Does Microwaving Formula Destroy Nutrients
Does Microwaving Formula Destroy Nutrients? Keep reading…
The microwave has been one of the inventions affording great conveniences around the kitchen. Whether you are a busy mom or a bachelor who lives on takeaways, you can heat your food without much hassle.
And, if you are a parent to an infant, the thought of using a microwave to heat formula is even more tempting. At the end of several rounds of diaper changes, sleepless nights, and cranky episodes, it is normal to look for shortcuts.
But then you hear that voice in your head that advises against using a microwave. Many say it destroys the nutrients. How safe is it then to microwave formula? In this article, we will discuss the issue of microwaving formula feed.
Formula feed is of two kinds. The dry powder variety (to be mixed with water) and the ready-to-consume one. While the latter is very convenient, it costs more than its drier counterpart. Nevertheless, both must be warmed before consuming. Even for breastmilk, freezing or refrigerating causes the fat compounds to separate. Heating it restores it to its original state.
Heating formula feed has for long been a controversial topic for the following reasons.
Scalding is the chief complaint associated with microwaving formula feed. Bottles and food warmed in a microwave are heated unevenly. A microwave heats food inside out.
Thus, the container, in this case, the milk bottle, may feel cool on the outside. However, the contents could be quite hot. Not just this, there is no equal distribution of heat across the liquid, with some parts being hotter than others. A poor judgment of temperature could result in your infant’s lips, tongue and throat getting burnt.
Plastic is the Problem
Yet another argument against the use of microwaves to warm formula feed is contamination. When plastic containers are microwaved, some of the chemical compounds in the plastic may be transferred to the food being heated. These include phthalates and BPA, which if consumed can cause health problems in the long run.
Does it destroy nutrients?
A common reason cited for not using a microwave to heat formula is that it destroys nutrients present in the milk. The consensus has been divided as there is no strong evidence to support it.
A microwave heats foods using microwave radiation. The electron tube, the magnetron, produces microwaves. These waves are directed into the food chamber. There, they excite the water and fat molecules in the food, and produce heat and warm it up.
Studies supporting the use of microwave heating underline the fact that the loss of nutrients is directly related to the temperature and cooking time. When used for a shorter cooking time, microwaving does not compromise the nutrient value of the food. Microwaving does not destroy nutrients unless you leave the milk heating for over 15-20 minutes.
You shouldn’t heat milk in a microwave for more than a minute. There is a possibility that microwaving may alter the nutrient value of the food, but it will not leach vitamins and minerals. Otherwise too, overboiling not only alters nutritional value but also distorts taste.
Temperature is another major consideration. Thus, contrary to popular belief it is the higher temperatures that impact the nutritive value of the food and not the heating methods. The temperature of the milk should not be more than 40 degrees.
The answer to does microwaving formulas destroy nutrients also depends on the brand of formula you are using. A number of them include probiotics in the blend, which become unstable at higher temperatures. Overheating could kill the bacteria. Therefore, you need to prepare the formulas as per the instructions given and control the temperature wherever necessary.
Tips to Microwave Formula
You may try your best to avoid warming formula feed in a microwave. However, there may be situations where you are forced to do it, especially for those 3 am feeds. We know what it is to have a crying infant in your arms!
In the event you have to use it, heat the bottle for only a few minutes to warm it slightly. Let it stand for a minute or two. Shake well before use.
There is another quick and easy microwaving technique to heat milk in a microwave. Here’s how to do it.
- Do not heat your baby’s milk bottle directly in a microwave.
- Instead, heat water in a hollow, microwave-safe bowl or a cup.
- Once heated, remove it from the microwave and place the milk bottle in the cup. Let it sit for a while so that it heats the milk.
- Shake the bottle well. The shaking motion ensures the formula mixes well. It also helps distribute heat evenly and avoid hotspots. Swirling the bottle does produce air bubbles, but not too many. So, don’t worry about your baby swallowing air.
- Test a small sample of milk on your hand for temperature before you handover the bottle to your little one. Most parents test the liquid on the wrist. Use the top of your hand instead.
- Also, ensure that the bottle is cool enough on the outside.
For parents using powder formulas, use hot instead of cold water. Add the powdered product to the hot water. It will mix well and disperse heat evenly. This dispenses with the need to reheat the formula.
If you are still worried about using a microwave, you can invest in a baby food warmer. It is basically a gadget that helps heat a bottle. It warms the formula to an optimum level. It distributes heat evenly and preserves the precious nutrients. Alternatively, you can also run the bottle under a tap of hot water. It is an effective warming technique. The only problem is it wastes a lot of water.
Everyone recommends warming milk before it is fed to an infant. However, if you don’t have enough time and if it is becoming a slight hassle for you, gradually make the shift to cold milk or room temperature. Doing so will ease the transition to cow’s milk in the future.
Thus, to conclude, microwaving formula is not unhealthy. It is more a matter of safety. You can always microwave formula feed if you take the right precautions.