Get a primer on bottle-prep basics. We’ll help you learn proper hygiene, storage, formula use, and more.
Infant, baby, and toddler formulas aren’t sterile and shouldn’t be fed to premature infants or babies with immune problems (without a doctor’s recommendation). Additionally, ask your pediatrician if you need to boil your neighborhood’s tap water, before cooling it and mixing it with formula. (Ask if you should also boil clean utensils, bottles, and nipples.)
Before preparing a bottle:
- Wash your hands and preparation area thoroughly.
- Ensure the container is undamaged, and check the formula’s appearance (for liquid formula, clean the lid and shake well prior to opening).
- Read the formula instructions (it’s imperative to your baby's health!).
Be sure to read the label, so you can learn about the formula’s ingredients and nutrient information.
When preparing the bottle:
- Don’t add water to ready-to-use formula.
- Warm bottles in a pan of warm water for no longer than 15 minutes, or hold under warm tap water.
- Don’t warm bottles in a microwave.
- After warming, use immediately and discard leftovers within 1 hour from the time you took the formula from the fridge.
Storing prepared bottles
Don’t prepare bottles more than 24 hours ahead for powdered formula or more than 48 hours ahead for concentrated or ready-to-use formulas.
Follow these guidelines:
- Prepared from powder: Store at 35°–40°F (2°–4°C), no longer than 24 hours before feeding.
- Prepared from concentrate or ready-to-use: Store at 35°–40°F (2°–4°C), no longer than 48 hours before feeding.
- Prepared from powder, concentrate, or ready-to-use: Keep no longer than a total of 2 hours. If the bottle is warmed, discard formula after 1 hour.
After feeding begins:
- Prepared from powder, concentrate, or ready-to-use: Feed within 1 hour or discard. Do not refrigerate for later feedings.
To find a formula’s expiration date, look at the top or the bottom of the can for embossed type.
For Infant Formula Nursette Bottles, look on the side of the label.