Do you need baby bottle warmers in Singapore?
Getting ready for your baby can be overwhelming: you spend hours scouring the internet for baby gear reviews and advice, reorganizing your home, and the never-ending list goes on. Navigating the must-haves and nice-to-haves in your baby registry and paring down to just the essentials can be a little daunting as a first-time parent. For example, one of the items many parents-to-be are undecided on is a baby bottle warmer.
We spoke with Alona Hodik* (an IBCLC and Certified Childbirth Educator from Belly to Breastfeeding) and Kathy Rougier** (postpartum doula and founder of Empowa). It turns out that you won’t really need a milk bottle warmer! Because, believe it or not, you can feed your baby cold milk. Read to find out more!
Do you need to warm a baby's milk bottle before feeding them?
Although it’s mainly up to your baby’s preference, Alona shares that there’s no need to warm the bottle before giving it to your baby, especially if you’re living in Singapore, where it’s almost warm and sunny all year round. “It’s hot, man! Babies like chilled milk here,” and she adds that it’s totally fine to feed them room temperature milk. So if you’re living in a warm, sunny locale like Singapore and your baby prefers chilled milk, it’s okay to give them a cool treat.
Is it dangerous to feed a baby cold milk? Will it give them gas, wind, reflux, or colic?
Alona explains that the milk temperature doesn’t determine if your baby becomes colicky, and it’s not dangerous to feed them cold milk. Instead, the technique you use (check out Empowa’s article in paced feeding) and the baby bottles you use can impact those things. Dr Brown’s and Medela are our all-time favorites to reduce reflux, spit-ups, and other colic symptoms.
What's a bottle warmer, and how does it work?
A bottle warmer is a convenient gadget designed to heat up baby bottles and defrost frozen breast milk bags or baby food safely and evenly. Different baby bottle warmers work differently, but bottle warmers typically work by using steam or warm water bath.
Steam baby warmers convert the water in the reservoir into steam to heat up the bottle, which typically works faster than warmers using warm water bath. For water bottle warmers, the water in the reservoir heats the bottle as it rises and circulates within the warmer. Depending on which model you select, some warmers have bells and whistles like auto-shutoff, different temperature settings, etc.
How do you warm up a baby bottle without a bottle warmer?
Aside from using a bottle warmer, you can warm your baby’s bottle by placing it in a bowl or container of hot (but not boiling) water for a minute or so. “Swirl the bottle around—constantly, if you can—regularly checking the milk temperature by squirting a little on your inner wrist,” Alona suggests. Do not shake the bottle as it will introduce air bubbles, and it could give your baby gas.
She also warns that you should never stick their baby bottles in the microwave. It doesn’t heat up the milk evenly and may cause hot spots that may scald your baby. It may also risk overheating breast milk, which will destroy the nutrients in the precious liquid gold.
Do you need to use a bottle warmer for expressed/pumped breast milk?
You don’t have to warm expressed breast milk. Instead, it can be given to your baby at room temperature or chilled. Also, as we mentioned earlier, babies here tend to prefer chilled or room-temperature milk because of the sweltering temperatures. “It’s a waste of time, money, and electricity,” says Alona, and your fancy bottle warmer sitting in your registry is likely to become a white elephant.
Similarly, you don’t have to use a warmer for infant formula. When making the formula, first add a portion of completely boiling water to kill any nasties present. Then, top it up with the required amount of cool boiled water. Always remember that it’s important to use the correct water to powder ratio, which Kathy says she often has to demonstrate actually means that a 120ml feed (for example) is actually a little more than 120ml.
At this point, the bottle is already warm, but you can store it in the fridge for later (up to 24 hours) if you’re making it ahead of time (this can be a super time saver for busy parents). Once you’ve refrigerated the bottle of milk, Alona advises against re-heating up the bottle of milk before giving it to your baby.
What are the most popular bottle warmers in Singapore?
If your baby’s a little pickier than others and you’re looking for a bottle warmer, fret not; we’ve rounded up some of the popular models just for you:
1. Tommee Tippee Electric Bottle and Food Warmer
The Tommee Tippee Electric Bottle and Food Warmer makes nighttime feeding a lot more convenient. It uses a warm water bath to slowly warm your baby’s bottle in just four minutes, simply add water and turn the knob to your preferred setting. This warmer can also heat up food jars while preserving all the nutrients, which is an excellent feature once your baby is ready to start solids.
2. Philips Avent Fast Bottle Electric Warmer
Philips’ bottle warmer is a great choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly bottle warmer. It heats up bottles and baby food jars using warm water bath in just three minutes. There’s also a defrost function specifically for warming frozen breast milk or baby food. Plus, it features a built-in temperature sensor and automatically shuts off after 60 minutes to avoid overheating. Compatible with most leading bottle and baby food jar brands.
