keep freshly expressed breast milk at 77 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler for up to four hours.
- While in the car, store breast milk in an insulated carrier with ice packs.
- Keep your milk bottle sealed while it’s being warmed.
By following these guidelines, you’ll protect the safety of your breast milk, and you’ll protect your baby’s health too.
A car trip with a baby can be a very involved undertaking. There are lots of things to remember: your stuff, the baby’s stuff, any other kids’ stuff, and maybe presents for grandparents.
The list could go on and on. An extra piece of equipment may seem like a burden, but many parents swear by the convenience of being able to bottle feed while traveling.
Aside from the convenience of using a bottle while traveling, finding a way to involve other family members in feeding the baby can be very rewarding for the whole crew. All you have to do is choose the right equipment and you’re ready to hit the road.
As a side note, I wrote an article about the best baby bottle brands out there which you can find here.
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What Is The Best Travel Bottle Warmer?
There are a lot of portable bottle warmers on the market. The sheer number of products just increases the pressure to make sure you’re picking one that’s convenient for you and safe for your baby.
The warmers below are all sold on Amazon and are a good representation of the kinds of units that are available.
1. Kozii Voyager Travel Warmer
How it works: This is essentially a hot water tank for your bottle. Before leaving home, you fill the insulated container with hot water.
Two warming cups fit snugly around the water reservoir.
The system keeps the water heated until you need it. According to the manufacturer’s information, it can stay warm all day.
When you’re ready to use it, just pour water into the warming cup and add your baby’s bottle. The cups come in two sizes so they accommodate a variety of bottles.
Comes in handy: This system is excellent for those times when you’re not near a power source, or when the outlets are already in use.
If several people in your car need to take turns charging their phones, this cordless warmer will come in very handy.
- The triple-layer bottle has a lot of insulating ability.
- The two cups can heat bottles of varied sizes.
- It needs no power source to heat the milk.
- If you use all the water or it starts to cool down, you’ll need a source of heat to warm it up again.
Verified purchasers on Amazon are generally pleased with the convenience and performance of this kit. Most report that the reservoir keeps water warm for a sufficient amount of time.
This product has an Amazon rating of 4.6 stars. Click here to check it out on Amazon
2. Munchkin Travel Car Baby Bottle Warmer
How it works: This product works pretty much like an electric blanket for your bottle.
The heat source is a plastic pad that wraps around the bottle. An insulated cover protects your hands from the heat, and it has an adjustable buckle so it fits securely around the bottle.
This model has an adapter that plugs into a car outlet. The LCD timer on the control pad has five-minute increments so you control the heating time.
Comes in handy: On road trips where you know the outlet will available for heating a bottle.
- This is a pretty simple design that should be easy for most to use.
- The heating element is timer-controlled so it turns off automatically.
- You need a power source to make this work.
It takes a lot of people up to 30 minutes to heat a chilled bottle. In that amount of time both you and your baby could get very frustrated.
This has an Amazon rating of 3 stars. Click here to check it out on Amazon
3. Puncia 12V Smart Milk Bottle Warmer for Car
How it works: This model is a cup-shaped container with push-button temperature controls and an LCD readout. It comes with a cord and car outlet adapter.
Comes in handy: Again, this item is well-suited for trips where you’ll have easy access to car outlets.
- LCD temperature gauge gives you control over the temperature of the milk.
- The instructions on the Amazon site have some grammatical and spelling errors. In some cases it’s actually hard to figure out what the instructions mean. To me, this is a pretty big issue. Because heating breast milk in an unsafe way can cause problems, directions should be crystal clear. If you have to guess at what the manufacturer is really saying, you could wind up making a painful mistake.
While many users are satisfied with the product, several purchasers reported that this warmer is actually a coffee mug warmer that doesn’t fit most baby bottles.
Users gave this item 3.0 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Click here to check it out on Amazon
How long can you keep breastmilk in a bottle warmer?
Once frozen or refrigerated breast milk has been warmed, it should be used within two hours.
Can you reheat breast milk twice?
If your baby doesn’t finish the bottle within two hours, the milk should be discarded. Do not store the leftover milk to be reheated later. Once the bottle has been in contact with the baby’s mouth, bacteria can grow very quickly. Throwing out precious milk may seem like a waste, but it’s preferable to having a sick baby.
Can babies drink cold breast milk?
It may surprise you to know that the CDC says babies can safely drink cold breast milk. The question of whether your baby should drink cold milk probably depends on what your baby likes.
Some babies may even seem to welcome it, particularly in hot weather. Of course, the milk shouldn’t be so cold that it’s uncomfortable for your infant, so it’s still important to check the temperature.
You’ll probably need a few other things after the feeding is over:
- Wipes, diapers and disposable bags. Mealtime creates dirty diapers, so be prepared.
- Something to clean up any spilled milk and prevent that old milk smell. I used to pack plastic bags with soapy cloths or paper towels, but there are car wipes you can use for this too.
- Snacks for everyone else. Older kids and even adults can get pretty cranky too when they’re hungry.
- Clean water to rinse out the bottles and nipples. This will make it easier to clean and sanitize everything when you reach your destination.
- If you’re taking a long trip, schedule time to express milk to keep your supply up and to keep you comfortable.
It may sound corny, but I think it’s also important to bring along your sense of adventure. The grocery store or Grandma’s house may be old hat to you, but everything’s a new experience for your child.
Greeting the world with wonder and appreciation will enrich the time you and your baby spend together.