Preparing and Storing Formula
By Jill Tomlin
When you prepare your baby's bottle, take an extra minute to make sure the formula is every bit as safe as it is nutritious.
Nine tips for safe, satisfying formula bottles:
- Wash up Always wash your hands with soap and warm water before preparing formula bottles.
- Keep it clean Carefully clean measuring cups, mixing tools or utensils, and can openers after each use. Your countertops and tables also should be spotless.
- To boil or not to boil? Always sterilize new bottles and nipples before their first use. If you have chlorinated water, boiling infant bottles every time you use them is not necessary. To clean bottles, run them through the dishwasher or hand-wash them well with soap and warm water. If you have well water or nonchlorinated water, sterilize the bottles and nipples in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. If you're using tap water to mix formula, flush impurities from the pipes by running the water for two minutes before you use it. And use only water from the cold-water tap.
- Check the date Check the expiration date on the formula can. Throw out any cans that have expired.
- Measure up Properly prepared formula is essential for the health of your baby's digestive system and for her optimum growth. Pour ready-to-feed formula directly into your baby's clean bottle. Measure concentrated or powdered formula accurately. Follow the mixing instructions on the label carefully
- Warm it up Warm your baby's bottle in a bowl of warm water or hold it under warm running tap water. Never warm the bottle in a microwave oven -- the uneven heating could create hot spots that will burn your baby's mouth.
- Test the temperature Place a drop of warmed formula on your wrist; if it feels comfortable and just barely warm, it's safe to feed baby.
- Cool it Keep prepared formula refrigerated until feeding time. After feeding, discard any remaining formula. Never put a warmed bottle back into the refrigerator.
- Use it or lose it Use powdered and concentrated formula within 24 hours of preparation and ready-to-feed formula within 48 hours of opening. Don't leave prepared or opened liquid formula at room temperature for more than two hours.
How much formula does your baby need?
Spending time feeding your baby is one of the most pleasurable and important things you can do. And while you're at it, you want to make sure your baby is getting all of the nutrition she needs. Here are a few guidelines that can help you tell if baby is getting enough to eat.
- Is your baby gaining weight? If the answer is yes, then that's a pretty good sign baby is getting enough formula. If the answer is no, you should talk to your baby's doctor and discuss what steps you need to take.
- Check out baby's diapers. If baby is getting enough formula, she should be wetting a diaper almost hourly until she's 3 months of age. And she should be having at least three bowel movements each day by the time she's 2 weeks old. The number of bowel movements will gradually taper off as baby grows older and starts on solid foods.
- Keep track of baby's formula. The quantity of formula a baby needs depends on the child's weight, growth rate, and metabolism, but most newborns will drink two to three fluid ounces per day for every pound of body weight. For example a 10-pound baby, will drink between 20 and ounces of formula each day.