Formula Preparation & Handling

Safe Preparation and Storage of Powdered Infant Formula and Handling 

The Infant Nutrition Council recommends the following best practice for Safe Preparation of Powdered Infant Formula:

Preparing formula correctly will ensure that baby gets the right amount of nutrients

Click here to watch a short video shows you how to prepare baby formula or expressed breastmilk for bottle-feeding to newborns and young babies. The video starts with washing and sterilising bottles for baby formula or expressed breastmilk. It also takes you through the steps for making baby formula with cool, boiled water and shows you how to bottle-feed your baby.

Safe Preparation of Powdered Infant Formula:

INC Infant feeding - milk formula handling and proceedure

More ‘Preparing Formula’ Information

  • Before use, check the ‘use-by’ date on the can.
  • Store the can in a cool, dry place.
  • Ideally prepare only one bottle of formula at a time, just before feeding.
  • Always read the instructions on the can to check the correct amount of water and powder as shown on the feeding table on the back of the can. This may vary between different formulas.
  • Add water to the bottle first, then powder
  • Take care to add the correct number of scoops to the water in the bottle. Always measure the amount of formula powder using the scoop provided in the can – scoop sizes vary between different formulas.
  • Any prepared formula left at the end of the feed must be discarded.

Other good bottle-feeding practices 

  • A feed should take no longer than one hour.
  • Any formula that has been at room temperature for longer than one hour should be discarded.
  • Keep the scoop in the can when not in use – and do not wash scoop.

Preparing feeds in advance

  1. Ideally prepare only one bottle at a time. If you do need to prepare formula in advance (for example for a babysitter) it must be refrigerated (at 4˚C or below) and used within 24 hours.
  2. Preferably refrigerate prepared sterilised bottles of boiled water and use as required, first warming by standing bottle in a container of warm water and then adding formula.
  3. If using refrigerated prepared formula, before feeding baby, warm by standing bottle in a container of warm water.
  4. Using the microwave to heat infant formula is not recommended as heating can occur unevenly and burn the baby’s mouth.

Concerns around WHO recommendations to prepare formula at 70 degrees Celsius