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How to Make Baby Formula: 3 Easy Steps to Prepare

How to Make Baby Formula: 3 Easy Steps to Prepare

Learning how to prepare baby formula is a key skill for many parents and caregivers. Read on for three simple formula-making steps and answers to common questions.

Step 1: Wash Your Hands and Sterilize the Bottle

The first step to making baby formula is to wash those hands! Always. Ensure you do it thoroughly with soap and water. When preparing your little one's formula, you want to avoid any unwanted germs.

And speaking of those germs…you’ll also need to sterilize the bottle with boiling water, steam, or bleach. Washing bottles with hot water and soap removes germs, but sterilization helps eliminate potentially harmful contaminants and bacteria, providing additional protection for your baby's developing immune system.

Step 2: Measure and Mix Your Baby Formula

Always follow the instructions on the label for measuring and mixing the formula. And check the use by date on the container to ensure the formula hasn’t expired. If your container is damaged, dented, bulging, or leaking, call the number listed on the back and do not use it.

You’ll want to use room-temperature water. Your container will indicate how much water you’ll need based on how much formula you’re using. Pour desired amount of water into the bottle and add powder per the directions indicated. Powder should be measured with unpacked, level scoops, using the scoop enclosed in the can.

How to Measure Ready-To-Use Formula

Measuring Enfamil ready-to-use baby formulas is generally straightforward, as they come pre-measured in bottles or containers. To feed your baby, shake the bottle well, remove the cap, and attach the nipple (not included) to serve. Always refer to the specific instructions on the product packaging to ensure proper usage.

How to Measure Liquid Concentrate Formula

Using the ounce markers on the bottle, mix an equal amount of liquid concentrate and water.

How to Measure Powdered Formula

Measurements vary. Always check the directions on the label for exact measurements for your specific formula.

Step 3: Tighten the Bottle’s Cap and Shake

Cap the bottle and shake well, then place a drop on the inside of your wrist to check the temperature. The liquid shouldn’t feel warm or cool—room temperature is perfect. Then, it’s ready to serve your hungry little one. If you still have questions about prepping your baby’s bottle, consult your pediatrician for guidance.

Baby Formula Guidelines: Everything You Should Know

It's important to pay attention not only to what you are feeding your baby but also to how you feed them. Many new parents wonder, “How long does baby formula last?” and “How do I store formula?” When it comes to formula, there are multiple missteps you can make. The following answers several commonly asked questions about safely storing and preparing powder, concentrate, and ready-to-use baby formulas.

What Happens If You Don't Boil Water for Formula?

We recommend using cool water for powder formula preparations. Talk to your doctor about the need to use boiled, cooled water.

For safety reasons, wait 30 minutes after boiling water before adding the baby formula. High-temperature water could cause clumps, damage the nutrients in the formula, or pose a burn risk to the baby. It can even result in a dangerous bottle explosion as the hot water expands the formula and creates pressure.

Should You Add More Water to Make Formula Go Further?

No. Follow the preparation directions on the formula package. These amounts of water and formula are designed to provide your baby with the nutrition they need. Adding too much water to powder or liquid concentrate formula can dilute important nutrients.

Should I Use Purified or Distilled Water for Baby Formula?

We recommend consulting your doctor regarding the use of purified or distilled water for baby formula.

How Do You Make Formula Bottles in Advance?

Make formula bottles in advance by following the directions for the type of formula you are using.

Once prepared, Enfamil® powder formulas can be kept in the refrigerator (35-40° F or 2-4° C), covered, for up to 24 hours and Enfamil liquid formulas for up to 48 hours. A prepared, unfed bottle can be kept at room temperature for up to a total of two hours. If you choose to warm the bottle, warming time should be no more than 15 minutes and the bottle should be fed to your baby within one hour. Once your baby begins feeding from the bottle, discard any formula left in the bottle within one hour.

Can You Premake Bottles for the Night?

Yes, you can premake bottles to save time and store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Follow the guidelines above for preparing bottles in advance.

