Whether you’re supplementing breastmilk or mainly using bottle feeds, mixing up formula quickly becomes a part of daily life for many new moms and dads alike. Let’s run through the basics on how to prepare powdered formula for your baby.
Learning how to make a baby bottle
Breastmilk provides the nutrition your baby needs, and has a whole host of benefits for your baby’s health and developments. The World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding exclusively for at least the first six months.1
But if for whatever reason of necessity or choice you’re not breastfeeding, your baby is going to need a suitable baby formula to get the nutrition they need. Infant formula might not provide all the benefits of breastfeeding, but there are many reasons you might need to bottle-feed, and that’s OK. Bottle feeding can still be a healthy way to feed and care for your baby.
But, this means learning how to make a baby bottle safely. If you don’t measure the feed correctly, your baby might not get all the necessary nutrition for growth – and improperly prepared formula can put your baby at risk of serious illness.
How to make a baby bottle
1. Get ready
Baby’s immune system isn’t as strong as yours, so any bacteria that get into the feed could make your little one very sick. Before you mix up a feed, wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them well. Make sure all the equipment for feeding your baby is clean and hygienic, too: wash and scrub the baby bottle, teat and the measuring spoon that came with the formula clean in hot, soapy water.
2. Mix the powdered formula with hot, sterilized water
Follow the the instructions on the package carefully, and start to mix the appropriate amount of powdered formula with the appropriate amount of water. If your local tap water is safe to drink, then you can use this.
First, boil the water to at least 158℉(70℃). Let the water boil for a minute, then turn off the heat. Let the boiled water cool down, and use it to make the formula. Shake the formula in the bottle in a gentle circle to make sure it’s well combined.
3. Let the formula cool
Fresh formula needs to cool down to around human body temperature, or your baby could burn their mouth and throat. Let the fresh formula bottle cool in an ice bath or under a cold tap, but be careful that water doesn’t leak in, and that the nipple doesn’t come into contact with the water.
Check the temperature of the milk by shaking out a few drops on your wrist. If it stings at all, it’s still too hot for your baby.
4. Feed baby safely
Feed your baby the bottle of formula within two hours. Remember to let your baby feed at her own pace and burp her regularly.Once your baby has finished feeding, wash out the bottle and clean the nipple.
Even if your baby doesn’t finish the whole bottle of formula in one go, throw out any leftovers. Never re-use any formula from a bottle that has already touched your baby’s mouth. Leftover formula is a breeding ground for dangerous germs. Don’t reheat it, don’t save it, don’t use it: just throw it out.
It’s safest to make up just one fresh feed at a time. But, if you’re not using the bottle of fresh formula immediately, put the sealed container of formula in the refrigerator and use it up within 24 hours.
Do I need to re-warm baby formula from the fridge?
Once you’ve made up a bottle of feed, it’s okay to use it straight from the fridge within 24 hours. You don’t need to heat it up for hygiene reasons. However, some babies prefer warmer formula, close to human body temperature.
If you do decide to warm up a bottle of formula, remember to never use a microwave. This can cause the formula to heat unevenly, with spots of hot formula that can burn your baby’s mouth. Instead, heat the formula up under a warm tap, or in a bowl of warm water, taking care that the water doesn’t touch the nipple or get inside the bottle. Specially designed bottle warmers are also available for this if your baby prefers warm formula.
Learning how to make a baby bottle is a great skill for parents
Breastfeeding is a great source of nutrition for babies, but this isn’t always an option for every mom. Learning to make up a formula feed safely is a great skill for any mom or caregiver, even if you’re planning to breastfeed as long as possible. As long as you follow the right hygiene steps, you can still make sure your baby gets a safe and healthy feed from formula.