Related to this question but from nutritional point of view.

Does microwave heating (not excessive) reduce human breast milk nutritional qualities?
Especially compared to conventional stove heating.

Never microwave breast milk -- overheating destroys valuable nutrients

Don't use the microwave for defrosting or warming, because it kills the nutrients in breast milk

My problem is that with microwave I get a more predictable heating result while with the hot water stove top heating I always overheat the bottle and need to wait till it cools down.

  • 1
    I seriously doubt a microwave oven would cause more chemical changes to the milk than other means of heating it to the same temperature. Maybe you should focus on that, whether microwave ovens lead to the milk heating to a higher temperature than other means employed.
    – jwenting
    May 21, 2015 at 11:17
  • @jwenting "The adverse effects [of microwaving] on anti-infective factors are difficult to explain based upon hyperthermia alone since the temperatures used were not excessive" Quan et al. Pediatrics Vol. 89 pp. 667-669 eatsonfeets.org/docs/MicrowaveandBreastmilk.pdf
    – DavePhD
    May 22, 2015 at 11:30

2 Answers 2


A few related studies I found:

The effect of microwave heating on vitamins B1 and E, and linoleic and linolenic acids, and immunoglobulins in human milk. - says there are no effects on B1/E/acids if resulted average heat is not higher than 60 C

Effects of Microwave Radiation on Anti-infective Factors in Human Milk -

Microwaving at low temperatures (20°C to 53°C) had no significant effect on total IgA, specific IgA to E coli serotypes 01 and 04, but did significantly decrease lysozyme and specific IgA to E coli serotype 06. Even at 20°C to 25°C, E coli growth was five times that of control human milk. Microwaving appears to be contraindicated at high temperatures, and questions regarding its safety exist even at low temperatures

I don't have a better way to search medical databases, so any links and interpretation is welcome

  • Microwaving reduces the immunological properties of milk by damaging lysozyme and a specific IgA, but it does not destroy nutrients if it is done at low temperature. The milk is still nutritious after microwaving.
    – DavePhD
    May 21, 2015 at 14:21
  • @DavePhD how does that compare to heating on a stove?
    – nico
    May 21, 2015 at 14:39
  • @nico The best way to warm milk is to put it in a warm water bath. If you directly heat on a stove, there will be significant temperature gradients. The portion near the inner surface of the pot would be hot and proteins there would be denatured, causing loss of immunological properties.
    – DavePhD
    May 22, 2015 at 11:17
  • Full text no-paywall link to "Effects of Microwave Radiation on Anti-infective Factors in Human Milk" eatsonfeets.org/docs/MicrowaveandBreastmilk.pdf
    – DavePhD
    May 22, 2015 at 11:32
  • @DavePhD what I mean is that paper only shows an effect of temperature on protein denaturation which is hardly surprising. However, how is that microwave specific is not investigated at all... I bet that stovetop heating (which is what the OP is asking as a comparison) has a very similar effect... which possibly heating in a water bath has not.
    – nico
    May 22, 2015 at 11:58

From the question that you quoted, one of the studies quoted there covers some aspects of nutrition.

Microwave heating of infant formula: a dilemma resolved Pediatrics (1992) vol. 90 pages 412-415. (Bold emphasis is mine)

Microwave heating of infant formula is a common practice despite concerns of infant scalding. Beyond the issue of physical safety, little is known about the effects on nutrient content of microwave heating of infant formula. Casein-predominant infant formula in 120- and 240-mL glass and plastic nursing bottles of varying colors were heated for 40 seconds and 60 seconds, respectively. Temperature profiling was monitored during the heating cycle. Analysis of riboflavin and vitamin C was made prior to and after heating .... There was no significant loss of either riboflavin or vitamin C ....

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