Is warm formula easier for baby to digest? This is a common question among parents who are planning to introduce formula due to lack of enough breast milk supply or when going back to work.
Some babies prefer warm milk while others like it cold or at room temperature. My babies have always loved warm milk from the start but that’s because it never crossed my mind that babies can take cold formula.
So, is warm formula easier for baby to digest?
The debate about giving your baby warm versus cold formula has remained a major topic over the years. While most lactation experts argue that there are no health benefits associated with the temperature of your baby’s milk, others believe that warm liquids are easier to digest not only in babies’ digestive systems but also in adults.
From my research and experience, warm baby formula is not easier for babies to digest than cold formula. However, there are several benefits of giving your baby warm milk as discussed below.
Benefits of feeding your baby warm formula vs cold
To begin with, formula that is warmed at the right temperature comforts your baby as it feels more like breast milk. Breast milk temperature is around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that when babies feed directly from the breasts, they feed on warm milk. Hence, formula should also be taken at the same temperature to encourage babies to drink more.
Secondly, babies tend to feel happier and lively when they take warm milk compared to cold. This is based on the fact that their bodies use a lot of energy to warm cold formula, which leaves them feeling weak and cranky.
Thirdly, although we cannot conclusively say that warm formula is digested easily, some babies tend to show signs of stomach upset when they feed on cold formula.
The only benefit of giving your baby cold formula is that you save time especially when on the go.
Points to note when warming baby formula
Extra caution should be taken when warming formula to prevent overheating, which can result in loss of nutrients.
You should not use an open pan to bring the formula to a boil as you risk overheating it and destroying the nutrients.
The most appropriate method to use is to prepare the formula in a bottle and run it directly under hot water from the tap. You can also boil water in a pan, remove it from the stove and then dip the bottle with formula to warm it.
These two methods may take a while so a quicker option would be to use an appropriate bottle warmer.
The temperature of breast milk is perfect for the baby. It is not too hot or too cold but lukewarm. Similarly, babies need to take warm formula. Although there are no health benefits like easing digestion, taking warm milk gives babies comfort and helps them to feel happier and lively.
Cold milk, on the other hand, must be warmed up by the body to reach room temperature. This results in loss of body energy; thereby, making your baby feel grumpy and tired.