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Heating Human Milk in the Microwave

Can human milk be heated in the microwave?

"Do not heat... milk in a stove or a microwave oven" states LLLI's THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, 7th Revised Edition, 2004 on page 122. Warming your stored milk in the microwave causes it to heat unevenly, creating "hot spots" that may burn your baby's mouth. Furthermore, valuable immunological components can be destroyed if the milk gets too hot (p. 158).

Frozen or refrigerated human milk is best heated by holding the container of milk under cool running water and gradually adding warmer water until the milk is thawed and warmed to room temperature. If running water is not available, a pan of water can be heated on the stove. The container of milk can be placed in the warm water once it has been removed from the heat source. Milk can also be defrosted in the refrigerator overnight.

Resources for Additional Information

A collection of LLLI resources on milk storage from our publications and other Web pages is found on this breastfeeding resource page.

The LLLI pamphlet Mother's Guide to Pumping Milk and the information sheets Storing Human Milk and Working and Breastfeeding may be ordered from LLLI's Online Store or a Leader may have copies you can borrow or purchase.

THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, published by La Leche League International, is the most complete resource available for the breastfeeding mother and can be ordered from LLLI's Online Store or through your local Leader.

Contact a local La Leche League Leader for more information and support . For help in finding a local Leader, check out the section of our Web site entitled Finding a Local LLL Group.

Our FAQs present information from La Leche League International on topics of interest to parents of breastfed children. Not all of the information may be pertinent to your family's lifestyle. This information is general in nature and not intended to be advice, medical or otherwise. If you have a serious breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader. Please consult health care professionals on any medical issue, as La Leche League Leaders are not medical practitioners.

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