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Preparing & Storing Feeds

Keeping everything really clean is important when formula feeding your baby. Their immune system is not as strong as yours, so even the smallest amount of bacteria could make your baby poorly. This is why bottles, teats and any other feeding equipment needs to be washed with hot soapy water and then sterilised.

Preparing feeds safely is also very important. Feeds should be made one at a time as your baby needs them. Being aware of your baby's cues (signs they are getting hungry) will mean that you can prepare the feed before your baby gets upset. 

Watch the video below to see a parent making up a bottle of formula and click on our 10 step guide below for a step by step guide to preparing bottle feeds.


Preparing Your Babies Feed

Follow this step by step guide to help you prepare feeds 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

Boil 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 not recommended for making up a feed as it is not sterile and may contain too much salt.

Step 2

Leave the boiled water to cool for up to 30 minutes, but is still at least 70°C.

Step 3

Clean and disinfect the surface you are going to use to prepare the feed. 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 (on the formula box or tin) 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, then add the powdered formula.

Step 7

Loosely fill the scoop with formula powder, following the manufacturer's instructions (on the formula box or tin). Level the scoop using either the flat edge of a clean, dry knife or the leveller provided. Different tins of formula come with different scoops - only use the scoop that comes with the formula.

Step 8

Holding the edge of the teat, put it on the bottle. 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 is 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 is not sterile and can contain bacteria. Preparing the formula correctly is important as this helps to prevent your baby from becoming unwell. 

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

    Feeds should be kept for no longer than 2 hours after being prepared or 1 hour after you start to feed your baby. 

    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.

    • Always wash and sterilise feeding equipment before use.
    • Make every feed fresh as your baby requires it. 
    • Use freshly boiled water at 70 degrees or above to prepare feeds.
    • Do not use old water from the kettle or bottled mineral water to make feeds.
    • Follow the instructions on the formula tub carefully and add water before powder to each bottle.
    • Do not add any extra scoops of powder or any cereal such as baby rice to formula feeds. This can lead to constipation, dehydration or the risk of choking. 
    • Do not add extra water or less powder than is required as this may mean your baby may not get the necessary nutrients they need to thrive.  
    • Do not heat milk feeds in the microwave as this can create hot spots that may burn your baby's mouth.
    • Always test the temperature of the feed against the skin on the inside of your arm before feeding your baby.
    • Do not keep a feed for any longer than two hours after you have made it or one hour after feeding begins. If you make the feed and your baby does not want it straight away you can place it in the fridge. Use it within the two hours or throw away and make a fresh feed when your baby is hungry.
  • You may have seen Perfect Prep Machines or baby kettles advertised or you may have an instant boiling water tap fitted in your kitchen. Some people may tell you it is a good idea to use formula preparation machines, hot taps & baby kettles to save time on making up a bottle. However, it is very important to follow safety advice. 

    The NHS advises against using a Perfect Prep Machine. 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 will not kill the bacteria in formula milk effectively. Please *click here* to see guidance from The First Steps Nutrition Trust.

    Please *click here* to see guidance on the use of hot taps and baby kettles.

    To find out how to prepare your babies formula feed safely, please *click here*.

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 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

All of our staff are trained to Unicef standards to provide you with the best possible feeding support and advice. We also have a team of infant feeding champions who can contact you by video call or telephone to discuss your questions and refer you to further help if required. 

*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 or the Early Childhood & Family Service (ECFS) below.


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