bamama is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Make Baby Formula – Prep and Mix for Your Baby

How to Make Baby Formula - Prep and Mix for Your Baby

Are you accurately measuring your baby’s formula? Baby formula preparation is a rather easy process. For concentrated, ready-to-use, and powdered products, there are various rules. 

It is important to grasp the basics of formula preparation and storage, whether you rely solely on formula feeding or use it as a supplement to breastfeeding.

To protect our babies’ safety, it is helpful to be aware of these guidelines and suggested preparation techniques, both generally and for your specific formula brand.

There is much to remember about mixing, storing, and warming do’s and don’ts. I get it. And that’s why I’m here to assist! Soon, preparing your baby’s bottle will come naturally.

How to Prepare a Baby Bottle – 7 Quick Steps

How to Make a Baby Bottle - 7 Quick Steps

Infant formula preparation and storage are critical for your baby’s well-being. Before preparing the formula, I suggest you verify the expiration date on the tin. 

You need to ensure your baby’s formula is nutritious and safe. The basic procedures for mixing powder with water to create a formula are as follows:

  1. Check for an expiration period: Check the formula container for expiration or “use by” date.  After that date, you can’t be certain of the formula’s quality. Avoid purchasing or using expired infant formula.
  2. Please wash your hands: Before making the formula, wash your hands properly with soap and water. Dry your hands thoroughly. Clean the place where the formula will be prepared.
  3. Prepare your bottle: Before using baby bottles, nipples, caps, and rings for the first time, sterilize them. You can use any of the following methods to sterilize them
  • Boil the bottle and its accessories in water for five minutes.
  • Microwave a steam sterilizer bag.
  • Use a portable electric steam sterilizer.

Bottles and their parts are frequently not sterilized after the first usage. Soap and hot water should be used to clean these things. Bottle and nipple brushes are helpful for thorough cleaning, and you can also opt for a dishwasher!

You should keep sterilizing the bottle if your baby:

  • Is less than three months old
  • Was born too soon
  • Has a compromised immune system
  1. To a concentrated liquid or powdered mixture, add water. There are three types of formulas:
  • A liquid that is ready for feeding
  • A concentrated liquid
  • Powdered

Ready-to-feed liquid formula does not require the addition of water, while concentrated liquids and powders need to be mixed with water. Observe the directions provided on the product’s label.

Water safety: Use sterile tap or bottled water for concentrated liquid or powder formula. Other safety advice includes:

  • Ask the public water provider to check your water for lead. You can also ask your pediatrician to check your child’s blood lead levels if you have any issues.
  • Have the water tested for chemicals, bacteria, or minerals that could be dangerous if you use well water. The health department in your community might offer a testing service.
  • If you have safety concerns, boil the water for one minute. After boiling the water, measure it after it has cooled to room temperature.

You can use purified or distilled water without boiling it. All other water should be heated to a boil before being cooled, as stated below. Both tap water and all other bottled water fall under this category. AVOID using well water.

Fluoride: Most public water systems contain fluoride, which is important for preventing tooth decay. However, excessive fluoride intake can increase the risk of fluorosis, characterized by white streaks or lines on the teeth. If your kid only consumes concentrated or powdered formula, you might alternate between fluoridated tap water and low-fluoride bottled water. These bottles’ labels will read:

  • Deionized water
  • Purified water
  • Demineralized water
  • Distilled water

I advise you to speak with your pediatrician if you exclusively use low-fluoride bottled water for formula or if your baby only consumes ready-to-feed formula. Your infant could require fluoride supplements beyond the age of six months. Using nursery water, a brand of bottled water containing fluoride, can help achieve this. Alternatively, you might need to give your infant fluoride drops.

  1. Measure the formula: Make sure to measure the water and formula precisely. If your child drinks less water, they may require additional nutrition, as inadequate water intake can lead to digestive issues and insufficient hydration.

For a prepared formulation:

  • Put enough baby formula in a clean bottle for one feeding.
  • Use only the formula; do not include any water or other liquids.
  • Attach the bottle’s nipple and cap on.

The formula for liquid-concentrate:

  • The required amount of water should be put into a tidy bottle.
  • Fill the bottle with the necessary amount of the formula.
  • Shake the bottle vigorously after adding the nipple and cap.

For a formula in powder:

  • Following the directions on the package, determine how much formula you want to produce.
  • Add the necessary amount of water to a clean bottle.
  • Use the provided scoop from the formula container to scoop the powdered formula. Add the required number of scoops to the bottle.
  • Shake the bottle vigorously after adding the nipple and cap.

