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Choosing baby formula


Tips for using baby formula continued...


  • Feed your newborn as much baby formula on demand, but don’t force them to finish a bottle he’s no longer interested in.
  • Read the instructions on your baby’s formula to find out exactly how much powder should be added to the bottle of previously boiled water.
  • Don’t ‘water down’ infant formula. Not only will the baby get too few nutrients, but there’s also a small but serious risk of 'water intoxication'. This over-consumption of water can disturb a baby’s electrolyte balance, resulting in seizures or brain damage
  • Never give your baby other animal milks or plant milks that are not baby milks.
  • Although your baby may have been having milk-based foods such as yoghurt as part of their weaning diet from 6 months of age, from a year old cow’s milk is fine to use. Full-fat milk (4% fat) is recommended initially. If you are choosing a plant milk as part of a toddler diet, do not give rice milk. Rice milk has a natural level of arsenic which children under 5-years old cannot tolerate.


  • Wash your hands with soap before preparing your baby’s bottle.
  • Sterilise baby bottles and teats in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. The teats may change colour, but they’re still fine to use. After use, simply wash bottles, teats and caps in the dishwasher. Or wash them by hand with a bottle and teat brush in hot, soapy water and rinse very well. However clean bottles may look, they still need to be sterilised again before making up more baby milk.
  • Always keep prepared baby formula in the fridge until you need it. Read the instructions on the formula container to see how long it may be stored. Generally, a prepared bottle of powdered infant formula should be used within two hours, and must be used within 24 hours, and a prepared bottle ready-to-use formula within 48 hours.
  • Don’t heat your baby’s bottle in the microwave. Microwave ovens heat unevenly, creating hot-spots in liquids that can burn a baby’s mouth. You can make use of the microwave’s convenience by heating a mug of water in it and then standing the bottle of milk in that mug for a minute or two. Check the temperature on your skin before offering it to your baby.
  • Feed your baby a cool or room temperature bottle if they seem to prefer it

The difference between baby formulas is small. If in doubt talk to your health visitor. They’re very used to questions from worried new mums and dads, and they are there to help.

Dietitian reviewed by Catherine Collins RD


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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sheena Meredith on August 05, 2015

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