Drink Responsibly: Infant Formula 101

What formula-feeding moms need to know.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are approximately 48 million cases of foodborne illness in the US each year, and infants and young children under age 5 are particularly susceptible to getting sick, thanks to immature immune systems that are still developing and unable to effectively fight off infections. To minimize the risk of food poisoning for infants consuming baby formula, the FDA recommends abiding by these do’s and don’ts.

Do’s and Don’ts of Baby’s Formula

DO follow listed expiration dates on both powdered formula cans and liquid concentrate formulas.

DON’T prepare and store excess formula.

DO prepare bottles on an as-needed basis. It may be tempting when bottle-feeding to get ahead of meals and refrigerate ready-to-use bottles, but it’s best to make each one fresh every time.

DON’T leave prepared formula out at room temperature for more than two hours.

DO transport bottles in an insulated cooler.

DON’T stash dirty diapers in the same bag with baby’s bottle.

DO warm formula bottles using a bottle warmer, warm water heated in a pan (once it’s been removed from heat) or tap water from the faucet. The temperature of the formula should be lukewarm. You can test how it feels using the inside of your wrist or a baby thermometer.

DON’T store leftover formula from an unfinished bottle in the fridge for your little one later on. Throw it out, and start a fresh bottle of formula with a clean bottle at the next meal.

DO swirl baby’s bottle to even out temperature and avoid hot spots after formula preparation—especially before it touches baby’s mouth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of foodborne illness include blood in diarrhea, a prolonged, high fever, refusing fluids and not being able to keep anything down due to vomiting. If your baby experiences any of these, regardless of the type of formula used, see your pediatrician right away.

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