Does Cold Breast Milk Cause Gas?
Baby Toddler Safety

Does Cold Breast Milk Cause Gas?

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Does cold breast milk cause gas? This is a common question that mothers ask every time.

In fact, a considerable number of them are worried that cold breast milk might not be suitable for their babies.

You might know that warm milk helps with digestion, but what about cold milk? Does it make your baby gassy?

In general, cold milk is more likely to cause gas than warm milk because cold slows down digestion and makes the milk harder to digest.

When our bodies struggle to break down food, it can result in bloating. This can be true for breastmilk as well as formula.

However, does that mean you can’t give your baby cold breastmilk?

For example, you might want to give your baby a bottle of pumped breastmilk when she’s out of town with family or friends.

Or perhaps you want to keep a bottle of pumped breastmilk in the refrigerator at daycare during the week. What do you do in that situation? 

Let’s find out.

Does Cold Breast Milk Cause Gas?

You might be wondering why your baby is so gassy, constantly burps, and cries after eating.

If you’re breastfeeding, you may suspect that something you’re eating is causing gas and upset tummy for your little one.

Or maybe it’s the temperature of your milk that’s off.

However, in this case, the answer is no; it doesn’t cause gas. Still, there are a few reasons your baby can get gas after feeding.

For example, your baby might experience gas after drinking breast milk because they gulp their milk too quickly while eating.

Many newborns tend to guzzle their milk at feeding time because they are trying to make up for lost calories.

When you breastfeed, you should aim to feed your baby when hungry to avoid overfeeding him.

Once they take in too much air while feeding, they start getting fussy and crying from being uncomfortable from the air trapped inside their tummy.

Another reason for this could also be their digestive system, which hasn’t fully developed yet, thus making it harder for them to digest certain foods at an older age, too, not just breastfeeding. 

This means if they eat something else besides breastmilk, there would be more chances of getting gassy and experiencing other symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.

Why the Temperature of Breast Milk Matters

If you’re a nursing mom, chances are, you’ve heard that breast milk should be served at body temperature.

After all, it sounds better than cold and uninviting. Still, why does the temperature really matter? Does cold breast milk cause gas?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breast milk be stored at room temperature (72 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to four hours and in the refrigerator for four days. 

If you want to freeze breast milk, it can stay in the freezer for up to six months unopened, but once opened, it will only last one to two days in the refrigerator before it needs to be thrown out.

These guidelines are not sidelining cold or frozen breast milk is unsafe for baby freezing actually kills harmful bacteria but rather because the nutrients are more easily absorbed when the milk is at body temperature.

Will Cold Breast Milk Upset Your Baby?

Babies don’t have the same expectations of temperature as adults.

They will happily feed on cold milk, warm milk, or hot milk. However, some babies prefer cold, and some prefer warm. 

You must try giving your baby a small amount of breastmilk at room temperature and if they spit it out, try warming it slightly.

So, does cold breast milk cause gas?

If you use a bottle to feed your baby, you can warm the bottle in a jug of hot water or hold it under running hot water. 

Avoid using a microwave or placing the bottle in boiling water, as both these methods can create hot spots in the milk, which could scald your baby’s mouth.

Learn more about breast milk: How To Make Breastmilk Fattier

Reasons Your Baby May Produce More Gas Bubbles When Drinking

If your baby is producing more gas bubbles when drinking, it could not necessarily be the cold breast milk gas but also be due to the following reasons:

1. Distraction

If your baby is easily distracted or crying, she will be swallowing a lot of air.

The easiest solution is to simply feed her in a quiet and calm place without distractions.

2. Nipples

If your baby uses a bottle nipple that allows milk to flow too quickly, it can leave her taking in extra air.

A quick solution would be to change the nipple and make sure she’s using one with medium flow.

3. Position

If your baby is eating while lying down, he could be swallowing excess air.

For example, if the bottle is positioned incorrectly or his stomach is not fully supported.

The best position for babies to eat in is an upright position, so try sitting him upright while eating.

4. Speed of Feeding

If you’re feeding your baby too slowly or too quickly, this could cause him to swallow more air as well.

Make sure you’re feeding him at a medium pace so that he can catch his breath every once in a while between gulps.

Summary 

When breast milk is kept in the refrigerator, it undergoes a chemical change and becomes more acidic.

This makes it more palatable to babies, with both foremilk and hindmilk being naturally sweet. 

The problem lies in lactose which is another sugar found in breast milk.

Lactose can be split into glucose and galactose through hydrolysis with an enzyme called lactase.

The problem comes when the freezing temperatures destroy lactase, leading to the acidification of breast milk, making the baby gassy. 

So, does cold breast milk cause gas? While a cold shoulder might be better, it might be best to skip the cold business altogether.

If possible, try to warm your breast milk first. Doing so will help reduce stomach aches in your baby and eliminate most if not all of the gas problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK for babies to drink cold breast milk? 

Yes, it is safe for your baby to drink cold breast milk.

If you’re pumping at work and need to store extra breast milk, it is much more efficient to keep the milk refrigerated in a cooler with ice packs and not pump until you are ready to use the milk.

Does cold milk upset the baby’s stomach? 

The research says that babies don’t have an upset tummy because of the temperature at which they drink their liquids.

They might have colic or other issues, but cold milk won’t cause problems with digestion, and it won’t bother a baby’s tummy.

Is warm breast milk easier to digest? 

Yes, warm breast milk is easier to digest than cold breast milk.

When we consume something warm, it causes our salivary glands to start producing saliva more quickly.

 

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Iesha Mulla

Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She's an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.

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