Take these extra safety measures if your child is under three months old, was delivered preterm, or has a compromised immune system. These actions can lessen the chance of contracting cronobacter bacteria-related illnesses:

  • Give the water a minute to boil.
  • After the water has boiled, measure it.
  • Give it five minutes to cool.
  • Get the formula ready.
  • Run cold water over the baby bottle or immerse it in an ice bath to cool it. The formula should be applied using body temperature, or 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).
  • By applying droplets to your wrist or the back of your hand, you may determine whether the mixture is lukewarm rather than heated.
  1. Warm the mixture if necessary: You can serve infant formula to your baby either at room temperature or chilled. Put a filled bottle of formula in a basin of warm water or run it under warm water if your baby prefers warm formula. Put a few drops on your hand or wrist to check the temperature. The mixture should be lukewarm and not hot when preparing it. Never microwave bottles to reheat them. Uneven heating of the formula could result in hot areas that could burn your baby’s mouth.
  1. Decide whether to store or discard: Use the formula within an hour after feeding. If there is formula remaining in the bottle, it should be discarded and not stored in the refrigerator, as bacteria from the baby’s saliva can grow in the formula. However, if you are using ready-to-use formula, any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator after opening the container. Any remaining ready-to-use formula in the fridge for more than 48 hours should be thrown away. When preparing and filling multiple liquid-concentrate or powdered formula bottles at the same time, follow these steps:
  • Each bottle should be marked with the date and time the formula was made.
  • Keep the extra bottles cold until you require them.
  • Any prepared formula kept in the fridge for longer than a day should be thrown out.

Throw away any bottles or containers of infant formula if you need clarification on their safety.

Proper Baby Formula Scoop Size

Motherhood is demanding, and you are stressed out trying to get everything done while getting little sleep.

You might be surprised by how frequently it happens, and when you have to mix up bottles every day, it can become quite frustrating.

As a worn-out mom, I’m sure there were numerous occasions when I would go to make a bottle only to discover that the scoop had left for vacation!

So what should you do if this occurs to you and you need to know the exact cost of a scoop of formula? Rest assured, I have a wealth of information and solutions to share with you.

First, did you know that a scoop of formula typically consists of about 3.5 teaspoons? Every brand of formula has a slightly different measurement per scoop.

If you have a weighing scale, it is approximately 3 grams of formula for each scoop, or you can measure it as one rounded tablespoon.

How to Prepare Baby Formula on the Go

How to Prepare Baby Formula on the Go
  1. The best way to transfer the formula safely is to take the powdered formula in a separate container from the cooled, boiled water.
  2. If you need to bring prepared formula bottles while traveling, make sure they are cold before you leave.
  3. Use it within two hours of carrying it in a thermal baby bottle pack or a cool bag with ice packs.
  4. You can refrigerate a bottle of infant formula in a bottle pack or cool bag for less than two hours.
  5. Make sure to use it as soon as possible after it has been prepared. Any prepared formula that has yet to be used or refrigerated within two hours should be thrown away.

How to Prep Baby Bottles for Night Feeds

How to Prep Baby Bottles for Night Feeds

This method can be time-consuming and stressful for parents, especially during nighttime feedings, as it requires a significant amount of time and effort.

It is still the most secure way to give your infant new formula milk. 

  1. I advise boiling a liter of new tap water and pouring it into a bottle that has already been sterilized when learning how to prepare bottles for night feeds. 
  2. After adding the formula and shaking to dissolve the powder, it is important to cool the milk to the appropriate temperature.
  3. Check the temperature of the milk by shaking a few drops onto your wrist to ensure it’s at the right temperature for feeding, especially during nighttime.

For How Long Can Baby Formula Be Stored in the Fridge?

For How Long Can Baby Formula Be Stored in the Fridge

Parents have different approaches to feeding their baby. Some prepare fresh bottles before each feeding, while others, like me, pre-prepare and chill formula for the day. Find what works best for you and your baby’s feeding routine.

For instance, you can prepare 6 to 8 bottles to last the entire day if your baby eats every 3 to 4 hours.

If you make the formula in advance, keep it in the fridge. Premade formulas can be used for up to 24 hours. 

Ready-made formula, concentrated formula, and formula made from concentrate can all be securely kept in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours in open containers. 

Never put the unmixed powder in the fridge.

How Long Does Baby Formula Last Once Opened?

Once a bottle of infant formula has been opened, it should be tightly closed and stored in a cool, dry place. Refrigeration is not necessary for opened formula bottles. So how long is the formula good for?

Most newborn formulas must be consumed within a month of opening the container (see the label).  Write the date on the lid of the container before you open it to help you remember.

The powder should be kept in a cool, dry place in the house and properly sealed at room temperature. 

Concentrate or ready-to-serve formula in opened containers can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

GOOD TO KNOW: The ideal time to stop giving your infant formula is around 12 months old. However, cow’s milk is the greatest transitional food because babies still require nutrient-dense food sources. But until they are roughly a year old, your baby’s digestive system won’t be prepared.

How to Shake a Baby Bottle Properly

How to Shake a Baby Bottle Properly

Shaking the baby bottle vigorously can introduce more air bubbles and pressure, and may even cause a leak from the bottle collar.

It can also cause a leak from the bottle collar to shake up. 

Before mixing your formula, remove the internal components—the vent insert and reservoir—and use a cap to stop the leak. 

Shaking should be replaced with stirring or swirling if you are worried about air bubbles and pressure.

QUICK TIP: If you run out of formula and are unable to find a replacement, you can offer an oral rehydration solution (like Pedialyte, Enfalyte, or a retail brand) for a few days. Foods that have been puréed (finely ground) can be given to infants older than 4 to 6 months.

