Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.3 Requirements for Special Groups or Ages of Children

4.3.1 Nutrition for Infants Warming Bottles and Infant Foods

Frequently Asked Questions/CFOC Clarifications


Date: 10/13/2011

Topic & Location:
Chapter 4
Nutrition and Food Service
Standard Warming Bottles and Infant Foods

I have concerns about the standards recommending glass and ceramic containers due to concerns about using plastic.  Once again, it is good in theory, but I don’t feel it is safe. I had a center that had a glass bottle drop and shatter in their infant room. 

BPA-free plastic bottles, those labeled #1, #2, #4, or #5, can be used to avoid the use of glass.

For those child care and early education facilities that choose to use glass bottles, a relatively new option is to use a bottle sleeve with the glass bottle to reduce the risk of shattered glass. Efficacy on this product is still being proven. Overall, glass is safer than plastic with BPA.

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 11/5/2013, 8/25/2016 and 05/31/2018.

Bottles and infant foods do not have to be warmed; they can be served cold from the refrigerator. If a caregiver/teacher chooses to warm them, bottles or containers of infant foods should be warmed under running, warm tap water or by placing them in a container of water that is no warmer than 120°F (49°C). Bottles should not be left in a pot of water to warm for more than 5 minutes. Bottles and infant foods should never be warmed in a microwave oven because uneven hot spots in milk and/or food may burn the infant (1,2).

Infant foods should be stirred carefully to distribute the heat evenly. A caregiver/teacher should not hold an infant while removing a bottle or infant food from the container of warm water or while preparing a bottle or stirring infant food that has been warmed in some other way. Bottles used for infant feeding should be made of the following substances (3):

     a. Bisphenol A (BPA)-free plastic; plastic labeled #1, #2, #4, or #5, or 

     b. Glass (a silicone sleeve/jacket covering a glass bottle to prevent breakage is permissible).

When a slow-cooking device, such as a crock-pot, is used for warming human milk, infant formula, or infant food, the device (and cord) should be out of children’s reach. The device should contain water at a temperature that does not exceed 120°F (49°C), and be emptied, cleaned, sanitized, and refilled with fresh water daily. When a bottle warmer is used for warming human milk, infant formula, or infant food, it should be out of children’s reach and used according to manufacturer’s instructions.


Bottles of human milk or infant formula that are warmed at room temperature or in warm water for an inappropriate period provide an ideal medium for bacteria to grow. Infants have received burns from hot water dripping from an infant bottle that was removed from a crock-pot or by pulling the crock-pot down on themselves by means of a dangling cord. Caution should be exercised to avoid raising the water temperature above a safe level for warming infant formula or infant food.

Additional Resource

Feeding Infants: A Guide for Use in the Child Nutrition Programs, US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service (

Center, Early Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Preparing, Feeding, and Storing Human Milk Preparing, Feeding, and Storing Infant Formula Techniques for Bottle Feeding Feeding Age-Appropriate Solid Foods to Infants
  1. US Department of Health and Human Services, US Food and Drug Administration. Food safety for moms to be: once baby arrives. Updated November 8, 2017. Accessed January 11, 2018

  2. Cowan D, Ho B, Sykes KJ, Wei JL. Pediatric oral burns: a ten-year review of patient characteristics, etiologies and treatment outcomes. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013;77(8):1325–1328

  3. Environmental Working Group. Guide to baby-safe bottles and formula. Updated October, 2015. Accessed January 11, 2018


Content in the STANDARD was modified on 11/5/2013, 8/25/2016 and 05/31/2018.