Bottle feeding – how to prepare formula milk
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Melissa Little
Pediatric and Antenatal Dietician. She is a spokesperson for the British Dietetics Association on TV and in print. Member of the parliamentary group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood at Westminster for the UK Government.
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Formula Feeding

Bottle feeding - how to prepare formula milk

Making up a bottle of formula milk sounds easy – and once you've done it a few times, it is. But there are some very common mistakes all rookie parents make, which can result in your baby having an upset tummy or getting constipated. Here's how to get it right every time
Video Tutorial
In Short

When making up a formula feed:

Make sure all bottles and teats have been properly washed in hot soapy water and sterilised

Use water that’s been boiled, then cooled. Cool for no more than 30 minutes

To make up 150ml of formula, put 150ml of water into the bottle, then add the formula powder

Don't add any extra powder and level off the top of the scoop to ensure you've got exactly the right amount. Follow the instructions exactly

Once you’ve put the powder in with the water, screw on the lid and shake gently

If it’s too hot, cool down under cold running water. If it takes longer than 30 minutes to cool, throw it away and make up a new bottle

Always throw away leftover milk after a feed.

You need to use boiled, cooled water to make up your baby’s bottle feeds until she’s a year old, just in case there’s any bacteria lurking (after 12 months she’ll have built up sufficient immunity to skip that step). Let the water cool before you use it but for no more than 30 minutes.

To make up 150ml of formula, or about five and a half ounces, pour the water into the bottle first. Get down to eye level and check and you’re right on the 150 marker. Then it’s time to add the formula.

It’s really important to follow the directions on the back of the formula packaging. Most will have very clear directions to indicate how much water and how many scoops of formula you should be using.

It’s also very important to use the scoop that comes with the formula because not all scoops are the same size.

Use a knife to level off the formula in the scoop, and then add the powder to the water. Don’t be tempted to add another scoop, even if you think your baby is very hungry or will sleep better if he has a full tummy. Too much formula means your baby could get too many calories, which has implications for his health and weight later on in life, and increases the risk of constipation.

With the water and formula both in the bottle, screw on the sterilised lid and give it a good shake to mix. If you have a baby who suffers from wind, shake the bottle a little more gently to avoid air bubbles.

Bottle still is too hot? There are few ways you can cool it down:

Run it under cold water, or stand it in a Pyrex jug of cold water for a few minutes. Check the temperature by squirting a drop onto your wrist. The formula should be lukewarm, or even on the cool side for your baby – if you can’t really feel it, you know the milk is at body temperature and about right for your little one.

milk in baby bottle

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.