Does Cold Formula Cause Gas In Babies? (Full-Term Vs. Preemie)

A cold formula will not cause digestive trouble in babies. Gas primarily comes from the baby ingesting too much air, either during feeding or while crying. Healthy and full-term babies can drink formula or breastmilk even when straight out of the fridge. In fact, it may be beneficial for the fussy and teething baby or during the sweltering heat of the summer season. However, a cold feed is a different thing for pre-term babies. They need milk with warmth as close to a body temperature as possible. The formula milk should be about 37⁰C or 98.6⁰F when given to preemies.

According to some studies, the baby’s temperature is not significantly impacted by the milk temperature. But, warming the milk is necessary to help them tolerate their food better. 

Why do people warm baby’s milk?

A bottle warmer always makes it to the list of newborn shopping essentials. It is what probably made you wonder if warming the milk is necessary. But, many studies do not find any significant health or sanitary reason behind it. 

Warming milk comes from age-old practice when folks relate baby tummy problems to cold formula.

According to them, breastfed babies seem to do fine than formula-fed babies with lesser bouts of stomach upset. But, truth be told, tummy problems do not always come as a result of milk temperature.

The thing is, breastmilk is a lot easier to digest than the ingredients found in formula milk

Warming formula milk before feeding does have its own advantage. Powdered formula milk dissolves easier in warm water. Thus, you don’t have to shake the bottle many times to mix it.

The more you shake it, the more it incorporates air into the bottle. It is what contributes to the tendency of gas in babies. 

You would also notice that babies will likely favor warm milk over cold ones. That’s because scientifically, the taste buds are active when the food is warm. Thus, parents over the generations are used to giving their infants warm milk.

It goes with the consensus: do you, as an adult, like to eat your food cold?

Refrigerating formula milk

Giving formula to babies either at room temperature or cold can be handy for busy moms. Preparing it fresh and giving it to your little one will not have any problem either. 

Mom is holding her infant baby and bottle feeding him formula milk that was refrigerated

The problem is in storing the leftover formula milk in the fridge, which can become unsafe. The mixture can harbor bacteria that may cause digestive problems worse than gas. 

Generally, you can pre-make a few bottles and store them in the fridge. That way, you can instantly have their food ready when you have an impatient little one. 

If you should keep formula in the fridge, however, remember these safety storing guidelines according to the CDC.

  1. Use the prepared formula within two hours of preparation.
  2. If you cannot use it, store it in the refrigerator immediately within two hours.
  3. Pre-made formula milk can last up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Opened ready-made formulas and liquid concentrates can keep up to 48 hours in the fridge.
  5. Discard all leftover formulas left in the bottle after feeding, then clean and sanitize the bottles before the next use.

An opened formula container should not be kept in the refrigerator. Store milk in a cool and dry place and keep the lid tightly closed.

If you need to transfer it to a container, write the date on the lid when you first opened it. Formulas will keep up well up to a month after opening. 

If you are concerned about the expiration date of formula milk, check out this post for more information. 

How to properly warm baby formula milk?

Dad is bottle feeding his infant daughter who is laying down on the bed

While it is not really necessary to warm formula milk, some babies may prefer having their food that way. 

If your little one loves warm milk, here are a few steps to do it safely:

  1. Run the bottle under hot water
  2. Soak the bottle in a bowl of hot water
  3. Prepare the formula using warm water
  4. Use a bottle warmer

For some reason, microwaves are not the ideal way of warming baby’s milk. It can risk burning your baby’s tongue as the microwave heats the milk unevenly, causing hot spots.

The liquid may also continue to heat even after removing it. You can learn more about warming baby milk in this reading.

FAQs

How long will a baby’s formula keep at room temperature?

At room temperature, formula milk can sit for up to two hours after preparation or one hour after feeding.

Can heating the milk destroy its health benefits?

In breastmilk, a temperature above 80⁰C (176⁰F) can destroy its nutritional value. Thus, when using bottle warmers, stick with the lowest setting.

Will cold formula make the baby gain weight?

Milk temperature has no significant impact on the weight, sleep, eating habits, temperament, or spit-ups in babies.

Milk temperature has nothing to do with the baby’s milestones and developmental growth either.

Can I mix powdered formula with cold water?

Most formula companies recommend mixing milk with cool, previously boiled water. Boiling or too cold water may clump up the powder, making it difficult to mix.

Takeaway

Warming baby’s milk is an old-fashioned way of preparing a bottle. But contrary to some beliefs, the cold formula will not render digestive issues in infants.

Although warm milk is preferable as it dissolves the ingredients faster, offering cold formula is not a bad idea either. However, your baby’s preference has a say in how he wants his food: warm or cold. 

Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She experienced handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also trained in labor rooms and pediatric wards while in nursing school - helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.

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