How to Safely Prepare Infant Formula

When feeding your baby formula, preparing and storing it safely is essential to stop your baby from getting sick. You must sterilize the water and all bottles and feeding equipment for babies of any age drinking powdered infant formula.

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Cleaning / Sterilizing / Storing the Bottles

Step 1: Wash the bottles and feeding equipment

1. Begin by cleaning your work area

2. Wash your hands well with soap and warm water

3. Wash the bottles and feeding equipment with hot soapy water. This includes artificial nipples, rings, caps, mixing utensils, funnels, can opener and measuring cup.

4. Use a long brush to scrub inside the bottles and nipples to make sure they are free of milk residue

5. Rinse well and allow the bottles and feeding equipment to air dry

Step 2: Sterilize the bottles and feeding equipment

  1. Place all cleaned items in a large pot of water
  2. Bring the covered pot to a rolling boil for two minutes
  3. Use sterilized tongs to remove the items from the water and allow to air dry on a clean towel

Step 3: Store the bottles and feeding equipment

If the items are not used immediately, cover and store them in a clean place.

Fit nipples, caps and rings together and place the nipple on the inside of the bottle to keep it clean until you are ready to use it.

If you are using a disposable bottle system, you will need to wash all the parts, and then sterilize the nipples and caps. New liners are clean and ready to use.

Preparing and Mixing Formula

Step 1: Use a safe water source and sterilize the water

It is safe to use tap water or commercially bottled water. Well water that is tested regularly can also be used.

Do not use the following types of water:

  • Softened or soda water which is high in sodium
  • Mineral water which has a high level of sodium and other minerals
  • Distilled water which has removed important minerals for your baby
  • Carbonated water: Carbonation and added flavours are not appropriate for babies

If you do not have a safe water source, use ready-to-feed liquid formula.

  1. Use the cold water tap only (unless bottled)
    Water from the hot water tap may contain more lead and other contaminants
  2. Run the cold water tap for two minutes to flush any contaminants away
  3. Boil the water in a pot on the stove
    For babies four months and younger, water must be sterilized by bringing to a rolling boil for 2 minutes. Always use sterilized hot water to make powdered formula.

If you have concerns about your water supply or if you have a well or cistern, check with our Public Health department: 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074, ext. 7269

Step 2: Mixing the formula

  1. Check that the container is:
    • Not dented or bulging
    • Not past the "use by" date on the can. Do not buy or use after that date
  2. For all types of formula, do the following two steps:
    • Wash hands with soap and warm water
    • Wash the top of the can with hot water

Depending on the type of formula, you will need to follow different instructions:

Ready-to-feed Liquid

1. Open the can with a sterilized can opener

2. Pour the infant formula directly into clean, sterilized bottles (Do not add water)

3. Use sterilized tongs to pick up nipples, caps and rings and put on bottles

4. Then tighten the rims with your hands

Concentrated Liquid

1. Open the can with a sterilized can opener

2. Pour the required amount of cooled, sterilized water into a sterilized glass measuring cup

3. Add an equal amount of infant formula

4. Mix gently with a sterilized utensil

5. Pour the infant formula into sterilized bottles

6. Use sterilized tongs to pick up nipples, caps and rings and put on bottles

7. Then tighten the rims with your hands

Powdered

Powdered infant formula is not sterile and in rare cases has made babies sick. It is very important to make powdered infant formula correctly to reduce the risk of your baby becoming sick.

1. Boil water for two minutes

2. Make the infant formula within 30 minutes of boiling the water. After 30 minutes, the water is not hot enough to kill harmful bacteria that may be in the powder.

3. Pour the required amount of hot water into a sterilized glass measuring cup

4. Measure the required amount of powdered formula. Use the scoop from inside the can

5. Level the scoop with a sterilized knife

6. Add the powder to the hot water

7. Mix with a sterilized utensil until no lumps of powder are left

8. Pour the infant formula into sterilized bottles

9. Use sterilized tongs to pick up nipples, caps and rings and put on bottles

10. Tighten the rims with your hands

11. Quickly cool the bottle of infant formula under cold, running water or a container of cold water

12. If you are not feeding your baby immediately, place the bottle in the refrigerator. Use within 24 hours

Storing Infant Formula Safety

Never freeze infant formula to use later as this will change the nutritional value.

Follow the instructions on the infant formula package to store safety. If there are no instructions, follow the guidelines below:

Ready-to-feed / Concentrated Liquid

  • Stored in container
    • Keep opened cans of ready-to-feed and concentrated formula in the fridge
    • Cover them with a plastic cap or wrap
    • Throw out after 48 hours
  • Stored in bottles
    • Any infant formula that has been put into bottles on a shelf in the fridge should be used within 24 hours

Powder

  • Store powder in a cool, dry place (not in the fridge)
  • Make sure the lid is tightly closed
  • Use powdered formula within one month after opening and before the "use by" date on the can

Transporting Prepared Bottles of Infant Formula

Do not transport prepared infant formula until it has been cooled in the refrigerator.

  • Transport the bottle in a cooler bag with ice packs
  • Use the infant formula within two hours of being transported

If you reach your destination within two hours, you can place the infant formula in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours from the time you prepared it.

Warming Infant Formula

Never use a microwave to warm infant formula. This heats the infant formula unevenly creating "hot spots" that can burn your baby's mouth.

To warm up infant formula:

  1. Remove infant formula from the refrigerator just before warming up
  2. Warm formula in a bottle warmer or by placing the bottle in a container of warm water, keeping the nipple area out of the water
  3. Warm for no more than 15 minutes
  4. Shake the bottle periodically throughout warming to ensure the formula is heated evenly
  5. Check the infant formula to make sure it is not too hot before feeding it to your baby. Put a few drops of formula on the inside of your wrist. It should feel slightly warm, not hot.

Once you have warmed the formula, the bottle should be used within two hours.

Do not reheat formula during a feed. Throw away any formula that your baby does not drink.


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