Health Library
Formula Preparation

How to Prepare Formula for Your Baby

Here are some basic steps to follow to safely prepare formula for your baby.

Wash and Clean

  • Wash your hands prior to making formula.
  • Always wash the top of the formula can before opening it.
  • Clean or sterilize the bottles and nipples before the first use according to the package directions.
  • Wash all bottle pieces and measuring utensils in hot soapy water before using. Rinse thoroughly and let air dry.

Preparing the Formula

  • Be sure to use the appropriate measuring cups. Cups that measure dry ingredients like powders are different than liquid measuring cups.
  • Check with your healthcare professional or local health department about the need to boil the water you'll use to prepare formula.
  • If water must be boiled, heat water until it reaches a rolling boil, continue for one minute and let it cool thoroughly before using it to mix formula.
  • Follow formula mixing instructions on the can, unless you have been instructed otherwise by a healthcare professional and then mix according to instructions provided to you. Always measure water first and then add the powder.

Formula Storage

  • Keep prepared formula in a clean jug in the refrigerator.
  • Formula doesn't need to be warmed, but if you decide to warm a bottle, hold under running water or place in a cup of hot water for a minute or two. NEVER microwave a bottle as the formula can heat unevenly and burn your baby's mouth.
  • Throw out any unused formula left in a bottle after feeding or which has been unrefrigerated for one hour or more.
  • Throw out any prepared formula not used within 24 hours.

Last Updated 04/2022

Reviewed By Rohan Klare, MS, RD, CSP, LD

Visiting Cincinnati Childrens.

Cincinnati Children’s has primary care services at locations throughout Greater Cincinnati.