How to Warm Breast Milk on the Go

By Lynn •  Updated: 02/20/24 •  9 min read
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If you’re a busy parent, you’ve likely wondered how to warm breast milk on the go. Whether you’re at the store, a restaurant, or at a relative’s house, there are ways that you can manage to warm your baby’s breast milk without spending hardly any money at all. Want to know how? We’ve got the details you need. Let’s go! 

How Do You Warm a Baby Bottle on the Go?

Warming a baby bottle on the go is as easy as 1-2-3! You’ll just need to decide which method is best for you depending on the circumstance. Know that your method of warming your baby’s bottle while out and about may change depending on what you’re doing for the day, and that’s okay! 

Consider the following ways of warming a baby bottle on the go:

baby and mom at a beach

How to Keep Breast Milk Warm on the Go

How to Warm Breast Milk Bottles on the Go

To keep milk bottles warm on the go, you’ve got several options. 

One of the easiest and most popular options is simply to purchase a portable bottle warmer

Though there are different kinds of portable bottle warmers available, many work the same way a thermos would: you’ll simply boil some water at home, place it within the bottle warmer, and be on your way. Once you are ready to feed your little one, you’ll empty the boiled water into the surrounding exterior cup attached to the warmer and place your baby’s bottle in the center. 

Your baby’s bottle should warm normally within a few minutes, provided that the milk is not frozen. 

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How to Warm Pumped Breast Milk on the Go

Another way to warm breast milk on the go is to do the above method yourself, without the use of a bottle warmer.

As mentioned, most portable baby bottle warmers simply act as a thermos. Their benefit is that they are designed to easily fit a baby bottle, while many standard thermoses may not. 

Because of this, if you choose to use a standard thermos to house boiling water for warming your baby’s bottle, understand that you may need a small bowl or cup whose diameter is large enough to fit your baby’s bottle so you can submerge the bottle in the water you’ve brought. 

Some thermoses may be large enough to fit your baby’s bottle, though. If this is the case, make sure there’s only enough water in there to warm the bottle, otherwise, the water may overflow and scorch your skin when you place the bottle inside!

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How to Warm Refrigerated Breast Milk on the Go

Refrigerated breast milk may also be warmed by simply running the bottle under hot tap water, or submerging the bottle in a bowl or cup of warm water. 

Where you get the warm water is up to you…you can get it from a sink or, if you’re at a restaurant, ask the waiter or waitress to bring you some hot water and a bowl.

Then, simply submerge the bottle in the hot water until your baby’s milk has properly warmed. 

How to Warm Frozen Breast Milk on the Go

We recommend you thaw breast milk in the refrigerator before taking it on the go. Allowing breast milk to thaw at room temperature or by other means can cause bacteria to grow, which is unsafe for your baby.

How Do You Heat up Breast Milk Without a Bottle Warmer?

Without a bottle warmer, you can totally still warm your baby’s bottle of breast milk. It will just require that you gather some equipment depending on what method of warming you choose, like a thermos, a bowl, a cup, some hot water, and space to get everything set up. 

Or you can forgo all equipment and simply run your baby’s bottle under warm tap water, assuming that you have access to it. 

For ways to properly warm breast milk without the use of a bottle warmer while on the go, see the segments above.

Can Babies Drink Cold Breastmilk?

Yes, babies can absolutely drink cold breast milk. There is no difference nutritionally in whether or not your baby’s breast milk is cold or warm, although some studies have shown that some babies, especially premature babies, may have an easier time digesting warm breast milk over cold.

Having said that, many babies, despite being “able” to drink cold breast milk, simply don’t like it. It is often for that reason that many parents choose to warm their babies’ breast milk. If, however, your baby doesn’t seem to mind drinking cold breast milk, you can absolutely offer it cold without warming it. This won’t hurt your baby in any way. 

Taking Breast Milk on Day Out

How to Take Breast Milk on the Go

Many parents resort to simply packing breast milk in a bottle and placing that in an insulated space, such as a diaper bag, with ice packs. There are many best cooler for frozen breast milk when traveling by car or flying that you could also look into to help keep even your frozen milk safe.

How to Store Breast Milk on the Go

Nowadays, many diaper bags come with a space where you can store baby bottles filled with breast milk or formula. You can simply use this space in your diaper bag to carry your bottles of milk. If your diaper bag doesn’t have this insulated space, consider purchasing an insulated lunch bag or miniature cooler to store your breast milk or formula along with an ice pack to keep it cold.

diaper bag

How to Take Refrigerated Breast Milk on the Go

To take refrigerated breast milk with you on the go, you’ll want to make sure to pack it in an insulated space as mentioned above. To keep it cold, place some ice packs around it; however, if you don’t have any ice packs available, the milk should stay fresh at room temperature for up to four hours

Still, if you live in a warmer climate or if it is particularly hot out, you may wish for your baby to consume the milk within two hours as this will give the milk less chance to acquire harmful bacteria. 


How long can breast milk stay warm?

Breast milk that has been warmed usually lasts about 2 hours. So, if you’ve warmed your baby’s bottle it is always best to serve it right away. Never serve your baby milk that has been previously warmed and sat at room temperature for longer than two hours. 

Can you reheat breast milk twice?

You could, but it is risky. Reheating breast milk twice means you could be losing twice the nutritional benefit, as some types of heating can destroy some key nutrients found in the milk. Moreover, the more you allow the breast milk to sit, the more likely it is to breed bacteria. This is especially true if you’re thawing, refrigerating, warming, and refrigerating again. We advise you simply thaw or chill any breast milk in the fridge and warm it once, whenever baby is ready to eat. 

Can I refrigerate breast milk after warming?

We don’t recommend you refrigerate breast milk after warming it. Wondering why can’t you add warm breast milk to cold? Doing so may introduce harmful bacteria to your baby’s bottle, and because baby’s immune systems are still developing, you would be posing a serious risk to your baby’s health by doing so.

What temperature is breast milk expressed at?

Breast milk temperature is the same temperature of your body when it comes out–around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

How long to warm breast milk in bottle warmer?

Depending on the warming method you choose and the temperature of the water you use, your baby’s bottle may take around 4-6 minutes before becoming warm enough for the baby to enjoy.
As always, test a little on your wrist to ensure that the milk isn’t too hot or too cold, and never serve your baby milk that’s been warmed in the microwave, as doing so may cause the milk to develop hot pockets that could potentially scorch your baby’s mouth. 

How to Warm Breast Milk on the Go: It’s Easy!

All in all, warming breast milk on the go is a relatively simple process and can be carried out in a variety of ways. If you’d rather skip the headache, simply run your baby’s bottle under warm water until it becomes the desired temperature. Otherwise, it might be worth it to invest in a portable bottle warmer. Besides these options, you’ve got plenty of other ways to heat your baby’s bottle as mentioned above. We hope this helps you the next time you’re out and about! Enjoy your adventures with your little one! 


Lynn is a freelance writer, a wife, and a mother of two beautiful kids. Lynn started Infant Empire with the aim of making parenting easier for fellow mums and dads. She believes the parenting tips provided here will be of great help to all parents.

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