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Bottle-Feeding FAQs

What Are The Important Things To Remember When Making Up Feeds?

Bottle-feeding depends on having a safe water supply, clean surroundings and arrangements for sterilising & storing feeding equipment.

What Kind Of Water Should I Use To Make Up Formula Feeds?

Tap water is the preferred type of water to use. This should be boiled and cooled before adding the formula. If bottled water is to be used it still needs boiling before use.

Sparkling mineral or soda water should not be used.

How Long Can A Feed Be Kept Once The Baby Has Started To Feed From It?

If your baby has been drinking from a bottle, discard any unfinished milk after 1 hour.

How Long Can I Keep A Feed For Once I Have Made It?

A freshly made feed can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Any unused feeds should be discarded after this time.

For more, see Storing Formula.

How Do I Warm Up A Bottle Of Formula?

Standing the bottle in warm water is the best way to warm up the formula. Don’t heat it for longer than 10 minutes as bacteria can grow causing potential illness for your baby or the formula may become too hot for them to drink. A bottle warmer can also be used.

It is not recommended to use a microwave. This can heat unevenly and lead to your baby’s mouth getting burnt.

For more, see How to Prepare a Bottle.

How Do I Prepare Formula When I’m Out And About?

The safest way is to prepare formula when you are out, is to take the prepared water (water that has been boiled for 5 minutes and then allowed to cool) in a sterilised bottle and the formula powder in a separate sterilised container, then mix together when needed.

If you need to take prepared formula out with you, keep the made up bottle in the fridge until just before you leave. Transport in a cool bag with ice packs to ensure that it is kept cold and make sure the feed is used or placed in the fridge within 2 hours. Reheat the feed at your destination or give it to them cold if there is no way of warming it when you are out.

For more advice on preparing your baby’s feed, speak to your healthcare professional or contact the Careline on 1800 552 229.

How much formula does a baby need?

There is no set amount of formula feeds a baby needs, but there are some loose indicators:

  • Newborn babies generally feed 6-8 times every 24 hours.
  • Formula tins have information on how much to make up in a bottle depending on age, but this is just a guide.
  • Pay attention to your baby’s unique signs of hunger and fullness. This could include sucking noises, stopping sucking, and turning towards or away from the bottle.


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