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Even if you’re a breastfeeding mama, the time is inevitably going to come where your little one is going to need to eat and you won’t be available. That, of course, is when the ever-so-handy baby bottle comes in.
Now, warming milk before giving it to your babe in a bottle is a personal choice. If you’re breastfeeding, warm milk is what they’re used to, so they might be more keen to drink from a bottle if it’s familiar. If that’s the case, you have some options when it comes to warming.
While it seems like the easiest option, popping a bottle in the microwave is a no-no as it won’t evenly heat the milk and can create hot spots that might burn your baby’s mouth. Plus many
Some parents choose to warm milk that’s been stored in the refrigerator by placing the bottle in a bowl of hot water. It’s a tried and true method that’s been used for generations.
Others choose to get technical and go with a bottle warmer. The goal of a bottle warmer is to heat a bottle of milk or formula fairly quickly without the risk of creating hot spots. And many are designed with automatic shutoff features to prevent overheating the bottle.
It’s really up to you. Some parents swear by them for late-night feedings or when mom is away — others say a bowl of hot water and a thermometer work just fine.
And yes, it’s yet another item to add to your baby registry or shopping list. But if you decide a warmer is for you, they’re available in a wide range of prices (dependent on brand, features, etc.), and we’ve picked a few that are worth investigating.
To make our selections, we considered a range of features — specifically safety, ease of use, whether it was best for breast milk versus formula (or both), included accessories, the price, and bottle compatibility. We also read customer reviews from parents, both positive and negative.
- $ = under $30
- $$ = $30–$50
- $$$ = over $50
Munchkin is a brand that any new parent will become instantly familiar with thanks to their useful sippy cups, plates, and utensils. Their digital bottle warmer works with a lift-out basket and a “safe steam warning” that helps ensure breastfeeding parents that nutrients won’t be destroyed during the heating process.
A lot of people really love this product and say that it’s been a staple in their household through multiple infants. But a handful of negative reviews claim that their warmer stopped working after a few uses or that the water chamber leaked.
Although pricey, breastfeeding parents will appreciate that this is a complete feeding system and warmer from Kiinde. In addition to the thaw and warmer device, you also get direct-pump storage bags with caps and labels, an organizer, and bottle adapters with nipples for the bags so you can skip the risk of spilling that liquid gold.
Reviewers like that you can use nipples from different bottle brands just in case your baby is particular and that you can warm and thaw straight from the freezer. But a few comment that it takes a while to warm up and some say it malfunctioned after a while.
This 5-in-1 solution from Wohome is a digital warmer that also pulls double duty as a sterilizer and defroster. The digital readout makes it easy to set the correct temperature, and the system automatically powers off in breast milk mode if you leave the bottle on too long to prevent damaging the nutrients.
The double bottle design accommodates multiple breast milk bags and bottles up to 8 ounces — in one review a mom of twins says this is a huge help. Most reviews are positive, but several people comment on the product malfunctioning over time, and a few say the automatic milk setting is a little too hot.
Another great warmer and sterilizer combo is from Grownsy. This option also features two-bottle capacity but has six different settings: switch between fast and continuous warming, fast and continuous defrosting, warming food, and sterilizing bottles.
This is also a universal bottle digital machine that works with wide-mouthed and angled bottles with a removable basket for safer use. The product description claims that milk heats up as quickly as 3 to 7 minutes depending on the amount (although a few reviewers disagree, saying theirs takes closer to 9 or 10).
A lot of the reviews of the Grownsy 6-in-1 warmer are positive, but a few people note that it doesn’t turn off automatically unless the water has dried up in the basin. A few also complain that the temperature settings are only available in Celsius.
This portable warmer from Tommee Tippee is an affordable solution for heating bottles on the go. It works by combining a thermal flask with a bottle holder. The flask can be filled with hot water in advance and keeps it hot for hours.
When you’re ready, pour the hot water from the flask into the bottle holder and insert your bottle. Parents will appreciate that this warmer fits Comotomo, Philips Avent, Tommy Tippee, MAM, and more standard-size bottles.
Most reviews on this portable warmer are very positive, saying it’s easy to clean and that it keeps water hot for a very long time. However, a few say they’ve experienced leakage, suggesting that the quality isn’t consistent.
The First Years Night Cravings Bottle Warmer & Cooler is an affordable solution for warming and cooling bottles. It’s designed to hold two bottles at once and can warm breast milk, formula, and even baby food. It can also keep two bottles cool for up to 8 hours thanks to a refreezable ice pack and insulated container.
Despite the manufacturer’s claims that this warmer fits all size bottles, reviewers warn that wider bottles are not a fit for this system (one mom even says Tommee Tippee bottles got so hot the milk burned her when testing on her wrist).
While this is another splurge, Baby Brezza is a name parents trust because their products have a reputation for working efficiently and safely. Their Smart Bottle Warmer is a universal fit option, making it best for Medela bottles.
The system is designed to work with breast milk, formula, and baby food jars. Toggle between “steady warm” for breast milk and “quick warm” for formula and food. And while it’s compact, it can also be used to thaw breast milk in storage bags. You can also control the settings via Bluetooth by using their proprietary app, although reviewers say this is an unnecessary function.
