Features to Look for in a Bottle Warmer
Bottle warmers are designed for breast milk and formula. You won’t find a bottle warmer specifically for breastfeeding. There are bottle warmers that are meant for your home and travel bottle warmers, designed to take along on trips or in the car. When you are on the search for bottle warmers, there are a few features you need to check out before making your final purchase.
One of the major concerns with heating breast milk is overheating. Not only can overheating the milk cause it to lose some of its nutritional value, but it can pose a safety risk for your child.
Breast milk is coined liquid gold for a major reason; it is full of awesome nutrition value for our babies. It is designed to support and to grow our child throughout the first two years of their lives.
- However, all of the fantastic nutritional value that makes breast milk the best can be degraded when it is overheated.
If you heat up breastmilk, and it reaches temperatures higher than 104 F or 40 C, the nutritional value is going to plummet. All of the immunological value will deteriorate at those temperatures, and these are needed for your baby’s health. However, degradation is a major issue at 113 F or 45 C, especially if left at those temperatures for an extended period.
- For example, studies show that 1 minute at 131 F results in a 50% loss of activated enzymes. Breastfeeding mothers have to be careful!
So, what is the target temperature for breast milk?
- When milk leaves the mother’s body, it is at the same temperature as her body, so 98.6 F or 37 C is the perfect temperature for breast milk.
In fact, there is no need for breastmilk to be hot. It should be lukewarm; this is what your baby is accustomed to when drinking from the breast.
You want the bottle warmer to warm the bottles in a quick and efficient manner.
- Ideally, you don’t want to wait an hour before a bottle of milk is sufficiently warm. You could do it much faster with hot water, so that decreases the purpose and benefits of a bottle warmer. Search for ones with good warming times.
Also, the warmer should heat the milk in a consistent manner. Otherwise, the breast milk will have hot spots, leading to your baby potentially burning their mouths.
Breastfed babies are notorious for being picky about their bottle options. So prefer no bottles or other ones prefer only one type of bottle. Some bottle warmers on the market cannot use wide mouth bottles due to their design.
Also, some warmers only allow plastic or shatter resistant glass. The rapidly heating process can lead to glass breaking. It is important to make sure your warmer will take a variety of bottles to avoid having to purchase a second.
- A bottle warmer that allows all shapes and materials are ideal.
Water Bath vs. Steam Heat
In general, you are going to find two varieties of bottle warmers. In both ways, the warmers use water to heat the bottles, either in warm water or steam heat.
- The most commonly recommended bottle warmer is the ones using water bath technology. They do tend to heat slower, but they do so at a consistent temperature that will not deteriorate the nutrition of the breastmilk.
- They circulate warm water around the bottle, which gently helps the breast milk instead of rapidly doing so. Water bath bottle warmers help keep all of the maximum benefits and antibodies of breast milk.
- Steam heat bottle warmers are your second option. You place water into the warmer, which then is heated with an internal heating element. Because of how it performs, the bottles are heated much faster as well as creating a much higher temperature. Usually, the bottle is so hot you have to cool it down before feeding your baby.
- The high temperatures are one disadvantage of steam heat. They also heat milk unevenly, which can cause your child to have a mouth burn.
- If you use a steam heat bottle warmer, you have to be careful to ensure the breast milk does not increase beyond 104 F to avoid loss of nutritional quality.
While this feature isn’t required, it is a great feature to have. These warmers will turn off automatically. Some shut off based on a particular temperature or a set timer.
- However, the temperature based shut-offs tend to be a bit more unreliable.
Top 5 Best Bottle Warmers
Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer and Breast Milk Warmer
To start off our review, we will start with the Kiinde Kozii bottle warmer. Kiinde Kozii is one of the only brands designed to follow the recommendations to safely thaw and heat breast milk.
- Instead of steam heat, it uses warm, flowing water to heat the bottles. The water bath will keep all of the nutrients in the breast milk. There is a timer that reduces the chance of overheating the milk.
- You can use nearly any bottle, including glass and steel bottles, along with frozen storage bags. Wide and narrow bottles both fit perfectly.
- On average, it is going to take 4 to 10 minutes to heat the milk, depending on storage and beginning temperature.
- Another nice feature is that you don’t need to add water with each usage; that is excellent for those sleepless nights.
- We love this warmer and that it was scientifically designed to heat up breast milk in the proper manner. Parents don’t need to worry about overheating the milk.
- It is versatile and easy to use.
Besides the higher price tag, there are no downsides to this warmer!
