To ensure baby’s meal is prepared properly and safely, follow these simple steps from Pam Price, PhD, RD, CNSC, a child nutrition expert at Abbott Nutrition and prior neonatal nutritionist at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.
Get the scoop
You’ll want to start by washing your hands and all supplies, such as bottles and nipples. Mixing instructions can vary by brand, so you should carefully follow the instructions on the label. For most powdered formula, add water to the bottle first and then the powder. Return the dry scoop to the container, and make sure it’s closed tightly. Then put the nipple on the bottle, and mix thoroughly.
Most doctors agree that tap water in the U.S. is safe to use for infant formula; plus, it has the added benefit of fluoride. However, water quality can vary based on your water source. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician about any concerns you may have. If you have nonchlorinated water or well water, she may recommend you boil the water first. If you’re considering bottled or filtered water, keep in mind that while it may have fewer impurities than tap water, it could still have harmful bacteria and may need to be boiled as well.
Turn up the heat
The safest way to warm a bottle is by running it under warm tap water or using a bottle warmer. Never use a microwave to warm a bottle because it can result in hot spots that could burn your baby. Before offering the bottle, test the temperature by shaking a few drops on your wrist.
Swirled not shaken
To minimize air bubbles or foaminess, avoid vigorously shaking the bottle. Instead, simply turn it in a “figure eight” motion until it is well-mixed with no clumps. You can also try a concentrated liquid formula (in which water is added to a liquid) or a ready-to-feed formula (which requires no mixing).
Save it for later
Because formula is rich in nutrients for your baby, it provides a good environment for bacteria to grow. After mixing formula, you can safely store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If the prepared formula has been at room temperature for more than an hour, throw it out. If you’ve already started feeding a bottle to your baby, you’ll want to toss any formula your baby doesn’t finish within one hour after the feeding begins.