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How to: Prepare a Formula Bottle Feed

Did you know?

Powdered infant formula is not sterile and could contain bacteria such as Enterobacter sakazakii that has the potential to cause serious illness in infants. Correct preparation and handling reduces the risk of illness.

Although infections caused by Enterobacter sakazakii are rare, they can be serious, so it is important to be aware of the risks. Most at risk are infants who are:

  • pre-term.
  • low-birth-weight.
  • immunocompromised.
Photo by Pexels

Sterilisation

  1. Make sure there is a clean area designated solely for preparing and storing formula. It is also recommended to have a hand-washing sink solely for when preparing formula.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water, and all feeding and preparation equipment with hot, soapy water. Make sure to use a bottle and teat brush to get into those hard-to-reach places and make sure all bottle parts are completely clean. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  3. Sterilise cleaned feeding equipment using either a steriliser (following instructions) or by submersing the equipment in boiling water.
  4. It is preferable to use the bottles straight away after sterilisation. However, if they are sterilised and need to be stored before use, fully assemble any feeding bottles to protect the inside of the bottle and the teat becoming re-contaminated. Keep all sterilised equipment covered in a clean container until needed.

Preparing the feed

  1. Clean and disinfect preparation surface and wash hands again.
  2. Boil water either in a kettle or pan (if a pan, make sure water reaches a rolling boil).
  3. Follow the instructions on the formula packaging for quantities of powder and water and add to the bottle.
  4. Only prepare the powdered infant formula with water that is 70°C or above. If the water has cooled past this, re-boil.
  5. Mix the formula thoroughly by shaking the bottle.
  6. Immediately cool the bottle to feeding temperature by running the bottle under cold water.
  7. Dry the outside of the bottle with a clean cloth.
  8. Label bottle with the formula type, name of the child, name of the practitioner who prepared it and the date and time it was done.
  9. Check the temperature of the milk on your wrist before feeding. It should be lukewarm.
  10. Throw away any feed not consumed after two hours.
Photo by Rainier Ridao on Unsplash

Storing the feed

  1. If feeds are prepared and stored before use, this should be in a dedicated refrigerator, set at no higher than 5°C, and monitored daily.
  2. Make sure all stored formula is labelled with the formula type, name of the child, name of the practitioner who prepared it and the date and time it was done.
  3. Throw away any feeds not used after 24 hours.

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