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Preparing & Storing Feeds

When formula feeding your baby good hygiene is really important. Your babies immune system is not as strong as yours, so even the smallest amount of bacteria could cause an infection in your baby. This is why bottles, teats and any other feeding equipment need to be washed and sterilised before each use. 

Carefully read and follow the instructions on the formula box. It will let you know how to prepare and store your infant’s formula correctly. 

Preparing Your Babies Feed

Follow this step by step guide below to make sure you are preparing your babies feed in the safest way possible.

  • Step 1
  • Step 2
  • Step 3
  • Step 4
  • Step 5
  • Step 6
  • Step 7
  • Step 8
  • Step 9
  • Step 10

Step 1

Use at least 1 litre of fresh tap water. Don’t boil and use water that has already been boiled, or use artificially-softened water. Bottled water is also not recommended for making up a feed as it’s not sterile and may contain too much salt.

Step 2

Then leave it to cool for up to 30 minutes, so that it has cooled but is still at least 70°C.

Step 3

Clean and disinfect the surface you are going to use and wash your hands.

Step 4

If you are using a cold-water steriliser, shake off any excess solution from the bottle and the teat, or rinse them with cooled boiled water from the kettle (not tap water).

Step 5

Stand the bottle on the cleaned, disinfected surface.

Step 6

Follow the manufacturer's instructions and pour the amount of water you need into the bottle. Double check that the water level is correct. Always put the water in the bottle first, while it is still hot, before adding the powdered formula.

Step 7

Loosely fill the scoop with formula powder, according to the manufacturer's instructions, then level it using either the flat edge of a clean, dry knife or the leveller provided. Different tins of formula come with different scoops. Make sure you only use the scoop that comes with the formula.

Step 8

Holding the edge of the teat, put it on the bottle. Then screw the retaining ring onto the bottle. Cover the teat with the cap and shake the bottle until all of the formula powder dissolves.

Step 9

It's important to cool the formula so it's not too hot to drink. You can do this by holding the bottle (with the lid on) under cold running water.

Step 10

Always test the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before feeding it to your baby. It should be body temperature, which means it feels warm or cool, but not hot.

  • Powdered formula, even when sealed, can contain bacteria. Preparing the formula correctly will get rid of any nasty bacteria, but its still important to follow the advice on how to store the formula to stop your baby getting an infection. 

    It is best to make up your babies feeds 1 at a time, when your baby needs to be fed. This is because bacteria can multiply very fast at room temperature and leaving the feed for a while after making can increase the chance of your baby getting an infection. Even keeping a feed in the fridge can cause bacteria to multiply.

    Always use powdered infant formula within 2 hours of preparation and within one hour from when feeding begins. If you do not start to use the prepared infant formula within 2 hours, immediately store the bottle in the fridge and use it within 24 hours.

    Once your baby has finished drinking, always throw away any left over milk and do not give it to them later. 

    Store unopened infant formula containers in a cool, dry, indoor place such as a kitchen cupboard. Once a container of infant formula is opened, store in a cool, dry place with the lid tightly closed. Do not store it in the refrigerator. Most formula instructions say to use the box within a month.


  • Some people decide to use formula preparation machines (perfect prep) to save time on making up a bottle.

    The NHS advises against using one of these machines. This is because they deliver a small shot of very hot water and then add cool water to make up the rest of the feed. This is not the best way to kill the bacteria in formula milk. The Food Standards Agency recommends using cooled, boiled water above 70 degrees centigrade to make up infant formula,


Who Can Help?

If your baby is less than 28 days old you can contact your local midwifery team or you can contact the Healthy Child Programme at any time following your baby's birth by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590.

Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. Norfolk Healthy Child Programme has a team of infant feeding champions who can contact you by video call/telephone initially to discuss your questions and refer you to further help if required. All of our staff are trained to Unicef standards to provide you with the best possible feeding support and advice.

*Click here* to read the Essential Guide to Feeding & Caring for your Baby. 

If you would like to make connections with other parents please click on the links for our Just One Norfolk Community Forum; the Norfolk Community Directory and Early Childhood & Family Service (ECFS) below


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