How to Prepare Baby Formula

There are important guidelines to follow to make sure that you're mixing your baby's formula correctly.

How to prepare a bottle of formula in five easy steps.

My son drank formula when he was a baby, and the idea of other people preparing it for him was one of my biggest stressors as a new mom. Although formula is simple to make, it's just as easy to make a mistake while preparing it that could make your baby sick. Check out these guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help ensure that you're mixing your baby's formula the right way.

1. Wash your hands. "You don't have to wear gloves or anything like that, but you do need to wash your hands with soap and water and dry them before you prepare the formula," says Aliza Solomon, D.O., a pediatric gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. "It's important to make sure you're not introducing germs from the outside."

Alexandra Grablewski

2. Mix formula with sterilized water. Cold tap water should be boiled for one minute (longer boiling can increase the impurities in the water) and then cooled for 30 minutes before you mix your baby's bottle. Bottled water may be contaminated, so sterilized tap water is the best choice.

3. Read the directions carefully. You'll want to be sure that you're adding the right amount of water to your formula -- or that you're not adding water to ready-to-use formula, which doesn't need it.

4. Check the formula's temperature. You don't want to burn your baby's mouth! Put a few drops of baby formula on the inside of your wrist to confirm that it's room temperature before you feed it to your baby. If it feels too hot, let it cool for a few minutes. And don't warm a baby's bottle in the microwave -- the microwave can heat the liquid unevenly, so you may get pockets that are too hot and others that are just right. What's more, a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published in the August 2018 edition of Pediatric says microwaving infant formula and pumped breast milk in plastic isn't the best practice, because BPA and phthalates can leak into food. These chemicals have been linked to health issues, especially for babies and young kids.

5. Serve prepared formula immediately. Formula that's been at room temperature for more than an hour should be thrown away to prevent bacteria growth. If formula has been partially consumed, don't store it in the refrigerator for longer than an hour, to avoid concerns of bacteria growth. If your baby hasn't been given the prepared formula you can store it for up to 24 hours in your refrigerator. An open can of ready-to-feed or concentrated liquid from can be covered and refrigerated for up to 48 hours.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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