Breast Feeding Feeding

Can Newborns Drink Cold Breast Milk? (Does It Upset Baby’s Stomach?)

If you are unsure whether it’s ok to given your newborn baby cold breast milk, you’re not alone.

The subject of warm vs cold milk has been debated by parents for many years, so it’s not surprising that there is a lot of confusion around the subject.

If you are planning to go down the cold route, the good news is that yes, it is indeed safe for babies to drink cold milk.

So why do many parents warm up their baby’s bottle?

And can cold milk upset a baby’s stomach or give them gas?

Let’s take a look.

Can Newborns Drink Cold Breast Milk?

Full-Term Babies

According to health experts it is perfectly safe to give newborns cold breast milk, provided your baby is healthy and full-term.

So if you want to feed your baby a bottle directly from the fridge, there’s no reason why you cannot safely go head.

Pre-Term Babies

For pre-term or premature babies the situation is slightly different.

Digesting cold milk requires your baby to use extra calories, and may reduce a baby’s body temperature in the process, so for this reason it’s advisable to warm up a bottle before giving it to a preemie.

person holding baby's index finger

Can Babies Drink Cold Breast Milk?

Yes, babies can safely be given cold breastmilk, and this applies to both newborns, infants and toddlers.

In fact, there is nothing to say your baby won’t actually prefer cold milk.

Ultimately it comes down to their personal preference, with some babies preferring warm, others liking room temperature milk, and others still who prefer it cold or chilled.

Related: Your Must Have Baby & Toddler Feeding Guide

Warm Milk vs Cold Milk For Newborns

So what does this mean for you – should you give your baby a warm or cold bottle?

The decision will ultimately come down to what you and your baby prefer, and your own personal circumstances.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of feeding your baby cold milk in more detail.

Advantages of Cold Breast Milk

Faster & More Convenient

Probably the biggest advantage of giving your baby cold rather than warm milk is that it’s faster to prepare.

This can be a pretty big deal when you calculate just how many times you’ll need to prepare your child’s bottle over the first few years, and it can also be particularly helpful during those middle-of-the-night feeds!

Baby Drinking Milk from Bottle

Eliminates Overheating Risk

You may or may not know that your baby’s milk should never be heated up using a microwave, because heating this way could create hotspots in the liquid, which could burn your child’s tongue, lips or mouth.

But even if you heat it up by putting a made-up bottle in a container full of hot water, you must still be very careful that you haven’t excessively heated it.

So by going down the cold route, you are able to completely eliminate the risk of overheating.

No Need To Buy A Bottle Warmer

Bottle warmers cost up to $100 and need dedicated space on your kitchen surface, so if you’re short of space or on a budget then not having to use one is certainly an advantage.

Easier When Away From Home

If you feed your baby warm milk, then whenever you are out and about you will need to find a source of hot water so you can warm up your baby’s bottle.

Depending on where you are and how often you travel with your baby, this can sometimes be a real challenge.

By feeding your baby cold breastmilk, you’ve eliminated this concern completely.

Disadvantages of Cold Breast Milk

Your Baby Might Refuse Cold Milk

Many parents will tell you their baby simply prefers warm milk, especially if their little one has been given warm milk before.

So if you have been warming your baby’s bottle up until this point, but want to now start giving it to them cold, there’s a good chance your little one will notice the difference and let you know about it by refusing their bottle!

May Be Less Comforting

Who doesn’t like a warm drink before bed?

For many of us a warm drink is relaxing and comforting, which could be why hot chocolate is craved during pregnancy.

Although it cannot be supported by research, a lot of moms and dads will tell you that warm breast milk is more effective in soothing and settling their newborn, which puts them in the right frame for a lengthy nap or a full night’s sleep.

The exception here is frozen breast milk, which can be a good remedy for teething and is a great way to prevent wasting any extra breast milk you may be producing.

Baby in a Onesie Crying

Not Optimal For Preterm Babies

As mentioned, it is considered best to give pre-term babies a warm bottle because cold milk requires more calories to be used up during digestion.

Does Cold Breast Milk Upset A Baby’s Stomach?

A common question from parents is whether cold breast milk will upset their baby’s stomach.

For example, concerned parents often ask does cold breast milk cause a lot of gas or can cold breast milk cause colic?

These questions are not straightforward to answer, because as we know, all babies are different.

So yes, cold breastmilk could upset your baby’s stomach, but then again it may not.

While some parents do complain that feeding their baby cold milk leads to gassiness, colic or upsets their child’s stomach, others will tell you their baby has no problem with digesting cold breast milk.

For piece of mind however, if you are concerned about whether it will upset (or is currently upsetting) your baby’s stomach, then you may want to speak with a pediatrician or other medical expert.

Is Cold Milk Bad For Newborns?

There is no evidence to suggest cold milk is bad for newborns.

For this reason experts like the CDC specifically state that even though some people like to warm their baby’s bottle, both breast milk and infant formula do not need to be warmed before feeding.

Can Newborns Drink Cold Milk?

Lastly, it is worth noting that newborn babies can drink cold formula milk as well as cold breast milk.

As mentioned, giving your baby a cold bottle is usually faster and more convenient, and it also eliminates concerns about wasting expensive formula from not being able to reheat formula more than once.

See Also:

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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