Microwaves action on milk for infants

bcdlee at hkpucc.polyu.edu.hk bcdlee at hkpucc.polyu.edu.hk
Tue Jan 10 23:09:49 EST 1995

In article <3ekm7b$ch1 at rc1.vub.ac.be>, scorteel at resulb.ulb.ac.be (Stephane Corteel) writes:
> As a young father (my baby now is 7 weeks old) I read a lot...
> I've read (and some people also told me) that warwing up a feeding
> bottle using a microwave oven is not recommended because the microwaves
> cause molecular changes in some proteins of the milk.
> But, at this time, nobody could confirm that or give me an more
> scientific explanation.
> If someone could provide me a answer that an engineer like me can
> accept, it would be very nice.
> Thank you very much for any information

Dear Stephane,

You have raised a question that is of major concern. I am father of a 15 months 
old daughter and a second one is coming in a couple of weeks. I have never dare 
to use the microwave for warming up the milk. It causes uneven heating. 
Microwave heating starts heating from the very inside of your food/drink. 
The conventional boiling method heats from the outside inward. When taking care 
of infants, patience is all you need. They don't died by being hungry for 10 or 
15 minutes.

As to the molecular changes of proteins by microwave heating, conformational 
changes must take place like other heating/denaturing processes. I am not sure 
of the energy level carried by the microwave, but I think it is not high enough 
to cause major changes at level of the atoms in the milk proteins. 

If cannot spare the 10 - 15 minutes, microwaving can work. BUT, do mix the 
bottle throughly after heating and then test the milk by puting a few drops on 
the back of your hand.

The routine we used is to keep a vase of cold boiled water and another vase of 
boiled water kept at 95 (the electric water vase will do it), and prepare the 
milk fresh every time. We are probably lucky, as our daughter has got the habit 
of sleeping through the night when after two months old.

Daniel Lee
Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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