How to Safely Prepare Formula
Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your baby. Breast milk is safe and you do not have to prepare the milk or store it when infants are fed from the breast. The next best choice, after direct breastfeeding or feeding mom’s expressed breast milk, is to feed a sterile formula product such as a liquid ready-to-feed preparation (needs no change before feeding) or a liquid concentrated formula (needs to be watered down before feeding).
Notice: Liquid formula comes in two forms: a ready to feed form and a concentrate. If it is a concentrate, read the instructions on the can to add the required amount of water to the mixture before feeding it to the infant.
Powdered infant formula is not a sterile product and is often recalled due to possible flaws that may cause serious infection and injury to young infants. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that powdered infant formula be prepared using hot water to reduce chances of bacteria growing in the formula and causing infection. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics, WHO and CDC all suggest that hospitals use a sterile product such as ready-to-feed liquid preparations or liquid concentrate formula.
Also, the WHO and CDC suggest that powdered infant formula not be used in “at risk” infants such as those with immune disorders, medical problems, or are premature. Some infants, less than 3 months of age, are “at risk” due to immune systems that are not mature. The following instructions are meant to reduce the risk that any flaws or bacteria in the powdered infant formula can cause an infection in your baby.
Before You Prepare Powdered Infant Formula:
- Wash hands well with soap and water.
- The surface should be clean and sterile.
- Feeding equipment should be sterile before first use and cleaned with hot, soapy water or should be cleaned on the sanitize setting in a dishwasher after each use. The feeding equipment should be allowed to dry completely and stored covered in a dry place.
- Formula cans should be checked for dents, tears, rust spots or leaks before using. If any defects are noted, the can should be thrown away because this may suggest that the formula is unclean and unsafe to use.
- The can and lid should be washed with warm soapy water before opening every time the can is opened. Opened cans of powdered infant formula should be stored closed in a cool, dry area such as a cabinet. They should not be stored in the refrigerator or freezer as moisture from these can cause bacteria to grow.
How to Prepare Powdered Infant Formula:
- Boil plenty of clean drinking water for one minute.
- Allow the water to cool for no more than 30 minutes.
- Follow instructions on the can for the mixing ratios. Only use the measuring tool that comes with the can of formula. Measure the exact amount of powder using a straight edge to level off the scoop.
- Shake or swirl until contents are fully mixed.
- Cool immediately to using an ice bath or holding bottle under cold running water. Do not let the water from the faucet or the ice bath get inside the bottle of mixed formula. Place bottle in your refrigerator if you aren’t going to use it right away.
- Label it with the date and time that you prepared it. If it is going to be given right away, check that the temperature of the formula is correct for feeding (between room temp and body temp.
- Throw away any prepared formula that is left at room temperature that is not fed within 2 hours of preparation. Also throw away any unused refrigerated formula that was prepared within 24 hours. Be sure to throw away any formula that is left over after a feeding as well.
- Formula should never be heated in a microwave before a feeding.
- Formula may be fed in its cooled state or warmed to between room temperature and about body temperature. Rewarm feeds using a warm water bath, shaking or swirling often. Do not take longer than 15 minutes to rewarm.
- Always check the temperature of a feeding after warming it before feeding the infant to avoid burning the baby’s mouth.
- Throw away formula that is not finished within an hour of feeding. Throw away prepared formula within 2 hours of removing from the refrigerator, even when kept on cooling packs.
- Throw away refrigerated formula within 24 hours of preparation.