Key Pointers on Preparing Baby Formula

By Sandra Gordon

Store Brand Infant Formula like Parent's Choice Infant Formula is sold in powdered form only. There are several key pointer on preparing baby formula that I want to share so that you can feed you can safely feed baby. To mix up a batch safely, follow these instructions.

  1. Wash up! Always wash your hands just like you would before preparing any other type of food.
  2. Boil new bottles and nipples for five minutes before using them the first time. After that, you can wash them by hand with warm, soapy water or in the dishwasher.
  3. After opening a formula can, clean the lid and the can opener. No dirt or dust in your baby's formula!
  4. Read the label directions on the infant formula container and follow them exactly. Instruct caregivers such as nannies, au pairs and grandparents to do the same. It's generally recommended that you sterilize the water you use to make infant formula by bringing water to a rolling boil for five minutes then letting it cool to lukewarm. If you want to skip this step, check in with your pediatrician first. Ask your pediatrician if you need to boil the water in your area before mixing a bottle, or about using bottled water. In general, if you have city water at your house, you may not need to sterilize your water or buy special nursery or bottled water for making formula. Regular tap water will do. Public water supplies are tested regularly for contaminants and monitored more closely than commercial bottled water for impurities. If you have well water, though, get your water tested to make sure it's safe to prepare infant formula with it and feed to your baby. Contact by your county health department or the Department of Natural Resources statewide office in your area.
  5. Pour the recommend amount of cooled water into the bottle, add powder and cap bottle. Use a standard measuring cup instead of bottle markings to measure water. Shake well to even out the temperature and test the formula or breast milk on the back of your hand. If it's lukewarm, it's ready for your baby.

More on Preparing Baby Formula: Do's and Don'ts

DO:

  • Check the use-by date on the infant formula you buy. Each container of infant formula has a 24-month shelf life. The product may change over time due to oxidation in the container, which can happen even if it has never been opened. But as long as you use formula within the use-by date, it will taste fine and meet the nutrient information on the label.
  • Buy infant formula from reputable retailers. No matter how cheap infant formula is on eBay, Craig's List, from online auctions or at a flea market, pass it up. Counterfeit formula can be illegally relabeled to misrepresent its true content or quality, such as changing the “use by” date. Know what you're getting and buy Store Brand Infant Formula at mainstream retailers such as Walmart, and its Parent's Choice baby formula brand.

DON'T:

  • Stretch infant formula by adding extra water. That's a big no-no because diluted formula won't meet your baby's nutritional needs and can cause water intoxication, which is potentially life threatening. No cost savings is worth that risk.
  • Reduce your baby's feedings to save money. Babies grow faster during their first year than at any other time of life. Reducing feedings can have serious health and developmental consequences.
  • Prepare your baby's formula with too little water. Infant formula that's too concentrated can be difficult for your baby to digest. It can cause diarrhea or dehydration and will give your baby more calories than she needs.
  • Prepare infant formula in the blender. Mixing right in the bottle minimizes the chances of contamination and besides, it's one less thing to clean.
  • Heat formula in the microwave. Ditto for breast milk. Zapping in the microwave can create dangerous hot spots that can burn your baby. Instead, warm up bottles under running hot water or in a pan of water that's been heated on the stove for a few minutes. Don't think you need to serve infant formula warm, however. Some babies are just fine with cold formula straight from the fridge or room-temp formula that hasn't been out for more than an hour.
  • Buy formula in a dented container. Even if it's being sold at a big discount, a dented container may not be a good deal because structural damage to the can may allow air to enter, which causes formula to spoil and become unsafe for your baby to consume.

Formula Fact: The powdered form is the most popular form of baby formula today, accounting for approximately 90 percent of the U.S. market share.

About the Author

Sandra Gordon is a consumer products expert, a writer, and a mother of two. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show and as a baby safety expert on The Discovery Health Channel's "Make Room for Baby." A Consumer Reports author, her latest book is Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear.

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