Safe Food Preparation
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life with continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond. Feeding your baby iron-fortified infant formula is one option if you are not breastfeeding. If you have questions and want to make an informed decision about feeding your baby, call and ask to speak with a Public Health Nurse.
Learn how to safely prepare infant formula by following the guidelines below.
Sterilization of Items:
In a large pot, boil water needed to make formula.
Boil water for two minutes and then let cool to room temperature.
CAUTION: Do not boil water for more than two minutes to avoid problems
with high concentrations of some minerals which could harm your baby.
Wash bottles, nipples, caps, tongs, can opener, measuring cup,
stirring spoons or wire whisk, in hot soapy water. Use a nipple
brush to ensure that the nipple holes are not clogged.
Place all cleaned items in a deep pot of water and boil for
two minutes to sterilize. Use the boiled tongs to remove items
and allow to dry on a clean towel.
Mixing the Formula:
Wash the entire top of formula can (including under the outside
rim) with hot water and soap. For powdered formula, open the can
and place the plastic lid on a clean surface.
Prepare the formula as follows:
READY TO FEED LIQUID: Shake can well. Open and pour into
sterilized bottles. Do NOT add water.
CONCENTRATED LIQUID: Shake can well. Open and mix EQUAL
amounts of formula and boiled, cooled water into a measuring
cup. Pour into sterilized bottles.
POWDERED FORMULA: For information on how to prepare powdered
infant formula, see the following Health Canada guidelines
Using the sterilized tongs and never your fingers, place
a nipple on each bottle, cover with a ring and put on a cap.
Once the nipple is covered, tighten the ring to seal the bottle.
Storing the Formula:
Refrigerate all bottles according to the formula directions.
Use the formula within 24 hours.
Always store bottles with an ice pack when travelling. Once you’ve
started feeding your child, the bottle should be used within two hours.
- ALWAYS test formula temperature by letting a drop fall on your forearm before each feeding. It should be warm or at least room temperature and not hot to touch.
- Never use a microwave to warm formula, it is dangerous and can cause serious burns due to hot spots.
- Re-heat formula by placing the bottle in a bottle warmer or hot water for no more then 15 minutes, until it is between room and body temperature. Shake well and turn it upside down before offering it to the baby to ensure that milk doesn’t spray out and that the nipple hole isn’t too large. It should just drip out, very slowly. If it doesn’t drip out, then replace that nipple.
- Never use homemade formula or cow’s milk as it doesn’t contain the correct amounts of nutrients and may actually be harmful.
- Switching formulas can be hard on your baby’s stomach and can cause feeding problems later on. Always consult your health-care professional before switching formula.
- Never save a bottle that has already been in baby’s mouth for the next feeding. After the baby’s saliva touches the nipple, it should not be used again until it’s clean.
- Make smaller bottles to avoid waste, or make a few with just one ounce each to offer if baby is still hungry after his regular bottle.
- Never prop a bottle because it can cause choking and also lead to tooth decay. Hold and talk to your baby during feeding times and make it a special time for both parent and baby.
- Never freeze formula to use later.
Do NOT use these types of water to make formula:
- Softened tap water – too high in sodium
- Water from barrels that are connected to eaves troughs – have bacterial contamination
- Filtered tap water – may add silver and bacteria to water
- Mineral water – high in sodium and other minerals
- Distilled water – has no mineral content
- Carbonated water – carbonation and flavours are not appropriate for infants
- Soda water – carbonation is not appropriate for infants, also high in sodium
Adapted with permission from:
Brant County Health Unit, Formula Feeding, N-329-91
Yellowknife Health and Social Services Authority,
Learning to Bottlefeed, August 2001
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, January 2004
Satter, Ellyn. Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense.
Palo Alto, California: Bull Publishing Company, 2000.
For more information:
Region of Peel—Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216
To speak with a Public Health Nurse