Storing and Re-Warming Bottles

Storing and Re-Warming Bottles
If you are planning on making up bottles in advance it is important to follow guidelines on how to do it safely to avoid making your baby ill.

Storing Bottles of Formula

Although it is possible to refridgerate prepared formula, it is generally safer to make up bottles of feed as needed and use them straight away. This is because prepared feeds provide a habitat where bacteria can grow, especially if kept at room temperature but also if kept in the fridge for a prolonged period.

Sometimes you will have to prepare feeds in advance and in these situations the bottles can be kept in the fridge (at less than 5 degrees Celcius). They should not be refridgerated for more than 12 hours so if they have not been consumed you should throw them away and prepare new ones.

Ready made cartons of formula can be stored in the fridge with the cut corner turned down. They should be used within 24 hours of opening.

Warming Up Formula

Baby feed should never be warmed up in a microwave because uneven heating can lead to some very hot parts which might burn your baby's mouth. Here are some safer ways of doing it:

Bullet Place the bottle with its cap on in a bowl or jug of hot water for about 15 minutes. Don't leave it any longer as bacteria may begin to grow. Take the bottle out of the water and shake it to make sure the temperature is the same throughout.
Bullet You can buy electric bottle warmers which heat up the feed in about five minutes. These are particularly handy when you're out and about.

Test the temperature of the milk by squeezing a few drops onto your wrist. It should feel lukewarm.

Your baby can drink milk at room temperature but if you're doing it that way, you should make up the bottle and use if straight away because feed left at room temperature can gather bacteria.

When You're Out and About

If you are going out you should transport your pre-prepared bottles in a cool bag with ice packs to keep them cold. When needed you should heat them up in the way described above. However, feed won't stay cool enough for more than about two hours, so if you know you're going to be out for a while it's best to take your packets of powder and make up bottles with boiling water cooled to 70 degrees Celcius when your baby needs them.

If you don't have access to boiling water while you're out you can use fresh, safe water at room temperature and consume immediately. Feeds prepared in this way cannot be refridgerated so any left over should be thrown away.

Alternatively, you can buy a vacuum flask which keeps water hot for about four hours. All you need to do then is add the correct amount of powder to the water.

Ready made cartons should also be transported in a cool bag with ice packs.

August 2012

The World Health Organization (WHO) strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and states that babies fed exclusively on breast milk for their first six months will develop most healthily.

Visit our Breastfeeding Section

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