3. Dr Brown’s Deluxe Electric Bottle and Food Warmer and Steriliser
This bottle warmer from Dr Brown’s steam-heats bottles and food containers in about three minutes. It also doubles up as a sterilizer to keep bacteria, mold, and yeast at bay (great function if you’re keen on sterilisers. Thanks to its large water reservoir, you can warm several bottles before refilling, saving you an extra step - speed is key when your baby is hungry! Similar to Philips’, it has an auto shut-off function after 60s, so you won’t have to worry about overheating if you forget about it. It also features different warming settings for various bottle types, sizes, and starting temperatures.
4. NUK 3-in-1 Thermo Bottle Warmer
Another popular choice among parents, this NUK bottle warmer is slightly similar to Phillip’s in terms of features and price. It warms bottles and baby food evenly in the warm water bath and is equipped with three functions (heating, thawing, keep warm) to suit your needs. When it’s feeding time, simply add water into the reservoir, submerge the bottle or food jar and turn the knob to the desired temperature setting. Small and compact, it won’t hog much space on your counter. Perfect for apartments with smaller kitchens!
5. Lollababy Bottle Warmer
The Lollababy warmer is a slightly pricier night feed buddy (it has night light!), and it matches your modern interior thanks to its stylish design. It heats up your baby’s bottle in ten minutes and offers four preset temperature settings. The Lollababy warmer is perfect on-the-go thanks to its lightweight (only 400g!) and portable design - no cords or water needed. Simply screw the bottle on and turn it on! Compatible with most wide-neck baby bottle brands like Avent, Spectra, Chicco, Dr Brown’s (with adapter), Medela (with adapter).
6. Beaba BabyMilk Second Bottle Warmer and Sterilizer
Like Dr Brown’s, the Beaba BabyMilk Second features a steam-heating system to warm up food jars and bottles and sterilize bottles or bottle parts. The only two differences are the price (this one’s a little more affordable) and the speed (this one purports to warm bottles a minute faster). It also has a built-in timer to help reach the correct temperature according to the size and material of your baby’s bottle. BPA-, lead- and phthalate-free for your peace of mind. Fits most bottles, including wide-neck bottles.
Do you need a bottle warmer next to your bed to warm up milk during the night?
“No way José,” says Alona. Although it makes late-night feedings a cinch (when you’re dead-tired and your baby is hungry and fussing for warm milk), there’s no need to have a bottle warmer next to your bed to warm up your baby's milk.
There’s also a risk of leaving your bottle warmer on all night, which can lead to your warmer overheating, smoking, or catching fire. Moreover, bottle warmers might take just as long as warming your baby’s bottle manually under running tap water or in a bowl of hot (again, not boiling) water - it just feels longer!
How to defrost breast milk in a bottle warmer?
Some bottle warmers are equipped with special settings to defrost frozen breast milk. However, do not refreeze once thawed, and the milk should be used within two hours.
How long does it take to defrost breast milk in a bottle warmer?
It depends on the type of bottle warmer you have, the temperature setting, and the amount of breast milk, but it generally takes about an hour. Refer to the product manual for the correct estimate.
How long can you keep milk in a bottle warmer?
Again, it depends mainly on the bottle warmer. As a general guide, you should not leave your baby’s bottle in the warmer for more than thirty minutes to an hour. It may risk overheating (both milk and bottle) and may also lead to bacteria growth. Refer to your user’s manual for a definitive answer.
If you need some baby gear advice, why not book an appointment with us. We're all about the personal touch! This is hands down, the easiest way to get the right baby gear without being stressed, overwhelmed, or doing 100 hours of YouTube research.
*Alona Hodik is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a Certified Childbirth Educator, but first and foremost, she is the proud mother of three wonderful children - all exclusively breastfed and the reason she became a lactation consultant. In addition to her IBCLC certification, Alona’s credentials include CBS - Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, CBEd - Certified Childbirth Educator, BSc in Biology, and an MBA.
**Kathy Rougier is a trained Postpartum Doula and founder of Empowa. She’s also a mother of one, who spent over 20 years in corporate business and has lived in the UK, Thailand, and Singapore. She uses all of her training, life experience, and passion for coaching people to support new mums and families through the new challenges they will face, be that holding space for their birth journey, feeding, lactation, newborn care, self-care for mothers, coping mechanisms for new fathers and redefining their new futures. Empowa is all about empowering new mums and families to be the best version of themselves. Empowa finds your strengths, from past and present, identifies and empowers you to be the most amazing new version of yourself, be that a SAHM or a driven working parent.