How to prepare formula for babies

Preparing formula appears to be simple in theory. However, it can prove to be challenging in practice, particularly if it is your first time or if it is in the middle of the night. Here are a few key tips from a2 Nutrition to remember how to prepare formula for your baby.

Follow instructions exactly as they are stated on the can. Preparation methods will vary between product brands and stages of formula. Prepare formula with the correct powder to water ratio, as stated on the can.

- This will ensure the formula provides the correct nutrition for your baby.
- If you add too much powder, the formula will be too concentrated. This can potentially lead to constipation, causing your baby abdominal pain, bloating and discomfort.
- If you add too much water, your baby’s feeds will be diluted, and they will not receive enough nutrition to support their growth and development.

Do not prepare formula with a different concentration to that which is prescribed on the can, unless under the specific guidance and instruction of a qualified healthcare professional such as your GP, paediatrician or dietitian.

How to warm up formula

Warm the bottle of prepared formula by standing it in a bowl of hot (not boiling) water for around 5 minutes. Shake or swirl the bottle to ensure it is evenly heated. This is the safest way of heating bottles as it heats the formula evenly and takes no more than 10 minutes.

After warming the bottle, always test the temperature before feeding your baby. The best way to do this is to let a few drops fall on the inside of your wrist – it should feel lukewarm.

Alternatively, you can run the bottle of prepared formula under hot running water (making sure no water touches the teat) and swirl gently until the bottle is warmed through.

Whilst hungry babies are demanding, it is not recommended to heat the prepared formula in the microwave. Using the microwave can over-heat the formula and create hot spots, which can burn your baby’s mouth or throat. It is best to place the microwave in the no-go zone altogether, and instead use one of the methods recommended above.

A bottle warmer is a great alternative to boiling water for every feed. However, it is not an essential piece of equipment for bottle feeding.

Do I have to prepare formula from scratch every time my baby needs feeding?

It can be hard juggling a crying baby in one hand and preparing a bottle in another. To help eliminate some of the stress and save time, you can prepare the cooled boiled water in advance.

Boil enough water for all your baby’s feeds for the day and pour the correct amount into sterilised bottles for storage in the fridge. Discard any unused water after 24 hours. Place the caps on the bottles and when your baby requires a feed, the cooled boiled water is ready to use. Warm the water to feeding temperature, add powder and the formula is ready to feed your baby.

Can I prepare formula in advance?

As tempting as it is to save time, it is not recommended to prepare formula in advance. It Is better to make each bottle as it is needed.

However, if feeds need to be prepared in advance for use later, they should be prepared in individual bottles, cooled quickly, and stored in the fridge. Throw away any unused refrigerated formula after 24 hours. Re-warm for no more than 15 minutes, using one the methods covered above.

How to make formula milk when out for the day

Formula feeding your baby outside the home can be tricky. Whether it is going to a park, a shopping centre, or on a day trip, preparing formula outside the home can seem a little overwhelming.

Boil the water in advance, and store in sterilised bottles in the fridge. Cooled boiled water can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours before it needs to be discarded.

Transfer the correct number of scoops of formula into a smaller, sterilised, dry container. Only transfer as much formula powder as you will need for the time you are out and use this to prepare the bottles.

When you need to go out:

1. Keep the cooled boiled water in a cooler bag with an ice pack to keep it cold.
2. Bring the appropriate amount of formula powder in a separate container, along with a thermos of hot water and a mug.
3. When your child is ready for a feed, take the bottle with the cooled boiled water out of the cooler bag and place it standing in the mug of hot water from the thermos. This will heat up the water.
4. Swirl the water in the bottle regularly to ensure it is evenly heated.
5. Once the water has reached the appropriate temperature, add the pre-portioned formula powder to the bottle, and shake or swirl until combined. The formula is now ready for your child.

As long as the cooled boiled water stays cold in the cooler bag, it will be safe to use when preparing formula.

Preparing formula can be tricky. But, like anything, it will get easier with practice! If you have any questions, contact our Careline for help. Remember that breastfeeding should remain the
primary if not the exclusive source of nutrition for your little baby wherever possible, read more about the benefits of breastmilk here .


Written by Accredited Dietitian, Amy Stratford.

Copyright © 2021 The a2 Milk Company

*A1 and A2 proteins refer to A1 and A2 beta-casein protein types

a2 Milk™ is a trade mark of, and brand of A1 protein-free milk from, The a2 Milk Company Limited