Microwave is one of those essential kits for the kitchen – you can heat the food, cook, reheat leftovers, and much more. For some time now, people have started getting more concerned about the safety of heating or cooking baby food in the microwave. You are probably on this page based on the same concern, for sure. By the end of this article, you will understand if microwave is safe for heating baby food.
When you put any raw food under cooling and heating conditions, the food changes its physical characteristics, chemical structure, and nutritional forms.
Have a look at the nutritional values that decrease while heating food in a microwave :
The food, when consumed by a baby –
- The level of vitamin 12 reduces – this vitamin is vital for red blood cell formation. It prevents anemia and promotes a healthy nervous system.
- Reduces the production of flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial properties
The food when consumed by a mother –
- Reduces the bacteria-digesting enzymes in breast milk that promotes a healthy digestive system, absorbs nutrients, and protects the child from pathogens.
- Reduces antibody levels in breast milk – lack of antibodies Antibodies protect babies from infections
These are biological reasons that put most parents in a state of difficulty from cooking or heating their babies’ food. However, there is no solid proof that microwaved foods aren’t safe for a baby’s health.
But there are certain things that you need to consider while cooking or heating baby food in the microwave, for instance,
- covering the food before putting it into the microwave,
- using microwave-safe containers instead of regular containers (including plastic ones),
- making sure you’re not feeding reheated leftovers.
This will be explained in more detail below in the precautions section. Before that, let’s take a look at the risks associated with baby food being heated in a microwave.
Risks Involved in Microwaving Baby Food
- The microwave offers features that heat the food quickly but fails to heat the food evenly. That occurs due to uneven distribution of temperature and results in hotspots or hot pockets on the food. That could burn your baby’s mouth.
- There is a belief that the radiation emitted during heating the food in a microwave can be harmful to a baby’s health.
Precautions when Cooking Baby Food in Microwave
- Containers made with plastic material can release harmful chemicals when they contact heat – Avoid using plastic containers.
- Make sure you only Use microwave-safe containers and heat-resistant glass containers.
- After you put the food in the container for heating, remember to cover it with a glass plate or lid. It will help in preserving the moisture in the food.
- When the heating is done, remember to shift the food in a different bowl or container.
- Don’t forget to stir the food. That will make sure that there are no air pockets left that may burn your baby’s mouth.
If you need ideas on how to make food your baby loves, check out our recommended collection of baby food cookbooks and recipes.
Precautions when Reheating Baby Food
It is not recommended to feed the same food left in the bowl. It is to be binned even if you feel the food is being wasted. That is because once any container or spoon comes in contact with saliva, within an hour, the bacteria from the saliva will breed the entire food, eventually leading to food poisoning.
There is an exception for baby formula, but you need to make sure that you’re using a microwave-safe bottle or container to heat it for not more than 10-15 secs in medium temperature. Before feeding it to the baby, remember to shake the bottle so that the temperature spreads uniformly throughout the bottle.
Reheating is also possible if you’re sure that the leftover is untouched by your baby. However, there are few tips to follow while reheating the untouched leftovers :
- Be attentive about the containers you use while reheating. Use only microwave-safe baby food containers.
- Use a microwave compatible for heating baby’s food.
- Be thorough about all the instructions related to child’s safety. You’ll find it in the user manual or user guide.
- Make sure you preheat the microwave before putting your baby’s food.
- Due to the uneven flow of heat, the food’s edges receive maximum temperature and become very hot while the center remains mild. Stir them for a while to even heat distribution.
- While reheating, make sure to heat the food until it gets piping hot. By doing so, all the bacteria will be killed, if it had any.
- Make sure you check the food’s temperature before feeding. Excessive hot food can damage your infant’s mouth.
- Make sure you don’t reheat the food more than once.
- If food is still left after reheating, dump it right away, even if you feel bad about wasting it.
Before Thawing or Defrosting Baby Food
Six months post-delivery, the newborns are prescribed semi-solid food. Infants are promoted from consuming milk to cooked food. Mark the checklist below for smooth sailing in the whole thawing and defrosting process:
- Always use only a microwave-safe container and microwave-resistant glass container defrosting and thawing baby food.
- Use defrosting and thawing enabled microwaves.
- If your microwave does not have a rotating table, Rotate the container manually from time to time.
- Stir the food as long as there are no hotspots
- Remember to set the microwave in defrost mode for 30 – 40 secs while thawing food cubes.
- To avoid bacteria breeding all over the food, start cooking the food immediately after the food defrosts.
- Allow the food to rest until it attains an appropriate temperature.
- Test the temperature of the food before feeding your baby.