Preparing Powdered Infant Formula

Abrie McCoy, CLC
November 8, 2022

Did you know that powdered infant formula is not sterile? It is advised to boil water when preparing. However, this is not only because of ensuring the water is safe but because bacteria can exist in the powder directly from the manufacturer! Additionally, we run the risk of cross contamination when reaching in for the scoop! By properly preparing powdered infant formula you can reduce risk of illness.

Step 1. Start with a clean surface and clean hands. This helps to avoid cross contamination

Step 2. Boil the appropriate amount of water. You can refer to the powdered formula can for measurements and guidelines. Remember, you are boiling the water- so you may lose some to evaporation. You may want to boil more water than necessary.

Step 3. Determine the amount of powdered infant formula needed. Again, check the can for measurements! The amount will change with each child and their age. 

Step 4. Add boiled water and powdered infant formula to the bottle. The water should be no cooler than 158℉ when mixing. 

Step 5. Mix and shake!

Step 6. Allow the bottle and its contents to cool to a safe feeding temperature. When the powdered infant formula is added, the water cools a bit. However, it will need to be cooled a bit longer. You can do this by waiting it out or running cool water over the bottle. To test the temperature, use the inside of your wrist to drip some of the formula. Once cooled, you can dry the outside of the bottle if needed.

Step 7. Pace feed your baby!

Some things to keep in mind:

  • You should never use a microwave to warm bottles. This can create hot spots which can burn your baby.
  • Never prop a bottle while feeding. The time spent during feeding helps support your baby's development as well as your responsiveness to their cues. 
  • Any formula not consumed within 2 hours of beginning the feed should be disposed of. This way you can avoid bacterial growth.


How to Prepare Formula for Bottle-Feeding at Home. World Health Organization, 2007.