Feeding infants and toddlers with baby milk powder
- Feeding infants -

Feeding Infants from 1 month to 36 months old

Check the expiration date

Each batch of formula must determine nutrient levels and safety, and stamp a "use-by" date on every infant formula can – just like the date found on milk, eggs, poultry, and other perishables. It may be tempting to grab a can and run when you're shopping with a fussy baby, but taking a few seconds to check the use-by date helps assure safety and quality. If you have a newborn, you might want to wait a couple of months to establish a feeding routine before stocking up. That way, you can figure out how much formula you'll be able to use before it expires. Also make sure that the can isn't dented. When a can is dented, the tin layer inside might be cracked. This allows the milk powder to come in contact with the steel, potentially causing rust and even a hole that could cause the contents to spoil. In such a case replace can immediately. If you accidentally purchase infant formula already past its use-by date, return it to the store and request a fresh can. Most formula makers allow retailers to return unopened cans of expired formula for free replacement.

Keep formula cool but not frozen

Heat and cold can degrade the ingredients and the nutrients in formula, so keep unopened liquid or powdered formula in a cool place. Choose a cabinet or a shelf that's away from a stove, oven, heating ducts, or hot water pipes. The optimum storage temperature is between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but make certain that it stays below 95 degrees and above freezing, or 32 degrees. Don't leave cans in direct sunlight, and don't put them in the freezer. Once you open a can of liquid formula, follow the directions on the can for storage. Most suggest storing it in the can, covered, for 24 to 48 hours. Its best not to put powdered formula in the refrigerator or another damp place because humidity can cause the powder to clump, which may make the formula over-concentrated. Once you've opened a can of powdered formula, use it within 2 weeks.

Follow this five-step checklist when preparing formula

1. Wash your equipment well

Some experts suggest sanitizing all bottles, nipples, measuring cups, spoons, and rings. Others say there's no need unless water safety in your area is questionable. Still others advise sterilizing feeding supplies if your baby is younger than 3 months old. At any rate, you'll want to wash all of your bottle supplies in hot soapy water and rinse well. Better yet, run everything through the dishwasher. It's a good idea to do this right after feedings so the formula doesn't have a chance to stick to the sides and crevices of the bottle. And you'll want to disassemble bottle parts so all the surface areas get cleaned well. Bottle and nipple brushes are inexpensive and very handy, as are dishwasher-safe plastic baskets specially designed to hold bottle-feeding supplies. If you choose to sanitize, simply place the supplies in boiling water for about five minutes. You can also find commercial sterilizers to do the job. Alternatively, rinsing nipples with a mixture of half water, half vinegar can help prevent fungal growth. Let the bottles and supplies air dry on a drying rack or dry with a paper towel if you need them right away. (Don't use dishtowels because they can harbor bacteria.) Fill bottles with formula, refrigerate, and use within 12 hours. If you're using sample nipples that you were given at the hospital or doctor's office, they come in sterilized packages and can be used directly out of the package. But they're meant to be used only once, so throw them away after one use. When you purchase new bottles and supplies, wash and sterilize them before using them for the first time, even if you don't continue to sterilize them.

2. Wash and dry the top of the formula can before opening it

This helps remove dust or liquids that may have spilled on it. Make sure your can opener is clean – wash it well between uses.

3. Wash your hands
Before preparing formula, wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands with a paper towel.


4. Follow the preparation directions printed on the can exactly
Because mixing instructions vary by manufacturer, and the water-to-formula ratio depends on whether the formula is powder or liquid, read the label carefully. Adding too little water can tax your baby's kidneys and cause dehydration . Adding too much water will deprive your baby of the calories and nutrients he needs, and not getting enough calories regularly can cause stunted growth and failure to thrive. For better accuracy, you can use a standard measuring cup instead of the lines on your baby's bottle.

5. Use clean, safe water

If you're using powdered or liquid concentrate formula, be sure to mix it with water that's clean and safe. You can use tap water, provided your local health department says it's safe to drink, or bottled water. If you use private well water or have any concerns about the quality of your water, be sure you use water that has been sterilized by boiling . Simply run tap water for a minute or two until it's cold to reduce lead or other contaminants. Then run cold water into a pan and boil for one minute – be sure to let it cool, for no more than 30 minutes, before using it. Boiling for an extended time can concentrate minerals and impurities like lead in the water. Note that bottled water isn't necessarily sterile, and neither is water that's been run through a filter. In fact, filters – in pitchers or on faucets – that aren't changed often enough can harbor bacteria. Buy sterilized bottled water, but make sure the label specifies that. You might also talk with your healthcare provider about the water quality in your area. Ask her whether she thinks it's necessary to boil the water for your baby's formula. Don't use fluoridated water to prepare formula. Keep in mind, however, that babies who drink primarily formula mixed with fluoridated water are at greater risk of developing fluorosis. This condition doesn't affect dental health, but it can cause small white spots on your baby's teeth that are purely cosmetic. If you're concerned, talk to your baby's doctor or dentist. Always use distilled water.

Mix what you can and use within 24 hours, and toss leftovers

Based on how much formula your baby needs , mix only what you think you'll use in the next 12 hours. Once you've mixed powdered or liquid concentrate formula, refrigerate it immediately. Don't let it cool outside the refrigerator first, and use it within 12 hours. Follow the storage directions on the can of liquid formula once you open it. Some companies recommend covering the can and using the remaining formula within 12 hours, but others suggest using it within 24 hours. If your baby doesn't finish a bottle of formula within one hour, toss out the remainder. Bacteria from his mouth can seep into the bottle, contaminate the formula, and make your baby sick if he drinks it later. Tip: To prevent waste and save time, mix a large batch of formula in the morning and divide it into bottles of 3 or 4 ounces that you can refrigerate and use throughout the day.

Keep it cool

Room temperature is the perfect climate for breeding germs in milk, so feed warmed formula to your baby right away. Don't heat it up ahead of time, and toss any formula that has been sitting at room temperature for an hour or more. If you're taking your baby's bottle "to go," store it in an insulated lunch pack, ideally with an ice pack. If it's not possible to keep formula cool, try bringing along a ready-to-use brand.

Learn the symptoms of food-borne illness

The most common symptoms of a food borne illness are vomiting and diarrhea . If you notice these symptoms, call your baby's doctor right away. Food-borne illnesses can be very serious, particularly in babies, leading to dehydration , kidney damage, and even death. Report problems immediately Occasionally infant formula is recalled because of potential contamination, so it's a good idea to keep up with breaking news and product recalls .

Last not least

Never use a microwave oven to warm up infant formula!

Feeding infants


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