Preparing And Warming Formula

Preparing And Warming Formula

Preparing And Warming Formula

As a parent you will want to provide the best nutrition for your baby that you can. The quality of formula-feeds relies on accurate and hygienic preparation. Learn the steps to preparation that ensure feeds are safe.

Preparing powdered formula

Ideally, only one bottle of formula is prepared at a time it is needed. The simplest way to prepare formula is directly into the bottles. Using cleaned and sterilized equipment, prepare the formula as follows:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Read the instructions on the formula container.
  • Boil the water to be used for making the formula and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  • Measure the required amount of water into each individual bottle.
  • Add the correct number of scoops of powdered formula as the instructions recommend. Measure powdered formula by using the special scoop supplied with the formula.  Use a knife to level off the scoop.
  • Mix the formula by capping the bottle and shaking well.

You may find it convenient to store prepared sterilized bottles of boiled water in the refrigerator, warming the bottle by standing in a container of warm water and then adding formula.


  • Don't compress the powder in the scoop by running the scoop up the side of the can or patting down the powder.
  • It's important to be aware that the ratio of water and formula powder varies from brand to brand and the scoops are often not interchangeable between brands.
  • Some powdered formulas need to be mixed while the water is warm, others when the water is cooled.  If your formula doesn't mix well (i.e. it's lumpy), the water may be too hot or too cold. 

ALERT! Never water down the formula or make it stronger by adding extra scoops of formula. Improper mixing of formula can be harmful to your baby, as it can result in abdominal pain, improper caloric intake, constipation or other serious problems. As your baby grows he may need more milk, never stronger milk.

Why use boiled water? 

Depending on your child's age, the quality of your local water supply and when you prepare formula in relation to feeds, advice on whether to boil water can vary among health professionals.

To provide the safest care, we recommend boiling the water to be used in bottles, just prior to formula preparation, for all babies up to the age of 12 months. 

  • Empty and refill the jug with fresh water and bring to the boil.
  • Prolonged boiling is unnecessary. Kettles and jugs with no automatic cut-off should be switched off within 30 seconds of boiling.
  • Allow the water to cool in the jug to lukewarm (approx 10-15 minutes cooling time before preparing the formula).

Please note: Many Anti-Regurgitation (AR) formulas are made up once boiled water has cooled completely. Check the formula manufacturer's guidelines for water temperature.

Warming bottle-feeds

Many babies prefer their milk to be warmed, however this is not necessary. There's no physical reason why a healthy baby can't drink cold milk. It's more a matter of what your baby gets used to.

Infant formula

  • To heat formula, you can either place the bottle of formula in a jug of hot water or use a microwave.
  • Shake the bottle well after heating. Test the temperature of the formula by splashing some onto your inner wrist. It should feel close to body temperature, which means you will hardly notice when it touches your skin.
  • If you find you accidentally overheat the formula, the quickest way to cool it down is to run cold water from the tap over the outside of the bottle. Shake the bottle frequently. 


  • Great care should be taken when using a microwave, as formula is heated unevenly. Take extra care when using unfamiliar microwaves, as some are more powerful than others.
  • NEVER put the cap and nipple in a microwave, as this could burn your baby's mouth.

Breast milk

Breast milk should not be warmed in a microwave because breast milk contains living cells which can be destroyed by overheating. To warm breast milk, place the bottle in a jug with warm, not boiling, water.

Written by Rowena Bennett

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