Yes, of course, babies can drink cold milk.
We mostly prefer to give warm milk to the babies out of our or their preferences. There is no related health concern.
When a child takes milk from the breast, they get it at body temperature. Bottle milk whether its formula feed or breast milk can be warmed or can also be given cold straight from the fridge.
More than making sure whether the milk is warm or cold, the importance lies in making the formula feed properly and storing the breast milk appropriately.
Other than preparation and proper storage nothing matters. According to the baby’s preference, he can be given milk in a slightly warm or even cold state. Giving cold milk can make the mid-night feeds a bit easier for the parent as the hassle of warming it up is not there.
Is Cold Milk Safe For The Baby?
Yes, cold milk is safe to be given to a baby.
Frozen milk can be soothing for the baby while teething. It can help relieve pain.
You can put the breast milk in an ice cube tray and let it freeze. Then, put the breast milk cube in a mesh feeder and give it to the baby to enjoy.
Concerns Related To Heated Milk
Never heat the cold breast milk or formula milk in the microwave as it may lead to hot spots in it.
Microwaves do not heat the milk evenly. Even if you check the bottle with hand and may find the temperature to be normal, but inside it may be too hot and if consumed would burn the mouth and esophagus of the child.
Instead, you can heat the milk in a bottle warmer or by placing the bottle in a hot water bath.
Overheating breast milk can destroy the immune building and other nutritional benefits of it. A study found that bottle warmers, hot water baths, and other warming methods can raise the temperature of the milk to 80°C. At this temperature, many of the beneficial properties of milk disappear.(1) The same applies to microwave heating as the high temperature can kill the key nutrients quickly.(2)
If you want to give your child warm milk, stick to low heat setting, or use a warm water bath instead of boiling water to heat the milk.
Also never heat or reheat the warm milk. If the child has not finished the milk even after 2 hours, it is better to throw it.
Concerns Related To Cold Milk
There are a group of infants that benefit from warm milk, and they are premature babies.
A study found, premature infants to tolerate the milk or formula better when it was warmed a bit.(3) However, the body temperature was not seen to be affected by the milk temperature.
If you are concerned about giving that extremely cold milk to your infant, you can just give the milk bottle a quick dip in warm water to turn the temperature of the milk to lukewarm.
Another concern about giving cold milk to the baby is that most of the babies in the majority of their feeding sessions take breast milk. The temperature of which is warm. They can be sensitive to adjust to the cold version of breast milk coming from the bottles. They might not drink cold milk as much.
If you are a concerned parent, who thinks the child is not drinking milk properly try adjusting the temperature.
Giving a child warm milk is completely a personal choice unless the infant is a preemie and you need to keep a close eye on the milk temperature. It has no benefits or any health issues related as well.
If you want to warm the formula or breast milk, be cautious, not to overheat it. You might end up destroying the essential nutrients in it or hurting your child.
Cold milk can be certainly given to the baby and has an equal number of nutrients as in your breast milk.