Heating baby food in bottle warmer

Heating and Thawing Homemade Baby Food Purees

What is the Best Way to Heat or Thaw Homemade Baby Food Cubes?

There are many ways to heat and thaw homemade baby food. On this page we will tell you all about heating and thawing your homemade baby food cubes.

Thawing and Heating of Homemade Baby Food

When thawing or heating baby food cubes, take out as many cubes that you will feed your baby for 1 or 2 days. Remember to thaw only the amount of food that you will use in a period of 1-3 days as you should not refreeze any leftover food.

Transfer the cubes to a storage container and let the cubes thaw in the refrigerator or you may wish to transfer the cubes to a glass bowl and then thaw them in the microwave. We’ll discuss the various methods of heating and thawing homemade baby food below. Whatever method you choose, please do be sure to always test the temperature of the foods you will be feeding your baby!


Heating Homemade Baby Food

Microwave Heating

Many parents love the ease and convenience of the microwave for both heating and thawing homemade baby food. Whether or not you use the microwave to heat or thaw your homemade baby food is a decision only you can make.

To heat the baby food in the microwave, always transfer the amount of food you will be heating to a glass microwave safe container. You should not use plastic to heat foods in the mircowave. Heat the food in 15 second increments and stir after each heating. When the food has reached the temperature you desire, be sure to give one final stir so that no hot pockets are left to burn baby’s mouth.

Stove Top Heating of Homemade Baby Food

When heating baby food on the stove top, choose a smaller saucepan and place the food into the sauce pan. Gently heat the food using a low setting. Using the lower heat setting will ensure that you do not burn the food.

Do NOT store leftover food from a container that your baby has been eating from. Saliva will contaminate the food and storing leftovers may cause food poisoning.

Microwave Thawing of Homemade Baby Food

Always warm baby food cubes in a glass bowl and not in plastic containers as researchindicates glass is safer. If you are using a microwave to thaw or reheat baby food cubes, be sure to stir food to ensure no hot-pockets are left to burn baby.

Many parents do not like to use the microwave for a variety of reasons. It is up to you to decide if heating or thawing your baby food cubes in the microwave is right for you and your baby. If you do not wish to use a microwave to thaw your baby food cubes, you may thaw your baby food cubes in the refrigerator over night (ensure that the cubes remain a closed container and not in an uncovered bowl) as mentioned.


Refrigerator Thawing of Homemade Baby Food Cubes

Thawing baby food cubes in the refrigerator will take longer than using a microwave or the floating/submersion method. You may thaw your baby food cubes in the refrigerator over night (ensure that the cubes remain a closed container and not in an uncovered bowl). This method may take up to 12 hours so do be sure to plan accordingly!

Submersion or Warm Water Thawing of Baby Food Cubes

Thawing baby food cubes using this “submersion method” should take between 10-20 minutes. You may place the cubes in a small bowl and then place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with hot water. You can also do this with a pan of warm water on the stove; add the smaller bowl to a pot of water that you have warmed.

 Thawing food on your kitchen counter is never recommended as bacteria or other contaminants may get into the food.

 You should not feed your baby from the container and then re-store the container that baby has been fed from. Saliva may contaminate the food and bacteria may evolve. Always take the portions you will serve from the container and transfer to a feeding bowl.

 Please keep in mind that reheating and serving baby food cubes is warm is NOT necessary. Baby food cubes may be served at room temperature once they have been thawed and then heated.. Many babies enjoy room temperature foods.


How Long is it Safe to Keep Thawed Baby Food in the Refrigerator

Thawed homemade baby food is just like other food that you have cooked, frozen and then thawed. The homemade baby food that you have thawed may safely be kept in the refrigerator for 72 hours maximum. Ensure that the thawed baby food is kept in a sealed container to avoid contamination.


 Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.

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How to Warm Baby Bottles (4 Quick & Safe Methods)

There’s nothing worse than trying to put off a crying, hungry baby. When they want food, they want it now and have little patience for the time it takes to heat a bottle safely.

So, how can you warm a bottle quickly without causing harm to your baby? By researching and experimenting, we’ve compared all the ways to warm baby bottles to find the safest and best methods to get your baby fed faster.

This is what we’ve learned.

The Basics of Bottle-Heating

First of all, let’s make one thing clear: It’s not necessary to heat a baby’s bottle; it’s simply a matter of preference (1). While young babies may especially have a preference for warm milk, older babies may be more open to tolerating lukewarm or even cold milk.

When a baby nurses, the milk that is released is warmed to body temperature, around 98.6 degrees. For us adults who like our coffee around 160 degrees, that seems downright icy. This is why “heating” a bottle is a misnomer.