Should You Warm Prepared Formula?

Prepared formula does not need to be warmed. If you want to, place the bottle of prepared formula in a container of warm (not boiling) water or run it under the warm tap for no more than 15 minutes. Always test the formula by placing a drop on your wrist to make sure it isn't too hot.

Never use a microwave to heat prepared formula. Microwaves can heat liquid unevenly, resulting in hot spots that could seriously burn your baby and may not be detectable when you test it on your wrist.

How Long is Formula Good for After Mixing?

Baby formula prepared from powder or concentrate or an opened ready-to-use container should not be kept at room temperature for longer than two hours.

If the bottle has been warmed or feeding has begun, discard the formula after one hour. When formula that has been warmed and/or fed remains at room temperature for one hour, bacteria normally present in an infant's saliva will grow quickly in the nutrient-rich formula.

Prepared formula can be stored in a covered, clean container on the top shelf of your refrigerator (at 35° to 40°) for up to 24 hours. Do not freeze formula. To warm a prepared, refrigerated bottle, place the bottle in a bowl of water for no more than 15 minutes. Do not use a microwave to warm it.

Any formula left over from the bottle after feeding should be discarded, if not consumed within one hour. Infant formula combined with your baby’s saliva may lead to bacterial growth.

What Happens If a Baby Drinks Old Formula?

If you believe your baby has consumed old formula, we recommend contacting your doctor to discuss any issues your baby may be experiencing. Your pediatrician is your best resource to determine what may be going on with your little one.

Can Prepared Formula Be Rewarmed?

No, Re-warming (warming it more than once) prepared product can cause more bacterial growth as it cools off after heating; even if unfed. Once the formula has been warmed for your baby, discard any product not used within one hour. Warmed, prepared formula cannot be refrigerated for later feedings.

Is It Ok to Warm Formula in the Microwave?

No. Do not use a microwave to heat formula, as this can cause uneven heating, leading to potentially harmful hot spots that might burn your baby. Such hot spots may not be noticeable when testing the formula on your wrist.

How to Store Baby Formula Properly

There are different storage guidelines based on formula type. Always check the container for specific instructions.

Unprepared powder formula: Store at room temperature in a cool, dry indoor area with the lid tightly closed. Do not store opened containers of powdered formula in the refrigerator.

Unused ready-to-use formula bottles: Store unopened bottles at room temperature. Once opened, unused formula in a closed container can be refrigerated and used within 48 hours.

Concentrated liquid formula: Store unopened containers at room temperature. Once opened, concentrated liquid formula can be kept covered in the refrigerator in its original container and should be used within 48 hours.

How Long Does Unopened Formula Last?

All formulas have an expiration date on the packaging. To find a formula's expiration date, look at the container's top or bottom for an embossed printed type with the date. For ready-to-use infant formula, look on the side of the label.

Once opened, the container’s contents must be used within 30 days. Meanwhile, store the powder at room temperature in a dry area with the lid tightly closed.

How Long Does Enfamil Ready-To-Use Formula Last?

For unopened containers, follow the expiration date on the Enfamil Ready-to-Use packaging. Once opened, unused, covered formula can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours.

What Should I Do With Expired Baby Formula?

You should toss expired baby formula.

Can You Mix Vitamin D Drops With Formula?

Yes! If your doctor has recommended vitamin D drops for your baby, you can mix the recommended amount in with your baby's formula. It may help disguise the taste of the drops and be easier for your baby to accept versus using the dropper to dispense it into their mouth.

Explore Enfamil Family Beginnings® for More Baby Feeding Tips

Whether you’re using formula exclusively, supplementing, or considering transitioning, now you know how to prepare formula so your little one can enjoy it safely. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be a pro! And remember, Enfamil is here to help support your little one’s nutrition and well-being. For more tips and resources on all things baby, be sure to join Enfamil Family Beginnings®. Enjoy up to $400 in savings, exclusive rewards, support, surprises, and a chance to win free formula for a year.

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All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.