Bottle-feeding comes with its own unique learning curve. Once parents see all the options available, they often become overwhelmed with the correct preparation procedures. Between liquid, powder, and ready-to-eat, parents and babies have a buffet of choices! You shouldn’t have to fret about how to prep your baby’s formula when there is already so much to think about-that’s why we have a guide for you! Our guide can be printed for quick reference too. Read ahead to get the scoop.
First and foremost: always wash your hands and work at a clean surface, using only clean and sanitized bottles. Never, ever water down or dilute formula as your baby needs the exact level of nutrients it contains.
Possibly the most ubiquitous, powder formula is what the majority of parents use. Especially those who are more budget-conscious. Powder formulas tend to last longer and they come in the most variety, which is great for those babies who have allergies or sensitivities. Powder formula also tends to give parents a bit of anxiety however, due to the fact that you must boil the water prior to mixing the bottle. Generally, water must be boiled for a minute but no longer. And of course, the water must be cooled. It’s a process that many parents do not want to endure. That said, once the water is ready, follow the instructions on the can, using the provided scoop. Then, shake the bottle! You can make larger batches so that bottle prep takes less time, but once formula is mixed, it must be refrigerated and used within 24 hours.
Similarly to powder formula, liquid concentrate needs to be mixed with water. It is less of a hassle to transport and isn’t quite as guilty at messiness as powder is! Again, the water must be sterilized prior to mixing. Be sure not to over-boil as it can sap nutrients and increase risk of any contaminants. Mix according to the bottle with the appropriate measurements for the desired bottle size and shake.
Perhaps the easiest to use and prepare, ready-to-feed or ready-to-use, does not need any mixing or preparation. All you have to do is pour into a clean bottle and voila, your baby is ready to eat! This formula is great for those times that require less effort such as travel or when you have errands to run, but it can be costly and it must be used within 24 hours upon opening.
To warm formula that has been refrigerated, place in a warm tub or use a bottle warmer. While the recommendation is to boil water and let it cool for both powder and liquid concentrate formula, you can use bottled water or jug water, such as nursery water, if necessary. This might be particularly true for you if your water source is high in lead or is not fluoridated. It would be wise to ask your pediatrician what they advise as your baby’s nutrition is of utmost importance to you.
Remember that no matter which formula you use, you must wash your hands every time and use clean bottles every time. Once you get the hang of it though, it’ll be second nature. Happy feeding!