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Preparing a bottle feed using baby milk powder

How to prepare baby milk using a baby milk formula

Illustration of kettle

Boil some fresh tap water and let it cool for a few minutes. (It should still be more than 70ºC so don’t leave it for more than half an hour). Do not use bottled or artificially softened water.

Illustration of person reading instructions on a container

Read the tin or packet to find out how much water and powder you need. You should make up a fresh bottle for each feed.

Illustration of person washing their hands

Wipe clean an area on which to prepare the feed. Wash your hands very well with soap and water.

Illustration of baby bottle turned upside down

If using a steriliser, remove the lid and turn it upside down. Remove the teat and cap and place them on the upturned lid. If you wish to rinse them, use cooled boiled water, not tap water.

Illustration of person pouring boiling kettle water into a baby bottle

Remove the bottle, rinse if wished (with the boiled water) and stand it on a clean flat surface. Pour the boiled water into the bottle up to the required mark.

Illustration of person taking off excess powder from measuring cup

Measure the exact amount of powder using the scoop provided with the milk. Level the powder in the scoop using the plastic knife or the spatula supplied with the milk powder or steriliser.

Illustration of person adding powder milk to baby bottle with water in

Add the powder to the water in the bottle. All baby milks in Britain now use one scoop to 1oz (30mls) water. Never use more than this or you will make your baby ill. Do not add anything else to the feed.

Illustration of disc, teat, and bottle cap going on top of the baby bottle

Place the disc supplied on the top of the bottle, followed by the teat and cap.

Illustration of person shaking baby bottle

Screw the cap on tightly and shake well until all the powder has dissolved.

Illustration of person checking temperature of baby milk put pouring some onto the inside of their wrist

Check the temperature of the feed by dripping a little onto the inside of your wrist before giving it to your baby.

After the feed, throw any unused milk away and clean the bottle. Don’t make up more than one feed at a time. Storing made-up milk increases the risk that your baby will fall ill.

Additional tips

  • The amount of milk per feed suggested on the tin or packet is only a guide. Your baby may want more or less according to appetite.
  • Use the scoop provided with the brand of milk powder you are making up – the scoop provided with another brand may be a different size.
  • If your powder does not come with a spatula, you should sterilise a plastic knife and dry it on clean tissue paper. You can then keep it in the powder with the scoop.
  • Powdered baby milk is not sterile. Feeds should therefore not be made up in advance. If you are going to need to feed your baby while you are out it is safest to take freshly boiled water in a sealed flask and make up the feed when you need it.
  • Almost all baby milk powders are made from cows’ milk which has been processed to make it suitable for babies. Whey based (first) milks are more easily digested by a young baby. Casein based (second) milks take longer to digest and are not recommended for young babies.
  • Ordinary cows’ milk should not be given until your baby is at least a year old.
  • Do not use soya or goat milk formulas without medical advice.

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby and it doesn’t cost anything. If you use baby milk, it is very important for your baby’s health that you follow all instructions carefully. It is possible, but difficult, to reverse a decision not to breastfeed or to re-start breastfeeding once you have stopped. Introducing partial bottle feeding will reduce a mother’s breastmilk supply. Breastfeeding mothers don’t need to eat any special foods but, just like everyone else, they are advised to eat a healthy diet.

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Please note this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s. The details in this resource may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If you have specific questions about how this resource relates to your child, please ask your doctor.

Resource number: NSU18

Resource Type: Article

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