Infant Formula

Infant Formula

An Infant Formula Guide Infant Formula Guide to choosing an infant formula and milk drinks for babies and children.

A guide to making up infant formula safely

Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed your baby. This information is for families who have decided to bottle feed. A commercial infant formula is the only suitable substitute to breast milk for babies up until 12 months of age.

Tin of infant formula with a scoop and feeding bottle

  1. Wash your hands and have a clean bench.
  2. Follow the instructions on the infant formula tin for your baby’s age.
  3. Add the correct amount of cooled boiled water into a sterilised feeding bottle.
  4. Using the scoop provided in the infant formula tin add the right amount of powder. Do not heap or pack down.
  5. Put the teat and cap on the bottle and shake it until the powder dissolves.
  6. Your baby can have infant formula cold, warm or at room temperature (see below on how to warm up infant formula).
  7. Test the temperature by squirting a few drops of milk on the inside of your wrist. If the infant formula does not feel hot, it is okay for your baby.
  8. Any infant formula left at the end of a feed should be thrown out. It is not safe to keep for later.

Using a feeding bottle

Only put infant formula or cooled boiled water in feeding bottles.

Feeding your baby is a special time

  • Hold and talk to your baby during feeding time.
  • Do not leave your baby to feed themselves, as they may choke.

How to know when baby has had enough

  • Babies know when they are hungry and when they have had enough.
  • Your baby may turn away from the bottle when they have had enough.
  • Your baby may not always finish their bottle.
  • How much your baby drinks can change from day to day.
  • If your baby has about six or more wet nappies in 24 hours and is growing, your baby is having enough to drink.

How to sterilize bottle feeding equipment

All bottles and teats need to be sterilised to kill germs and to make sure they are safe to use. To sterilise by boiling:

  1. Wash bottles, teats and caps in hot soapy water with a bottle or teat brush.
  2. Place bottles, teats and caps in a saucepan on the stove.
  3. Cover with water.
  4. Bring the water to the boil and boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Allow bottles, teats and caps to cool in the saucepan then remove and use them.
  6. Store any equipment that is not used in a clean container in the refrigerator.
  7. Any stored equipment that is not used within 24 hours must be re-sterilised.

You can sterilise by using a steam steriliser or a chemical solution. Follow the instructions provided.

Warming up infant formula

  1. Place the bottle upright in a container of warm water.
  2. Leave standing in warm water for about 2 to 4 minutes to warm.
  3. Squirt a few drops of infant formula on the inside of your wrist. If the milk feels warm and not hot, it is okay for your baby.

Do not use the microwave or stovetop to heat up infant formula, this can cause hot spots in the infant formula and may burn your baby’s mouth.

Making water safe to use

  1. Boil fresh tap water.
  2. If you use an electric kettle, boil water until it switches off. If you use a stovetop, boil water until it comes to a rolling boil. This means the water does not stop boiling when stirred.
  3. Cool the boiled water until lukewarm. You can keep any extra boiled water in a sterilised container in the refrigerator.

Want to know more

Ask your GP or child health nurse.

Print a guide to making up Infant Formula