First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer
Next up in our review is the beloved First Years warmer. It is a very attractive option for mothers. Not only can you use the warmer for bottles, but it is also ideal for warming up baby food jars and sterilizing pacifiers. The First Years warmer uses steam heat to heat breast milk.
There are some great features to this bottle warmer.
- First, it is broad enough to fit most bottles, including the Tommee Tippee bottles.
- The reservoir can hold enough water for two uses, which is perfect for those nighttime feedings.
- There is an automatic shut-off.
- On average, you can expect the bottles to take 2 to 4 minutes to be heated.
- Even though it uses steam heat, we think the First Years warmer deserves a spot on the list.
- It is small and compact, so it doesn’t take up much real estate on your countertops.
- The added benefit of heating baby food and sterilizing makes this an excellent option for parents.
Born Free Tru-Temp Bottle Warmer and Cooler
Our third choice is the Born Free, designed to warm breast milk and formula to the correct temperatures in three minutes.
- There is an insulated cooler so that you can keep two bottles cold for 8 hours. You can take the whole unit, with the bottles, to your room to reduce steps needed in the middle of the night.
- The Born Free warmer uses steam heat to warm your bottles, but it does so in a safe manner. The breast milk will not be overheated. You only need to fill the reservoir once a day.
- One of the best features of this warm is how quickly it works. It can heat a 5oz bottle in 3 minutes and a 9oz bottle in 4 to 6 minutes. Then, it will automatically shut off.
- You use the dial on the front to let the warmer know the size of the bottle and type. The Born Free warmer allows parents to use narrow and all wide bottles on the market.
- Also, you can use glass bottles safely without worrying about breaking.
- We love the Born Free warmer and think you will as well. It is designed with steel, so it has a modern look for your kitchen.
- Even though it uses steam heat, it is intended for a much lower temperature than typical steam heaters. The breast milk will be at the perfect temperature.
- The cooling feature is so convenient for nighttime and caregivers.
The Born Free Tru-Temp requires your consideration!
Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer
The fourth warmer on our list is from the very famous Dr. Brown’s, who makes one of the top bottles on the market. It is no wonder that they also make a nice bottle warmer, so let’s take a look at the features.
- The warmer does use steam heat to warm the bottles and baby food jars. The water chamber holds enough water for several uses before needing to be refilled.
- One of the nicest features is the visual countdown on the timer, so you know how much time is left. You can change the baby’s diaper and know the bottle will be done when you return.
- It can heat bottles in 4 minutes, depending on the temperature of the bottle. You can also use 4oz bottles using the basket, so you can easily lift it out.
- The one major downside to Dr. Brown’s bottle warmer is that it won’t fit wide bottles. It is designed for Dr. Brown’s bottles, which are narrow and tall. However, you can use plastic and glass bottles safely.
- With the basket, you can sterilize pacifiers as well.
- Dr. Brown’s warmer may not work for everyone because it limits the number of bottles one can use. However, the settings allow you to determine how long to heat the bottle, so you reduce the chances of overheating your breast milk.
The warmer is compact, so it’s ideal for smaller kitchens. It is a great option for parents.
Maxx Double Digital Bottle Warmer and Sterilizer
The last bottle warmer on our review is by Maxx Elite, which can fit two bottles at one time. If you have twins, this will save you tons of time each day!
- One of the best reasons to select this warmer is the digital display and options. You can choose the time chart or the automatic temperature settings.
- For breast milk, they have a warm, gentle cycle that will heat your breast milk up to 40 C.
- They also have express warm for breast milk stored in the refrigerator. Since it can be a sterilizer, there is an option for a much higher temperature.
- There is an option to keep the bottles at constant heat if you aren’t ready to feed your baby right then. Here is how this can work!
- Fill up the reservoir with enough water for the night.
- Add two bottles for your baby.
- Then, use Gentle Warm and 1 or 2 hours.
- Head to bed and you will have two bottles ready for your little one that night.
Even though this warmer uses steam heat, it is designed with breastfeeding mothers in mind. It has some great digital options that other warmers don’t have. The Maxx Elite is an excellent choice.
What Warmer to Select
With all of these excellent options, it can be hard to decide which bottle warmer is the best choice.
- Out of all 5 great selections, I personally preferred the Kiinde Kozii, it is the best option for breastfeeding mothers.
It is the only alternative that uses the water bath warming technology. You can use all varieties of bottles, as well as frozen storage bags. There will be no worries of overheating the milk, and, since it gently warms the milk, it will be heated consistently.
Do you have a bottle warmer that you love? We would love to hear what works for your family. Let us know in the comments!