Mixing baby formula

Breastfeeding provides babies with the best nutrition and is preferred whenever possible. However, if you are unable to breastfeed, or are using formula for any other reasons, it is vital that you have all the information you need to keep your baby safe and healthy.

The water:

  • Boil water and allow to cool. Boil town water for formula until your baby is at least three months old. If you are using bore or tank water, boil it until your baby is 18 months old
  • You should always boil water regardless of the age of your baby, if you are pre-preparing formula.
  • As filtered water doesn’t remove bacteria from the water, you should follow the rules above depending on the source of the filtered water.

The formula:

  • First up – wash your hands
  • Before you begin to make up formula, ensure that you have everything you need – sterilised bottles, clean equipment, and somewhere safe to store the bottle if you’re not going to be using it straight away. Wash and sterilise all equipment until your baby is at least three months old.
  • Always be careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure that you level off each scoop so that you use the correct amount of powder.
  • Measure the correct amount of water before you add it to the bottle. Always add the powder to the water, rather than the water to the powder.
  • Don’t pack the powder into the measuring scoop.
  • Thoroughly mix the water and powder by shaking the bottle.
  • Test the temperature of the of the milk with a few drops on the inside of your wrist – it should be nicely warm (cooler is better than too hot though). Run the bottle under cold water if necessary.
  • If storing bottles in the fridge, make sure you put them at the back, where the temperature is the most consistently cool.
  • Discard any formula left in the bottle at the end of the feed.
  • Throw out any premixed formula that hasn’t been used within 24 hours. Reheat bottles by putting the bottle in a bowl or jug of hot water. Shake. Microwave reheating is not recommended.

Travelling with formula:

It is best to pack cool boiled water and powder separately and then mix them just as you need – this negates the need to carry an insulated bag of pre-prepared formula.



The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your baby’s life, followed by the timely introduction of safe and adequate foods. WHO recommends continued breastfeeding for the first two years and beyond. Breastfeeding provides babies with the best nutrition and is preferred when possible. Always follow professional advice before using an infant formula. Proper use of an infant formula is important to the health of the infant, only use as directed.

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