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How to make a baby bottle

Preparing baby formula

A guide for moms getting started with formula

How to prepare baby formula

Whether you are formula feeding entirely or supplementing your breast milk, formula handling and preparation can be very simple once you understand the basics.

To choose the right formula for your baby, talk with your pediatrician. Once you have made that selection, you will choose the form that works best for you: powder or ready to feed. And as long as you are feeding your baby the same formula, you can combine formula forms — powder for everyday use, for example, and ready to feed for convenience when you are traveling with your baby.


Watered-down formula not recommended for your baby's health

In order for a child to receive appropriate nutrition for normal growth and development, proper formula preparation and feeding are very important. Adding too much water to formula can significantly impact a child's nutrition because it dilutes essential nutrients in the formula. The results can be serious.

Powdered Formula: 1 unpacked level scoop of formula per 2 fl oz of water
Ready to Feed Formula: Do not add water.

Follow these simple rules before you begin:

  • Never feed formula that has expired to your baby, or use formula if the container is dented.
  • Clean the lids of formula cans to remove any dust.
  • When using ready-to-feed, shake formula containers before opening.
  • If formula is in a can, be sure your can opener is clean.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly.

How to prepare powder baby formula

Preparing Similac® powdered formula is simple. You also will find directions on each container.

Your baby's health depends on carefully following these easy directions. Proper hygiene, handling, and storage are important when preparing baby formula. Failure to follow these directions could result in severe harm. Powdered infant formulas are not sterile and should not be fed to premature infants or infants who might have immune problems, unless directed and supervised by your baby's doctor. Consult your baby's doctor about the formula appropriate for your baby; the need to use cooled, boiled water for mixing; and the need to boil utensils, bottles, nipples, and rings in water before use.

Preparing with boiled water

Ask your baby's doctor if you should boil water when preparing formula, and whether or not you need to boil utensils, bottles, nipples, and rings in water before each use. If you choose to boil the water, follow these steps:

  1. Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute, and then turn off the heat. Excessive boiling can increase the concentration of impurities.
  2. Let the water cool to room temperature before adding to formula. Making formula with boiling water can cause clumping and decrease the nutritional value.
  3. Once mixed, sprinkle a few drops on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is not too hot.

Note: Bottled or filtered water is not a suitable replacement for water that has been boiled, but it might be a better alternative to tap water in some areas. If you are concerned about lead or other harmful substances in your water, talk to your health care professional before making formula with tap water.

How to mix formula

For proper mixing, follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  2. Measure and pour desired amount of water into a bottle.
  3. Add unpacked, level scoop(s) of powder as directed to the bottle. Return dry scoop to can.
  4. Put the cap on the bottle and shake. (Tip: Moving your wrist in a twisting motion helps powder formula mix more quickly and more thoroughly.)
  5. Feed or store immediately in refrigerator.

Larger-size mixing instructions

To make a larger amount* of formula using standard measuring cups, follow these steps: 
*Yields approximately 26 fl oz of prepared formula.

  1. Measure 23 fl oz water using a liquid measuring cup.
    Liquid Measuring Cup Example
  2. Add 1 cup (100 gm**) of powder (unpacked and level, using a household measuring cup for dry ingredients.)
    Dry Measuring Cup Example 
    **For most accurate results, powder should be weighed on a scale that reads in grams.
  3. Add powder to water and mix well.
  4. Pour prepared formula into individual feeding bottles.
  5. Cap and store immediately in refrigerator; feed within 24 hours.

Note: These large mixing instructions should not be used to prepare Similac Expert Care® Alimentum®Similac Expert Care® NeoSure®, or EleCare®.

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Mixing tips for Similac For Spit-Up

Similac For Spit-Up formula contains rice starch. Compared to other Abbott Nutrition powder formulas, Similac For Spit-Up powder mixes a little more slowly with water. This is true of any formula that contains rice starch.

Rice starch is what makes Similac For Spit-Up look more "grainy" than other Similac formulas. This is not a product defect. The rice starch grains are very small, and should not cause any issue with feeding through a nipple.

Try these tips to help prevent clogged nipples:

  • Mix the powder and water, and then wait two minutes.
  • Gently swirl, or agitate, the formula in the bottle before feeding.
  • Use a nipple with a larger hole. This will allow for faster formula flow.
  • For easy preparation, try Similac For Spit-Up Ready To Feed. Just twist off the cap — no powder mixing required — and the formula is ready for your baby.

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Avoid vigorous shaking right before feeding — it can cause air bubbles that can lead to gas in your baby.

How to warm formula

Formula does not need to be warmed. If you choose to feed warmed formula, do not microwave it. It can cause "hot spots" that could burn your baby. Instead, set the filled bottle in a bowl of warm (not boiling) water or hold the bottle under warm tap water. Sprinkle a few drops of formula on the inside of your wrist to make sure it is not too hot.

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How to store formula

Once opened, powder formula containers should be closed and stored in a cool, dry place — not in the refrigerator. Avoid extreme temperatures. Use contents within one month.

Once mixed, feed immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container, and use within 24 hours. See the label for specific instructions.

Do not leave prepared formula at room temperature and do not freeze it, because doing so can cause the protein and fat to separate.

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Reusing baby formula

If your baby does not finish a bottle of formula within one hour, throw it away. Do not save it for later. During a feeding, your baby's saliva can contaminate the formula in the bottle. Once this occurs, reheating or refrigerating will not kill the bacteria.

If you warm the formula and your baby decides not to take it, do not refrigerate it and reheat it again later. Throw it out instead.

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Talk to your doctor before making changes to your baby's nutrition routine.

How to prepare ready-to-feed formula

Preparing Similac® Ready To Feed formula is easy. Shake bottle well before opening, and then just twist off the cap — no powder mixing or measuring — and the formula is ready for your baby.

How to warm formula

Formula does not need to be warmed. If you choose to feed warmed formula, do not microwave it. It can cause "hot spots" that could burn your baby. Instead, set the filled bottle in a bowl of warm (not boiling) water or hold the bottle under warm tap water. Sprinkle a few drops of formula on the inside of your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot.

How to store ready-to-feed formula

For 2-fl-oz nipple-ready bottles and 8-fl-oz nipple-ready bottles:
Store unopened containers at room temperature; avoid extreme temperatures. Do not reuse bottle. Protect from light. Store in carton until ready to use.

For 32-fl-oz bottles:
Once opened, store quart bottle immediately in refrigerator. Once prepared, store bottles immediately in refrigerator and feed to your baby within 48 hours. Store unopened containers at room temperature; avoid extreme temperatures. Do not reuse container.

See the label for specific instructions.

Reusing formula

If your baby does not finish a bottle of formula within one hour, throw it away. Do not save it for later. During a feeding, your baby's saliva can contaminate the formula in the bottle. Once this occurs, reheating or refrigerating will not kill the bacteria.

If you warm the formula, and your baby decides not to take it, do not refrigerate it and reheat it again later. Throw it out instead.

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