Bottle Feeding: Formula Preparation :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Bottle Feeding: Formula Preparation

All infants under 1 year of age should receive breastmilk or infant formula, not cow's milk.
 
There are several ways to make formula. The method explained here is the "clean" method. Wash the bottles, nipples, caps and rings after you buy them and after each use.
 
WARNING: 
 
DO NOT USE A MICROWAVE OVEN TO PREPARE OR WARM FORMULA.
 
A MICROWAVE MAKES “HOT SPOTS” IN THE FORMULA.
 
THIS CAN CAUSE SERIOUS BURNS TO YOUR BABY’S MOUTH.

You Will Need

Picture 1 - Wash the equipment.
Image of equipment
  • Formula (liquid concentrate or powder) as ordered by the doctor
  • Nipples, caps, and rings for bottles
  • Cooking pan with lid
  • 8-ounce nursing bottles
  • Liquid dish washing soap
  • Pitcher
  • Water
  • Can opener
  • Metal or plastic (not wooden) spoon for mixing

Preparing the Equipment

Picture 2 - If using well water, bring it to a boil, cover and let cool.
Image of boil
  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before cleaning bottles, making formula, and feeding your baby.
  2. Wash the bottles, caps and rings in either hot, soapy water with dishwashing liquid or in a dishwasher (Picture 1). To clean nipples, follow directions on the package. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry. Avoid using a bottle brush to scrub the bottle, as the brush may damage the bottle.
  3. Rinse the top of the can of liquid concentrate formula with clean water before opening it.
  4. Distilled or purified water can be used without boiling first. All other water should be boiled first, including all other bottled water and all tap water.
  5. Do NOT use well water. Use distilled or purified water in place of well water.
  6. You may use city water or regular bottled drinking water for use in making formula if you boil it first. (Picture 2).
    1. Run the cold water for 2 minutes to flush the water pipes.
    2. Boil for 1 minute, with the lid on the pan.
    3. Cool to room temperature before using.
  7. Boil water for the first 3 months of age. Boil water longer if your health care provider recommends it, or if water safety is a concern.

*If you cannot get city water or bottled drinking water, well water may be used only if it is boiled first.  Place the water in a cooking pan with a lid and bring the water to a rolling boil for 1 minute, then let it cool (Picture 2).

Making Formula from Liquid Concentrate

Picture 3 - Measure liquid concentrate or powdered formula and add to water.
Image of water
  1. Using an 8-ounce baby bottle, measure _____ ounces of water and pour it into a clean pitcher.
  2. Shake the can of liquid concentrate well before opening.  Open the can with a clean, punch-type can opener.
  3. Open the can with a clean, punch-type can opener.
  4. Measure _____ ounces of liquid concentrate formula. Add this to the water (Picture 3). Shake or stir with
    the clean spoon.
  5. As needed, pour _____ ounces of this formula into one
    of the baby bottles.
  6. Insert nipple into ring and twist onto baby bottle, and
    shake the bottle. It is ready to feed to your baby.
  7. Place the remaining prepared formula (in the pitcher)
    in the refrigerator. Use within 48 hours.
If you have liquid concentrate remaining, cover the opened can and mark it with the date and time it was opened.
Store the covered can of remaining liquid concentrate, and any mixed formula in the refrigerator.
Use any mixed formula within 48 hours of when it was opened. Throw out any mixed formula that is not used after 48 hours (2 days).
Picture 4 - Pour prepared formula into the bottles.
Image of bottles

Making Formula from Powder

  1. Measure _____ ounces of water and pour it into a clean pitcher or clean baby bottle.
  2. Open the can of powdered formula.
  3. Measure _____ level scoops of formula powder. Add this to the water.
  4. Shake or stir well with a clean spoon.
  5. As needed, pour _____ ounces of this formula into one of the cleaned baby bottles (Picture 4).
  6. Insert nipple into ring and twist onto baby bottle, and shake the bottle. It is ready to feed to your baby.
  7. Place any remaining prepared formula (in pitcher) in the refrigerator. Use within 24 hours.
  8. Close the can of formula powder with the plastic lid.
  9. On the lid or the can, mark the date that you opened it.
  10. Do not keep an opened can of formula powder longer than 1 month from the date it was opened.

Special Tips and Advice

  • Prepared liquid concentrate formula will keep for 48 hours (2 days) in the refrigerator.
  • Prepared powdered formula will keep for 24 hours (1 day) in the refrigerator.
  • If the baby does not drink all of the formula in a bottle within an hour from the time you start to give it, throw the rest away.
  • If you have any questions, be sure to call your doctor, dietitian, or nurse.
CAUTION:
Do not feed honey or corn syrup (such as Karo®) to babies under 1 year of age.
These products are not sterile (germ free).
They may contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning in young infants.
 
 

HH-IV-7 6/76, Revised 7/15 Copyright 1976, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

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700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000