Is it safe to heat your baby's food in a microwave? Here's what you need to know

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Mums are always time-crunched and any device that saves time and effort is their best friend. One such device that mums swear by is the microwave.

Over the years, microwaves have become a critical part of our kitchen. Not only does it save time by heating food in mere minutes, there's far less mess to clean up at the end of it all.

But there are plenty of sceptics who aren't entirely convinced about the benefits of the home appliance.

Many, especially young parents, think that cooking or even heating food in the microwave can destroy the nutrients present in it.

Or is there another side to that claim?

If you have been stressing out about whether it's safe to heat baby food in a microwave or not, here's everything you need to know.

Five things to know about heating baby food in microwave 

Here are some things that you need to keep in mind while heating baby food in a microwave.

  1. Avoid using plastic containers for warming as the harmful chemicals found in plastic can enter your food.
  2. Go for microwave-safe containers instead of plastics.
  3. Avoid microwaving milk bottles since common plastic baby bottles may contain toxins that impact the reproductive and neural development of the child. Furthermore, microwaving these containers may cause the toxins to leak into the milk, which is extremely harmful. It's also been proved that low doses of these harmful toxins can trigger cancer, early puberty, diabetes and obesity.
  4. To ensure that food heats evenly, you need to put it into a microwave-safe bowl and then cover it to seal the moisture and help the food cook consistently.
  5. Always transfer the food to another dish or bowl after you take it out. Follow it up by stirring it thoroughly to see if there are any air pockets that may burn your baby's mouth as they eat.

How to warm baby food from the fridge?

Baby purees should always be reheated until it is piping hot.

This is to ensure you kill all the bacteria, and the best way to reheat baby purees is in the microwave.

How to heat up baby food cubes?

  • Place the frozen puree cubes into a microwave-safe dish.
  • Cook using the defrost setting on the microwave.
  • Stir and rotate the food often.
  • See to it that the food is warm before you serve your child.

Remember, when thawing or heating baby food cubes, always take out as many cubes as you need to feed your baby for the next one or two days. You should not refreeze any leftover food.

Risks of heating baby food in microwave 

Microwaving food can alter its natural composition and nutrients at a cellular level. This decreases its nutritional value.

Here's exactly what the baby is missing out on when you microwave the food:

  • Lowers flavonoids by 97 per cent: They are extremely important as they contain anti-microbial, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Reduces vitamin B12 levels: ​This is crucial for red blood cell formation, thus maintaining a healthy nervous system, and preventing anaemia.
  • Lowers breast milk antibody level: This is an important element because it protects your baby from infections.
  • Uneven heating: Research suggests that when you use a microwave, it heats your food fast and tends to cook unevenly.
  • Hotspots can burn the mouth: Hotspots in the food can burn your baby's mouth, even if the food is at the right temperature on the whole. When you microwave food with high-fat content like meat or eggs, there can be splattering and overheating.

How to heat baby food without microwave? 

If you are still not sure about using a microwave to heat your baby food, there are many other alternatives that you can try. Here are a few quick and convenient methods:

  • Convection oven: It increases the speed of cooking by circulating hot air.
  • Instant pot: You will be able to cook in less time without having to worry about losing any nutrition.
  • Stovetops: All you need to do is splash a little water into your pan with the leftovers and then cover your food.
  • Saucepan: Select a smaller saucepan and then place the food into the saucepan. Gently heat the food using a low setting. If you are using a lower heat setting, it will ensure that you do not burn the food.
  • Electric kettle: This is another convenient device that can simplify your life to a great extent. It's also a great alternative when staying in a hotel room without a microwave.
  • Warm water thawing or submersion: This method should take anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes. You can place the cubes in a small bowl and then place the bowl in a larger bowl filled with hot water. You can also do this with a pan of warm water on the stove. Add the smaller bowl to a pot of water that you have warmed.

As a rule of thumb, avoid microwaving food in plastics and ensure it is evenly heated before it is served.

ALSO READ: 8 things a first-time parent should know about childproofing their home

This article was first published in theAsianparent.