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Can You Reheat Formula?

Did you know that almost 20% of babies who are less than two days old are already drinking formula? Formula can be a savior for mothers who are unable to breastfeed or don't want to breastfeed, but if you're a mother who has never used formula before, you might have some questions. For example, you might be wondering -- can you reheat formula?

This is a very important question because when it comes to babies who are only days or weeks old, you have to be particularly careful when feeding them since they have very delicate digestive systems.

Fortunately, this article will guide you through everything you need to know when it comes to baby formula.

You should also keep in mind that many people, mothers and non-mothers, tend to have a lot of opinions about how and what you should feed babies. Knowing this, you should always do what feels right for you and your baby (as long as you make safe decisions).

To start off our discussion, let's take a closer look at the different types of baby formulas that are available and how they might differ when it comes to heating them up for a second time.

Types of Baby Formula You Should Know About

There is not just one kind of baby formula on the market and while this is, of course, a great thing, it can be confusing for new mothers or mothers who have never tried using formula before.

When going into the formula section at any grocery store, you're likely to be overwhelmed with countless brands of formula that all market themselves as the best formula. You're likely to encounter the same confusing mess even if you shop online.

So, where should you start? First, it's important to keep in mind why you need the formula. Does your baby have trouble digesting breast milk or are you unable to produce enough milk to feed your baby?

Infant formula mimics human breast milk and is for babies younger than one year of age. Both breast milk and formula are full of nutrients that are important for the physical and mental growth of your child. Of course, if you're not able to produce enough milk to satisfy your child's hunger, your child won't get the nutrients he or she needs. 

This is where baby formula can help. Keep in mind that because you use formula, you don't need to give up on breastfeeding entirely. You can alternate between breastfeeding and formula to make sure your baby is getting all the necessary nutrients. 

Also, keep in mind that not all formula is good for new babies. Some formulas are designed for babies that are at least six months of age. Once you sort out all this information, you'll have to decide on what kind of formula to get your baby. 

Formulas may be cow milk-based or soy-based. Protein hydrolysate formulas are also available. You'll need to decide between powder or liquid formula as well.

Cow Milk Protein-Based Formula

Baby formulas that are based on cow milk are one of the most popular formula types around. That is because this type of formula is most similar to human breast milk. For that reason, this type of formula is very safe and most babies can digest cow milk formula without any trouble. 

You might wonder why you can't feed your child cow milk instead of formula. The answer is that babies cannot digest cow milk but can digest the proteins derived from cow milk, which is what this kind of baby formula is made of. The reason why new babies can't digest cow milk is due to the butterfat in the milk.

The fats and oils in butterfat are too much for a newborn's digestive system. Cow milk-based formulas have no butterfat in them. Instead, they have more delicate fats and oils that won't irritate your little one's digestive system.

Besides the fact that cow milk-based formula won't bother your baby's digestive system, it is also full of nutrients that your baby needs. These nutrients are very similar to the nutrients found in breast milk, so you won't need to worry about your baby missing out on important vitamins and minerals. Some of the nutrients in cow milk-based formula that are the same as breast milk include iron and lactose. 

However, the presence of lactose might be a problem if your child is unable to digest lactose. This is especially true if your child has the diagnosis of galactosemia. This condition involves the inability to digest galactose, which exists in lactose, and can lead to long-term complications. 

If your child can't digest lactose, don't worry. There are other formula options available without lactose such as the following: soy-based formula. 

Soy-Based Formula

Most types of soy-based formula are suitable to feed babies from birth. Even though the formula is made with proteins derived from soybeans, it is still designed to mimic human breast milk as closely as possible so your child won't miss out on any important nutrients. Soy formulas have no lactose in them.

However, if your child is sensitive or allergic to cow milk formulas, you should be careful when first providing soy formula to your baby. This is because some babies may be sensitive to both of these formulas and may instead need a special formula to avoid digestive problems. However, if your child's sensitivity stems from the consumption of lactose alone, your child should have no problem consuming soy formula. 

Soy formula is enriched with iron like cow milk formula and it tends to be cheaper than other types of formula. As with other breast milk alternatives, soy-based formula can come in a powder or liquid form. With powdered formula, you will need to scoop the necessary amount of powder into your baby's bottle and then add water before shaking it all together. 

