First things first, it is so important to ensure that every is clean.
Follow these hygiene steps:
Sterilise all your baby’s feeding equipment. This includes bottles, teats, lids, retaining rings and caps.
Clean and disinfect the work surface you’re going to use.
Wash and dry your hands.
Put a sterilised bottle on the clean surface.
Use sterilised tongs to place the sterilised teat, lid, retaining ring and cap out ready, preferably on the upturned lid of the steriliser.
Once you’ve done this, you’re now ready to make your baby’s feed.
How to prepare a bottle feed?
It’s essential that you measure the milk powder and water accurately. If the feed is too weak, your baby will be hungry and won’t put on weight. If the feed is too strong, your baby will become very thirsty and dehydrated.
Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make a formula feed for your baby:
- Fill the kettle with fresh tap water. Don’t use artificially softened water or water that has already been boiled before. Only use bottled water if you’re abroad. A change in tap water could give your baby a tummy upset, because of the difference in minerals and purifying chemicals in the water. You’ll still need to boil the mineral water.
- Bring the water to the boil and allow it to cool for 20 to 30 minutes. It needs to be hot enough to kill any bacteria in the powder, but not boiling hot. If you have a thermometer, the water should be at least 70 degrees C. Take care, though, as that’s still hot enough to scald you.
- Read the instructions on the packet to check the amount of water needed for each bottle and the number of scoops of powder to use.
- Pour the required amount of water into the bottle. It’s important to put the water in first, because you need to measure it accurately.
- Check the water level in the bottle. Stand the bottle on the countertop and crouch down to look. This way you can see that the water level is in line with the mark on the side of the bottle. If you look from above or below, or pick it up to check, it may look fuller or emptier than it actually is.
- Add the right number of scoops of powder to the bottle. Use the scoop provided in the packet. It will measure just the right amount. Loosely fill the scoop and level it off using the back of a clean knife, or the leveler provided in the pack. You don’t need to press the powder down for each scoop.
- Place a sterilised lid or teat on the neck of the bottle and screw the retaining ring on tightly. If you’re using a teat, hold the teat on its edge as you put it on, or use sterilised tongs.
- Put a sterilised cap on the bottle and shake it carefully until the powder has dissolved completely.
- Before feeding your baby, test the temperature by tipping a little milk out of the teat onto the inside of your wrist. It should feel just warm, not hot. If you need to, cool the milk by holding the bottle, with a cap covering the teat, under cold running water.
Now you’re ready to give your baby her bottle
How do I use a ready-made formula milk?
You can buy ready-made formula milk in cartons. These are more expensive than powder formula, but they can save time and are convenient when you’re out and about.
All you need to do is pour as much as you need into a sterilised bottle, and warm it up. Or you could just give it to your baby at room temperature if she likes it like this. When you open the packet, make sure your hands are clean and you use clean scissors, if you need to.
If there’s any ready-made formula left in the carton, use it within 24 hours. Make sure the cut corner is folded down and store the carton in the main part of the fridge where it’s coldest (DH 2009). The temperature of the fridge should be 5 degrees C or less.
Can I store my baby’s feed for her to finish later?
Unless you’re using ready-made milk, always make a fresh feed for your baby. Don’t store bottles of baby formula milk that you’ve already made. This is because bacteria can grow rapidly in formula milk kept at room temperature and can grow slowly in the fridge.
Having said that, there may be times when you just have to make up a feed in advance and keep it in the fridge. This may be the case if you have twins, or if you’re out for the day or your baby goes to childcare. Read more about storing formula in the fridge safely. Your midwife and health visitor can also give you practical tips on how to cope.
When your baby has finished feeding, throw away any leftover formula. If your baby hasn’t fed from a bottle at all, throw it away within one hour. It may seem a waste, but it’s healthier for your baby that way.
We hope that helps you to figure out how to prepare a bottle feed.
If you want some more information on ‘How to prepare a bottle feed’ head over to Kiwi Families which is another great online parenting site run by a fantastic Kiwi mum.
Enjoy your little bundle and remember you will get some sleep again.