Take Note

The goal is not to heat the bottle of milk but rather to warm it. Exposing milk to temperatures that are too high destroys its natural enzymes and immunizing properties.

Instead of working to “heat” the bottle, try to gently raise the temperature to match the typical temperature of the body. This will preserve the nutrients in the milk and prevent burning (2).

There are several different ways to warm a bottle:

  • Microwave (not recommended).
  • Baby bottle warmers.
  • Stove-top (not recommended).
  • Counter-top methods.
  • Using tap water.


No matter what method you choose, experts agree: Don’t warm bottles in the microwave. It can result in uneven heating which can burn a baby’s mouth.

Bottles that are microwaved continue to “cook” after they’re removed, making the temperature increase further and putting your baby at risk for burns.

Heating bottles on the stove-top in boiling water can also cause milk to heat unevenly, warm too quickly, or overheat all at once. You can heat water on the stove and then use it to warm a bottle, but make sure to remove it from the stove before putting the bottle in to warm. Bottle warmers or a mug of warm tap water are a safer bet.

If your baby prefers their milk warmed, check our advice below to make sure you’re reaching that perfect temperature quickly and safely.

Choose a Glass or BPA-free Bottle

When you’re heating your baby’s bottle, it’s important to be mindful of the possibility of chemical leaching. Glass baby bottles are a great choice to give you peace of mind, but some parents are dissuaded by their weight and the possibility of breakage.

The good news is that all plastic baby bottles currently sold in the U.S. are manufactured without bisphenol A (BPA). BPA makes plastics rigid, keeps plastics from growing bacteria, and prevents rust. It’s an estrogen-like chemical that can potentially cause health problems (3).

If you are using old or secondhand plastic bottles, you may want to check if they contain BPA. You may also need to check if your bottles were purchased outside the U.S. Consult the manufacturer to ask if you’re not sure.

If you prefer to use the bottles you have but aren’t sure about their BPA content, don’t worry, you can still use them! Just heat your milk or formula in a glass container, then transfer it to your existing bottles to avoid the leaching issue.

Heat Evenly

While most of these methods heat your baby’s bottle evenly, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Gently swirl (don’t shake) the milk to mix it and ensure there are no hot spots. You want the temperature to be consistent throughout the bottle.

Test the Temperature

No matter which method you use, remember — safety first! Always test the milk before giving the bottle to your baby to avoid burning their mouth. Dab a few drops of milk onto your inner wrist; you should feel almost nothing if it’s the appropriate temperature.

Most babies prefer milk that’s as close to body temperature as possible. If you feel no warm sensation on your wrist, the temperature is perfect. If it’s slightly cool, it may still be acceptable, but if you feel any heat at all, the bottle is too hot! Wait until it cools down before offering it to your little one.

4 Ways to Safely Warm Your Baby’s Bottle

Here are four tried and tested ways to warm your baby’s milk without causing them any harm.

1. Set the Bottle in Warm Water

One of the most tried-and-true bottle-warming methods is the counter-top method — and it requires no special equipment! Heat some water on the stove or in the microwave, or run the hot water tap. The water should be lukewarm but not boiling.

Remove the water from the heat source, and set the bottle in it, allowing it to sit and be gently warmed by the water. Swirl the bottle occasionally to make sure all the milk gets heated through, but avoid shaking vigorously as this can introduce air bubbles.

This method is easy and costs nothing, but it can take several minutes to warm your baby’s bottle to the desired temperature.

2. Warm Milk Bags Under Tap Water

If you’re feeding your baby expressed milk, the breastmilk bag is your new best friend!

Because the plastic is thin and the breast milk is spread across the bag in a thin layer, you can bring it to the right temperature quickly and efficiently by running the bag under warm tap water.

When it feels like it’s heated through, transfer the milk to your bottle.

3. Prepare Formula Bottles with Warm Tap Water

If you’re mixing a bottle of formula and have a sink on hand, there’s no need to go through the extra step of heating your bottle. Simply run warm water directly into the bottle when you’re mixing your formula.

If you’re concerned about the purity of your local tap water, boil it for one minute, then allow it to cool to the appropriate temperature (98.6 degrees) before making your baby’s bottle (4).

4. Use a Bottle Warmer

There are several bottle warmer options on the market, so make sure you choose one that fits the size and shape of the bottles you’re using. These take the guesswork out of warming bottles — a simple touch of a button warms your bottle to the perfect temperature, hands-free.

There are even some that are made for the car in case you’re away from home. And if you’re formula-feeding, you can choose one that dispenses, mixes, and heats the water all in one simple step. It’s like a Keurig for your baby!

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