Are you feeding your baby powdered infant formula? Preparing baby formula correctly is essential to ensure your little one receives the necessary nutrition and stays healthy. While each brand may have specific instructions, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you should follow these 5 steps to prepare your infant formula safely and correctly:
STEP 1: Take Precautions
- First, make sure the Baby Formula is not expired and the container is in good condition (no dents, puffy ends, or rust spots).
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water before preparing bottles.
- Clean the countertops and disinfect the surface you are going to use.
STEP 2: Boil water
- Fill a clean kettle with at least 1 liter (33.81 fl oz) of fresh tap water. Use water from a safe source to mix with formula. Tap water is usually safe but contact your local health department if you are not sure. Don’t use water that has been boiled before or bottled water. It’s not sterile and may contain too much salt sodium or sulphate.
- Boil the water, then leave it to cool for no more than 30 minutes, until it reaches a temperature of around 158°F (70°C). Boiling the water kills any potential harmful bacteria present.
- Don't forget to properly clean the feeding equipment. If you are using a cold-water sterilizer, shake off any excess solution from the bottle and the teat, or rinse them with cooled boiled water from the kettle.
STEP 3: Mix Baby Formula with water
- Use the exact amount of water and formula listed on the instructions of the infant formula container and double check the water level is correct. Always measure the water first and then add the infant formula powder. NEVER dilute formula by adding extra water. This can make your baby sick.
- Using the measuring scoop provided with the formula, add the appropriate amount of formula powder to the water in the bottle. Do this according to the manufacturer's instructions. Level it off using the flat edge of a clean, dry knife.
- Secure the bottle and gently shake it in an up-and-down motion or roll it between your palms until the powder is completely dissolved. Do not stir.
STEP 4: Check the Temperature
- Check the temperature before bottle feeding. You can test the temperature of the formula by dripping a few drops on your wrist. It should feel warm, not hot.
- If you decide to warm the formula, place the bottle under running warm water or into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Avoid getting water into the bottle or nipple. This could contaminate the prepared formula. Never warm infant formula in a microwave. Microwaving creates hot spots, which can burn your baby’s mouth.
STEP 5: Feed your Baby
- Position the bottle at an angle rather than straight up and down so the infant formula only comes out when your baby sucks. Let your baby take breaks from drinking.
- If there is any made-up formula left in the bottle after a feed, throw it away. Bacteria can grow quickly in leftover formula, leading to potential health risks.
- After feeding, be sure to thoroughly clean the bottle and nipple before the next use.
What you should remember
Preparing baby formula correctly is crucial to ensure your little one receives the necessary nutrition in a safe and hygienic manner. Always follow manufacturers' instructions carefully, as they vary on how much water and powder to use. These steps will help you know how to prepare and feed your baby with peace of mind, knowing they are getting the nourishment they need to grow and thrive.
Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about formula preparation, consult with your pediatrician or healthcare provider for personalized guidance. If your baby is younger than 2 months old, was born prematurely or has a weakened immune system, you may want to take extra precautions.