Infant formula: making, storing and transporting it

Infant formula: making, storing and transporting it

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Preparing water for baby formula

When you're preparing baby formula, the first step is to always wash your hands with soap. It's also important to make sure you use a clean area to prepare the formula.

Next, boil fresh tap water in an electric jug or on the stove top. In places with a clean water supply that meets Australian standards, hot water urns like hydroboils are also safe to use for preparing formula.

Let the water cool down to a safe temperature - lukewarm or around room temperature. This will take about 30 minutes. You can put cooled, boiled water in sterilised bottles and store them sealed in the fridge until needed.

It's important to use sterilised bottle-feeding equipment until your baby is 12 months old. Your baby's immune system isn't strong enough to fight off some infections so this will reduce her chances of getting sick.

Making up powdered baby formula

Before making up baby formula, make sure to check the expiry date on the formula tin. Throw away any opened tins of formula after one month.

Here are the basic steps for adding powder to water to make formula:

  1. Pour the amount of cooled, boiled water you need into the sterilised bottle.
  2. Using the scoop from the formula tin, measure the right number of scoops into the bottle. Level off each scoop. You can do this with a sterilised knife or something similar.
  3. Seal the bottle with a ring and cap.
  4. Tap the bottle gently on the bench so the powder falls into the water. Swirl the bottle gently, then vigorously shake the bottle. This thoroughly mixes the powder and water.
  5. Before feeding your baby, test the temperature of the formula by placing a few drops on the inside of your wrist. It should feel just warm.

If your baby doesn't finish all the formula, throw it away within one hour. Storing half-empty bottles of formula for future use is risky because they get contaminated with germs once they've been sucked on.

Never add extra formula to a bottle - infant formula should always be the same strength. As your baby grows, the volume of formula he needs increases, not the strength of each feed of formula.

Preparing infant formula in advance

It's best to:

  • prepare only one bottle of formula at a time
  • prepare each bottle right before you feed your baby.

But if you need to prepare infant formula in advance, refrigerate the formula below 5?C within 1 hour of making it, and use within 24 hours. Store it in the back of the fridge where it's coldest, not in the door where it's warmer.

If you can't keep the formula cold, throw it away after one hour at room temperature.

You can also use 'ready to drink' formulas if preparing it in advance isn't an option for you.

Using formula when you're out and about

The safest way to transport formula is to take cooled, boiled water and the powdered formula in separate containers.

But if you need to transport bottles of formula already mixed with water, make sure the formula is icy cold when you leave the house. Carry it in a thermal baby bottle pack or a cool bag with ice packs.

You can put the bottle of formula back in the fridge if it has been in the bottle pack or cool bag for less than 2 hours. But make sure to use it within 24 hours of when it was first prepared.

Throw away any prepared formula you haven't used within two hours.

Warming infant formula

Many babies like their milk warmed to at least room temperature.

Standing the bottle in a jug of warm water is the safest way of warming formula.

Bottle warmers are convenient and safe as long as they have a thermostat control. Don't leave the bottle in the warmer for more than 10 minutes. This might cause bacteria to breed in the formula or breastmilk. These bacteria are a common cause of diarrhoea.

Gently swirl the bottle or container to mix the formula after warming. Test the temperature of the formula by putting a few drops onto your wrist. It should be about room temperature.

It won't hurt your baby to have cold infant formula. If your baby doesn't mind cold formula, it's fine to serve it cold.

Never use a microwave to heat infant formula because it can heat the formula unevenly and burn your baby's mouth.

If the bottle of formula is too hot, cool it down by holding it under cold running water or placing it in a jug of cold water.

Read more about how to bottle-feed and download our illustrated guide to formula preparation.


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