Bottlefeeding and How to Prepare Infant Formula

Bottlefeeding and How to Prepare Infant Formula

Experts agree that breast milk is the most perfect food for babies. But if you choose to use infant formula, you can feel good knowing that iron-fortified formulas provide all the nutrition your baby needs during the first year of life.

Bottle feeding offers another opportunity for you and other family members to comfort your baby. Whether you choose to bottle-feed breast milk or infant formula, the closeness you share during bottle feedings will let your baby know she’s in a secure, loving environment.

Bottlefeeding and How to Prepare Infant Formula
Bottlefeeding and How to Prepare Infant Formula

1. Getting Started

Feed your baby every 3-4 hours. If the baby sleeps for longer than a four-hour period during the day, gently wake the baby for feedings. Plan to feed your baby at least 6 to 8 times in a 24-hour period.

2. Be Patient

Don’t worry if your baby only takes half to one ounce of breast milk or infant formula at each feeding during the first few days. Gradually your baby will take a little more each day. By the end of the first week, your baby should eat 1 to 3 ounces at each feeding.

3. Family Bonding

Feeding time should be pleasant for both you and your baby. Hold the baby close and talk softly during the feeding. Skin to skin contact will also help you feel closer to your baby.

4. Steps to Prepare Infant Formula

Commercial infant formula may come in three different forms: ready-to-feed, concentrated liquid and powder. Powder formula is the most commonly used and economical form.

Wash – Wash your hands with soap and water before you begin. Wash all the bottles and equipment in hot soapy water. Rinse well with hot water.

Sterilize – Many doctors recommend that you sterilize all bottles and equipment for your baby’s first three or four months of life. To sterilize: cover the containers and equipment completely with water and boil for five minutes. Cool. Remove with sterile tongs. Disposable bottle liners do not require sterilization. For older babies, everything can be washed in hot soapy water and rinsed well or cleaned in the dishwasher.

Mix – Preparing a single feeding at a time is recommended, but you can prepare up to a 24-hour supply of infant formula at one time. The water for formula should be boiled for five minutes then cooled. The formula label gives directions on how much concentrated liquid or powder to add to the water. Measure exactly. If too much water is added your baby will not get enough nutrients. If too little water is added your baby may become dehydrated. NOTE: If you live in a rural area check with the appropriate authorities to see if your water is safe for your baby.

Store – Prepared formula should be either fed to your baby or refrigerated immediately. If your baby does not finish all the formula in the bottle during a feeding, discard what is left in the bottle. Prepared bottles of formula can be stored up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The formula should never be left at room temperature for longer than one hour. Bacteria that can make your baby sick grow quickly in warm formula. When away from home, store the formula with ice packs in an insulated cooler.

Range of Feedings and Amounts Per Formula Feeding


0-3 months 4-6 months 7-9 months 10-12 months
At birth: 6-10 feedings 60-120 mL (2-4 oz)

By 2-3 months: 5-6 feedings 120-180 mL (4-6 oz)

5-6 feedings
150-180 mL
(5-6 oz)
4-5 feedings
180-200 mL
(6-7 oz)
3-4 feedings
200-240 mL
(7-8 oz)
Note: Feeding amounts are approximate. Babies will eat more or less each feeding, depending on their hunger and needs.


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