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How to Safely Prepare Powdered Infant Formula at Home

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
01/27/15  11:17 PM PST
Prepare Powdered Infant Formula

Safe handling and preparation of powdered infant formula is important to prevent contamination and infection. Follow these tips from the World Health Organization to safely prepare powdered infant formula at home.

  1. Make sure the powdered formula is not expired and that the packaging is intact.
  2. Wash all supplies (cups, spoons, bottle, nipples etc.) in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
  3. If your healthcare professional told you to sterilize supplies: Cover with water in a covered pot and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat and let stand covered. Remove with tongs when you are ready to use them.
  4. Clean the countertop with hot soapy water or antibacterial spray.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  6. Prepare a fresh batch of formula for each feeding whenever possible.
  7. If your healthcare professional told you to sterilize water for formula preparation, bring the water to a boil on the stove or in an electric kettle. Do not use a microwave. Allow the water to cool to no less than 158 °F (70 °C). Bottled/filtered water is not sterile unless specifically stated in the label.
  8. Prepare the formula exactly per the instructions on the container or your healthcare professional.
  9. Shake or mix the formula before feeding.
  10. If making more than one batch at a time, prepare formula in a clean, sterile jar with a lid.
  11. Store cooled formula in the refrigerator at no more than 41 °F (5 °C) for up to 24 hours.
  12. Re-warm refrigerated formula in a container of warm water or in an approved bottle warmer. Do not use a microwave.
  13. Transport prepared formula in a cool bag with ice packs after it has been cooled in the refrigerator.
  14. Use the transported formula within 2 hours.
  15. Powdered formula used for tube feeding should hang in the bag for no longer than 4 hours.

Source: Safe Preparation, Storage and Handling of Powdered Infant Formula Guidelines. World Health Organization, 2007

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