Other critical reviews claim that the “quick warm” setting requires speedy action on mom or dad’s part, as leaving the bottle in too long makes the bottle too hot. One mom points out that the lid feature can lead to steam burns if not careful, and another says they wish there was an extended-warm feature.
This warmer from Philips Avent might look simple, but if you’re in love with wider bottles, you’ll like that the opening is more than large enough to accommodate wide bottles (this option is best for Comotomo bottles if that’s your go-to!). There’s a simple defrost setting to help thaw frozen milk or baby food, and parents short on space will appreciate its small footprint.
That being said, if you’re looking for bells and whistles, this isn’t your warmer. While most folks seem to know what they’re in for when purchasing this no-frills option, many reviewers complain that this product doesn’t have a temperature setting or automatic shutoff. Others say the results are inconsistent.
Budget-friendly doesn’t have to mean low on features. The BabyX Fast Bottle Warmer quickly warms milk while also doubling as a sterilizer and pacifier sanitizer. Designed as a universal warmer, you can also use silicone, plastic, and glass bottles in this device.
Parents like the small size, and the auto shutoff function. However, this machine lacks a defrost feature and a timer, and a few reviewers say they wish there was a night-light and that the instructions were more detailed.
If you’re a fan of those adorable grass-like bottle drying racks with flower and twig accessories, then you’ll like the sleek design of this Boon Orb Baby Bottle Warmer. While it’s only able to heat one bottle at a time, this is perfect if you’re focused on design aesthetic and already have other Boon accessories.
The Boon warmer relies on steam heat to gently heat bottles and baby food jars. Plus it’s a portable option thanks to its small size. Parents like that this warmer works with a variety of bottles thanks to a removable insert that adjusts the chamber size.
A few parents complain that the timer doesn’t audibly notify you when the warmer is done, and some folks say that the water measurement system is confusing and difficult to use.
This option from Chicco lets you automatically customize the heat settings based on the volume and current temperature of your bottle or baby food. It’s a compact yet intuitive warmer with an LCD that counts down the time remaining.
Parents like that you can select the current temperature of the bottle or food, and adjust the volume to get an accurate timer (read: you won’t spend forever with a crying baby as you wait and guess on whether that bottle of milk is ready to go).
Negative reviews of this product say this warmer is too complicated. And one mom notes that this is best for parents to use the same size bottles every time as the measurement system takes a while to get used to.
Whether you’re putting a bottle warmer on your baby registry or are shopping after your baby has arrived, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
The last thing you want is to find yourself fumbling to transfer milk or formula from one bottle to another because your preferred bottles don’t fit in the opening of your bottle warmer — this is especially true if your little one favors wider or uniquely shaped bottles like Comotomo, Tommy Tippee, or Medela.
Where possible, we’ve listed which options in our recommendations are universal or designed for wider bottles.
Breast milk vs. formula
Parents who rely on formula don’t have to be quite as concerned (beyond not overheating a bottle that might burn their baby) but if you’re breastfeeding, overheated milk can lose nutritional value.
Look for warmers designed with auto shut-off features or special breast milk slow-warming features that help ensure milk will never get too hot. Likewise, if you’re pumping and storing milk, a defrost function is essential so that in a pinch you or other caretakers can quickly thaw and warm a bottle.
Do you want a warmer that can heat multiple bottles at once, or are you okay with a single-bottle capacity? There’s no right or wrong answer here. But if you’re caring for multiples, a larger capacity bottle warmer would be a good idea.
While not a necessity, the right accessories can make a bottle warmer more intuitive and easier to use.
For example, a removable basket means you won’t accidentally stick your hands in hot water while retrieving a bottle. And a complete breast milk storage and warming system can be a lifesaver since pumping milk can be an adventure on its own.
Ease of use
Imagine yourself trying to use a bottle warmer with one hand in the middle of the night while you’re exhausted, half asleep, and holding a wailing child. If the device seems a tad complicated for your sleep-deprived mind to manage, keep looking.
Meanwhile, features like automatic shut-off, Bluetooth operation, and even a cooler feature can be a lifeline — especially in those early days.
Of course, you can’t forget the budget. In our guide, we’ve highlighted a range of options from budget-friendly (less than $30) to splurges (more than $50). But you’ll note that most of our options sit in the budget and moderate price ranges.
If you’re putting a bottle warmer on your registry, don’t feel guilty about asking for the splurge as long as it meets your needs.
The biggest risk in using a bottle warmer is overheating the milk — always test the temperature of the milk on your wrist before feeding to your baby. If you’ve acquired a bottle warmer from a friend and have any concerns, check the CPSC website for recalls.
It’s also wise to review the recommendations from the
Even though you might not need a bottle warmer, it can make life a lot easier. This is especially true in the early days when you’re exhausted and not firing on all cylinders.
Think about whether you’re planning to breastfeed versus use formula (or a combination of both) and whether you want a warmer that can only heat one item at a time or a dual-capacity option.
Whichever you choose, be sure that it’s a bottle warmer that’s easy for you to use and safely warms your baby’s bottles without impacting nutritional value.