Is there a formula for preparing formula? Well, sort of…
Whether you are formula feeding entirely or supplementing your breast milk, formula preparation and handling can be very simple once you understand the basics.
FIRST, choose the right formula for your baby. Talk with your pediatrician about that.
NEXT, choose the form that works best for you: powder or ready-to-feed. FYI, you can switch between forms of the same formula type—for example, powder for everyday use, and ready-to-feed for convenience when traveling.
FINALLY, read all the information below before making your first bottle, and you should be prepared for any questions that may come up along the way.
Watered-down formula is not recommended for your baby's health
For a child to receive appropriate nutrition, proper formula preparation is important. Adding too much water dilutes essential nutrients, and can significantly impact a child's nutrition. 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 any water.
Follow these simple rules before you begin:
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Never feed expired formula to your baby, or use formula if the container is dented.
- When using ready-to-feed, shake formula containers before opening.
- If formula is in a can, clean the lid of any dust, and be sure your can opener is clean.
How to prepare powdered baby formula
Preparing Similac® powdered formula is simple, but it’s still important to carefully follow the directions—your baby's health depends on it. With all the mixing, storing, warming, and re-using do’s and don’ts, there’s a lot to consider, remember, and monitor. We get it. And we’re here to help.
Of course, if you have questions, always consult your baby's doctor about the appropriate formula for your baby, and its proper preparation.
A reminder: Powdered infant formula is not sterile, so it should not be fed to premature infants or infants with immune problems unless directed and supervised by your baby's doctor.
Preparing formula 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, follow these steps:
- Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute, then turn off the heat. Excessive boiling can increase the concentration of impurities.
- Let the water cool to room temperature before adding to formula. Making formula with boiling water can cause clumping and decrease the nutritional value.
- 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 healthcare professional before making formula with tap water.
How to mix formula
For proper mixing, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Measure and pour desired amount of water into baby bottle.
- Add unpacked, level scoop(s) of powder to the bottle as directed. Return dry scoop to can.
- 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.)
- Feed or store immediately in refrigerator.
Larger-size mixing instructions*
- Measure 23 fl oz water using a liquid measuring cup.
- Add 1 cup (100 gm**) of powder (unpacked and level, using a household measuring cup for dry ingredients).
- Add powder to water and mix well.
- Pour prepared formula into individual feeding bottles.
- Cap and store immediately in refrigerator; feed within 24 hours.
*Yields approximately 26 fl oz of prepared formula.
**For most accurate results, powder should be weighed on a scale that reads in grams.
Mixing tips for Similac® For Spit-Up
Similac For Spit-Up formula contains rice starch. Compared to other Similac powdered formulas, it 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.
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.
†Avoid vigorous shaking right before feeding, which 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. This 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 formula
- Once opened, powder formula should be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
- Do not store unmixed powder in refrigerator.
- Avoid extreme temperatures.
- Use product 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.
- Do not freeze. Doing so can cause the protein and fat to separate.
Reusing baby formula
If your baby starts a bottle of formula but does not finish it within one hour, throw it away. Do not refrigerate it. Do not reheat it. Do not save it for later. Throw it away.
Why? Because during feeding, your baby's saliva can contaminate the formula in the bottle. Once this occurs, reheating or refrigerating will not kill the bacteria.
How to prepare ready-to-feed formula
Preparing Similac® Ready To Feed formula is easy. No mixing. No measuring. Just shake the bottle well before opening, twist off the cap, pour into a baby bottle, and the formula is ready for your baby.
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.