Baby Formula Types

Baby Formula Types

In pharmacies and stores, there are numerous formula brands and varieties to choose from. 

Always read labels carefully to ensure you purchase the best baby formula suitable for your baby.

  1. First milk or newborn formula: You should always feed your kid the first infant formula (first milk).
  2. Goat milk formula: Goat milk formula comes in various varieties and is sold at pharmacies and retail outlets. They are made to the same nutritional specifications as infant formula made with cow’s milk.
  3. Hungrier baby formula: Since casein is more difficult for infants to digest than whey, this formula contains more casein than whey.
  4. The anti-reflux formula is thickened to prevent reflux in infants—when infants bring up milk during or after a feed.
  5. Comfort formula: In this kind of formula, the proteins from cow’s milk have already undergone partial hydrolysis. While it is claimed to facilitate digestion and prevent digestive issues such as colic and constipation, there is currently insufficient evidence to support these claims.
  6. Lactose-free formula: Babies with lactose intolerance can use this formula. This implies that lactose, a natural sugar found in milk along with other dairy-based goods, cannot be digested by humans. Is dairy-free infant formula dairy-free? The lactose-free formula is often manufactured using cow’s milk unless the brand you select is soy formula. Although the lactose in cow’s milk has been removed, it is not a dairy-free formula.
  7. Hypoallergenic baby formula: A doctor will recommend a hypoallergenic infant formula with fully hydrolyzed (broken down) proteins if your kid is found to be allergic to cow’s milk.
  8. Follow-on formula: Babies younger than six months should never be given a follow-up formula. According to research, your kid won’t benefit from switching to a follow-up formula at 6 months. Up to the age of one, your baby can continue to consume the first infant formula as their main beverage.
  9. Soy milk formula: Soy milk is used to make soy formula, which can be used as an alternative for babies with cow’s milk allergies.
  10. Growing-up milk (toddler milk): This is considered the best milk for 1-year-olds. Growing-up and toddler milk are advertised as an alternative to whole cow’s milk for toddlers and kids older than one year. There is no proof that these products offer young children additional nutritional advantages.

Signs Your Baby Isn’t Getting Along With Your Formula

Signs Your Baby Isn’t Getting Along With Your Formula

On the other hand, several signs indicate that your baby might require a change in formula. A few of these are: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive fussiness
  • Gas
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Rash
  • Wheezing after eating
  • Vomiting

Do’s and Don’ts of Mixing Formula Feeds

  • Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s directions because they differ in how much water and powder to use.
  • When preparing a feed, avoid adding additional formula powder. Your kid can get dehydrated or constipated as a result. If you use enough powder, your infant might need more nutrition.
  • Never include grain or sugar in your baby’s formula.
  • Never reheat formula in a microwave; doing so could cause the feed to heat unevenly and cause mouth burns for your child.
  • As the amount of water and powder to use varies depending on the manufacturer, always carefully follow their directions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The ones that follow are some of the most common questions moms have about making infant formula:

What Do I Do With Unfinished Formulas?

If they don’t consume it completely, discard the remainder of your baby’s feed. Although it might seem wasteful, your baby is safer this way. 

Bacteria living and multiplying in warm settings might contaminate the leftover formula.

Why Do Baby Formula and Bottles Turn Pink?

The microbiological offender in this case, Serratia marcescens, is common in the environment, particularly in perpetually damp places. 

Pinkish slime or discoloration that occasionally appears in showers, tubs, toilets, and even soap dishes is frequently caused by S marcescens.

Does Baby Formula Need to Be Warmed First?

It is unnecessary to reheat baby formula or milk before feeding. However, some parents choose to do so. Never use a microwave to reheat the bottle if you decide. 

Microwaves heat milk and food unevenly, resulting in “hot areas” that may harm your baby’s mouth and neck.

Similac vs. Enfamil: Which Infant Formula Is Superior?

Similac and Enfamil produce goods that will give your infant the required nutrition. 

But rest assured—both businesses uphold high quality and safety standards.

Unless your infant has an unusual allergy, there isn’t necessarily an incorrect decision.

Conclusion

The immune system in our newborns is not as developed as in adults. This is why good hygiene is crucial when preparing baby formula

For this reason, it is important to wash and sterilize all feeding tools before each feed. This will lower your baby’s risk of infection, particularly if they experience vomiting and diarrhea.

It takes a lot to prepare a safe bottle for your child, from washing the bottle to boiling (or not boiling) the water, setting the temperature, and combining the formula.

Fortunately, just like everything else in motherhood, you’ll be an expert at feeding and caring for your infant after a few attempts. Attamom!

Nayna Llenos
Nayna Llenos

Hi, I’m Nayna!
I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I’m lucky and blessed to have two wonderful children to care for and love.
Despite this blessing, there are times wherein I do wonder if I truly am the mother my children need. Am I giving them the right food, care, and discipline to them?
But that is the beauty of parenting — you grow along with your children as they flourish to be their wonderful selves!
I wish to share my experiences with motherhood and how these tips can help you in your parenting journey.
I hope my advices and experiences will prove useful to you and that you have a smooth and wonderful journey as a mother!