How To Prepare Baby Formula

As a parent, it’s normal to have a lot of questions about feeding your baby formula and the best ways to prepare bottles for feeding, or how to transition to a new formula.

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How much milk should your baby drink each feed? Can you reheat formula? Everything from how much formula to give to how to make a formula bottle, can leave even the well-researched truly stumped! But Bubs is here to help, with this quick and easy guide to preparing baby formula, so you can make it best for your little one.

How much formula to give your baby

As with so many things baby-related, there’s no one answer to the question ‘how much should my baby drink?’ The amount of formula your baby needs will depend on their age and weight, so it can be useful to follow a comprehensive guide like this one when preparing baby formula. Use the feeding guide on the pack as a guide for the right amount of formula for your age baby.

However, as a general guide:

  • How many mL should a newborn drinkBabies 5 days to 3 months old need 150mL per kilogram, per day (e.g. if baby weighs 3kg, they’ll need 450mL).
  • How many mL does a 3- to 6-month-old need? 120mL of infant formula per kilo, per day.
  • How much formula should a 6- to 12-month-old baby have? 90-120mL per kilo, per day.¹

    Premature babies have different needs, too, and often require more formula – usually 160 to 180mL of formula per kilogram of body weight per day. Your neonatal doctor or nurse will be able to advise you of exactly how to make baby formula for your early arrival, and always seek medical advice if you’re concerned about your baby’s feeding habits.²

    Make sure you’re choosing the formula in the right age range for your baby, too, to ensure they’re getting the right nutrition.

    How to clean your formula feeding equipment

    Keeping your formula-feeding equipment (e.g. bottles, teats, caps, collars and sealing discs) clean and hygienic is an essential part of formula preparation until your baby is 12 months old. This is because their immune systems are still developing, meaning they are more susceptible to germs. Luckily, sterilising your bottle-related bits and bobs is simple, and can be done in a variety of ways, including by boiling or with an electric steam or UV steriliser.

    Sterilising by boiling

    1. Place all equipment in a large pot and cover with tap water. Be sure no air bubbles are trapped in the bottles and that all the pieces are completely covered with water. 
    2. Put the lid on the pot and bring to the boil. Allow to rapidly boil for 5 minutes. 
    3. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely. 
    4. Before handling the sterilised equipment, wash your hands with soap and water.

    When your formula feeding equipment is sterilised, store it in a clean container in the fridge. If you don’t use it within 24 hours, you’ll need to boil all the parts again before use.

    How to prepare baby formula

    Formula preparation is simple. The instructions are clearly outlined on the formula tin, and it’s vital to follow these precisely to ensure your baby is getting the right nutrition. While there may be slight differences between manufacturers, here’s a breakdown of the steps so you know just how to make a formula bottle for your little one.

    1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Check that the formula hasn’t passed its use-by date.
    2. Make sure your bottle is sterilised (if it’s not, treat it in boiling water or a steriliser before use).
    3. Boil fresh, clean water, and leave to cool for no longer than 30 minutes (boiling the water before use helps kill any bacteria).
    4. Pour the required amount of boiled, cooled water into the bottle.
    5. Following the feeding guide on the tin, use the scoop provided to add the required amount of formula to the water. Note: It’s important not to use a scoop from a different brand of formula, as measurements may differ. Shake well until powder dissolves. 
    6. Before feeding, test the temperature on your wrist to make sure it is lukewarm, not hot. Serve immediately.

    Formula storage

    If you’re preparing baby formula ahead of time, it’s essential to store it correctly to ensure your baby’s safety. After following the instructions to prepare your baby’s bottle, store it in the fridge and make sure to use within 24 hours.

    How can you reheat formula?

    If you make up a bottle ahead of time, you’ll need to reheat before feeding. To reheat a bottle, stand it in a container of hot water for 10 minutes. Never put it in the microwave, as it can heat unevenly, and the bottle may burn your baby’s mouth.

    Important: Do not use leftover formula

    It’s crucial that you never reuse leftover formula after a feed. Germs can easily grow in prepared formula, and this can make your baby sick – for this reason, it’s important to only make up one bottle at a time and to always discard any leftover formula after a feed.

    If you have any questions about feeding or formula, contact your healthcare professional.


    ¹ https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/bottle-feeding-nutrition-and-safety

    ² http://conditions.health.qld.gov.au/HealthCondition/condition/8/31/325/infant-formula-feeding

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