Breast milk is considered to be the best food for infants as it provides all the necessary nutrients that they need to grow and develop. However, there are times when breast milk needs to be reheated, especially when it has been stored in the refrigerator or freezer. But how many times can you reheat breast milk before it becomes unsafe for your baby to consume? In this article, we will answer this question and provide you with some tips on how to safely reheat breast milk.
The Rules of Reheating Breast Milk
Before we dive into how many times you can reheat breast milk, let’s first discuss the rules of reheating it. First and foremost, breast milk should always be stored in a clean and sterile container. Secondly, it should be reheated in a gentle and gradual manner to avoid destroying the valuable nutrients in the milk. Lastly, breast milk should never be microwaved as it can cause hot spots and may even burn your baby’s mouth.
How Many Times Can You Reheat Breast Milk?
The general rule of thumb is that you should only reheat breast milk once. This means that if your baby doesn’t finish a bottle of breast milk, you can store it in the refrigerator and use it for the next feeding. However, if your baby doesn’t finish that bottle either, it’s time to discard the remaining breast milk.
Why Can’t You Reheat Breast Milk Multiple Times?
Breast milk contains valuable nutrients and antibodies that can be destroyed when it is reheated multiple times. When breast milk is heated, it undergoes a process called denaturation, which can break down the proteins in the milk. This can lead to a loss of nutrients and a decrease in the milk’s effectiveness in protecting your baby from infections and illnesses.
Tips for Safely Reheating Breast Milk
If you need to reheat breast milk for your baby, here are some tips to ensure its safety:
Use warm water
The best way to reheat breast milk is by placing the bottle in a bowl of warm water. This will allow the milk to gradually warm up without destroying its valuable nutrients.
Don’t use a microwave
As mentioned earlier, microwaving breast milk can cause hot spots and may even burn your baby’s mouth. It can also destroy the nutrients in the milk, making it less effective in protecting your baby from infections and illnesses.
Shake the bottle
Before feeding your baby, be sure to shake the bottle to evenly distribute the heated breast milk. This will ensure that your baby receives all the valuable nutrients in the milk.
Check the temperature
Always check the temperature of the breast milk before feeding it to your baby. You can do this by placing a few drops on the inside of your wrist. The milk should feel warm, but not hot.
In conclusion, you should only reheat breast milk once before discarding any remaining milk. This is because reheating breast milk multiple times can destroy its valuable nutrients and make it less effective in protecting your baby from infections and illnesses. If you need to reheat breast milk, be sure to do so in a gentle and gradual manner, and always check the temperature before feeding it to your baby. By following these tips, you can ensure that your baby receives the best possible nutrition from your breast milk.