You will likely need to spend more on liquid formula, although it is a bit more convenient. All you need to do is mix the formula concentrate with water before giving it to your child. The ready-to-feed formula is by far the most convenient type of formula since you don't need to measure or mix anything. 

Ready-to-feed formulas come in different sizes and you can store them at room temperature without any issues. However, expect to pay more for this type of formula. 

Hydrolyzed Formulas

The final type of formula we will explore is hydrolyzed formula. This formula is ideal if your child has a difficult time digesting soy or cow milk formulas. Hydrolyzed formulas are sometimes called "predigested" formulas.

This is because the proteins in hydrolyzed formulas are so small that they are unlikely to bother even the most sensitive digestive systems. Special machines are used to break down proteins into extremely small components. Even if your child has a protein allergy, hydrolyzed formulas are unlikely to cause any irritation. 

So, now that you know about the main types of formula, you might be wondering if you can reheat formula depending on what kind of formula it is. We will explore what you need to know about reheating formula next.

Can You Reheat Formula?

When asking the question, "Can formula be reheated?" some might reply, "No!" However, this is not always the case. Whether or not you can reheat formula and give it to your baby for a second time can depend on a variety of factors. 

After all, no parent wants to let perfectly good formula go to waste. However, no parent wants to get their child sick because of a careless mistake either. First, consider if your formula is prepared (compared to ready-to-use formula). 

If you mix the formula with water but don't give it to your baby right away, the formula may be good at room temperature for up to two hours. If you put the mixture directly in the refrigerator and ensure that it is sealed, it may last around 24 hours. If the formula has been sitting in the refrigerator for more than a day, it is best to throw it away to avoid getting your baby sick. 

What about if you have ready-to-use formula instead? Ready-to-use formula tends to last longer than prepared formula, but only if you store it properly and haven't given it to your child yet. Once you open the ready-to-use formula, you need to put it in a well-sealed container and put it in the refrigerator as soon as possible. 

This kind of formula should last around 48 hours. During this time, it should be safe to reheat the formula. To safely warm the bottle from the refrigerator, you should run it under warm water or heat it in a pot until it reaches the desired temperature.

You should never microwave formula since this can lead to hot spots in the formula which can burn your baby. Bottles may also explode if heated for too long in the microwave.

How Many Times Can You Reheat Formula?

If you're asking yourself the questions, "Can you reheat formula twice? What about several times?" the answers are not very straightforward. As mentioned before, you can reheat formula as long as your baby has not drunk from the bottle yet and as long as the formula has been stored in the fridge for a certain period of time. 

What if you heat up the formula but then forget that it's sitting on the counter? Can you heat it up again? As long as the formula hasn't been sitting out for more than one or two hours, you might be able to heat it up again.

However, you need to keep in mind that the more times you reheat the formula, the fewer nutrients that formula will contain. This is because of how heat can denature or destroy the proteins in the formula, especially when you heat up the formula several times.

You might be wondering how you should heat formula that has already been heated before. You should aim to reheat the formula in the same way as you heated it the first time: either in a pot over the stove or by running warm water over the formula bottle.

You should keep in mind that babies don't actually need warm formula. That's right! While many people believe that babies should only be fed warm formula or milk, babies usually don't have any problems when being fed room temperature or even cold formula.

So, if you don't find the idea of reheating formula very attractive, you can give your baby room temperature formula as long as it hasn't been sitting open for more than two hours. But if you do want to reheat the formula, things get more complicated once you give the formula to your baby to drink. 

Can You Reheat Formula after Giving It to Your Baby?

It can be hard to discard formula remaining in your baby's bottle once your baby is full. However, you should not reheat the leftovers in your baby's formula bottle. Why might this be, you ask?

This is because bacteria from your baby's mouth and the formula in the bottle can react to form harmful bacteria. The harmful bacteria can start growing quickly at room temperature. For this reason, you should never reheat formula that might have been contaminated in this way since it can make your baby sick.

What You Need to Know About Reheating Formula

By the end of this article, you should no longer be asking yourself, "Can you reheat formula?" Instead, you should know all the details about the different kinds of formulas and if you can or can't reheat them. By knowing this information, you can always be sure that your baby will have healthy formula to drink.

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