Can you use a microwave to heat baby bottles?

We are frequently asked if services are permitted microwaves to heat baby bottles. Our answer is ‘yes’. It’s okay to heat cow’s milk or formula in a microwave.

We know services that heat baby bottles in microwaves and have been awarded an ‘exceeding’ rating. Note that we advise against heating breast milk in a microwave as there are studies showing this can destroy breast milk’s immunological properties.

The early childhood laws or regulations do not prohibit the use of microwaves. There is, however, a lot of information available which advises against using microwaves to heat bottles because of the risk of burning or scalding a child. The latest Staying Healthy (5th edition*) advises not to warm bottles in the microwave because they distribute heat unevenly and water in the milk can turn to steam that collects at the top of the bottle. Remember this is advice and we use advice to make informed decisions and sound judgements.

Services that choose to heat bottles in a microwave must be able to demonstrate how they ensure children cannot be burned or scalded when drinking the heated milk. They must have a policy and procedure that clearly outlines the steps they will take to prevent this from happening, and they must ensure these steps are always followed. These steps may include (**):

  • taking off the teat/bottle top and leaving it outside the microwave.
  • adequately rotating and shaking the bottle directly after microwaving.
  • after the teat/bottle top is replaced, inverting the bottle at least 10 times and let the bottle sit for 1-2 minutes before testing the temperature.
  • checking the temperature of the formula/milk on the inside of the wrist before giving to the child.

Do you use a microwave at your service? How do you protect children from overheated and unevenly heated milk?

*. Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (5th Edition). Page 59:
** Centre Support’s “Food, Nutrition and Beverage Policy”.

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3 Responses to Can you use a microwave to heat baby bottles?

  1. appletree@aapt.net.au says:

    We were advised by our reviewer that our bottle warming procedure using a microwave as above was still not acceptable and we were advised to change our procedure immediately??????

  2. appletree@aapt.net.au says:


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