Breastfeeding is best for your baby. As breast milk especially tailors to meet all of your baby’s growing nutritional needs. Breast milk also contains key compounds that can help protect your baby against infections and illnesses. The Department of Health recommend that we breastfeed, exclusively, for six months. However, if you cannot, or choose not to breastfeed, infant formula is the next best available option. It’s a good idea, before you start to formula feed, to have a chat with your healthcare professional for their advice. Before you start to make up your bottles, there are a number of key things you need to remember. It’s important to make sure that everything, the surface, the equipment that you’re using, is clean and, of course, wash your hands before you start, and dry them with a clean towel.

Now today I have our steriliser here. There are number of different ways of sterilising your equipment, but we’ve used a steam steriliser. It’s very important that the teats, the bottle tops, and the bottles have been sterilised before you use them. When you take your bottle out from the steriliser, it’s important not to touch the teats with your hands, because again, they will no longer be sterile. So use the tongs that comes with the equipment. I put the teat into the collar of the bottle and then we can just put the cap on like this. So this is going to keep the bottle sterile until we need to use it.

Now I’ll explain how to make a standard seven-ounce bottle. Now I have a kettle of boiling water and have let it cool for thirty minutes. So the thirty minutes is going to reduce the temperature of the boiling water to about seventy degrees. At that temperature, the water will still be hot enough to destroy any harmful compounds that may be around, but also not too hot that it’s going to destroy any of the nutritional composition of the infant formula. Pour it up to the seven-ounce mark. That will give you we’ve got seven-ounces of cooled, freshly boiled water. It’s important to empty your kettle and fill it up freshly from the tap each time you’re about to make your bottles.

So we have the freshly boiled water in here and I have my infant formula. Now it’s important to use the scoop that’s provided when you’re making up your bottles. So using your scoop, we just level it off on the side, and if you remember, it’s one scoop, per every fluid ounce of water. You should use seven scoops. It is important not to pack the scoop too tightly. Make sure that you level it off because in that way your baby will receive exactly the right amount of nutrition. It’s also very important that you add the water to the bottle before you add the formula, because otherwise the quantities will not be correct. So put your water in first and then add your formula. So we’ve taken the previously prepared sterile bottle top. We screw that on carefully here, and give it a good shake, just to make sure that all of the powder is dissolved in the cooled, boiled water.

Now it’s important at this stage to cool down the feed, before you feed your infant, because you remember, this is at 70 degrees, which would be too hot for your baby. Now you can cool this bottle down by running it under a cool tap, or by placing it in some cool, cold water, and allow it to stand on the countertop until your baby is ready to have their feed.

Now, again, when you think it’s time for a feeding, make sure that the bottle is cool and is at the correct temperature. The way to do that is just to take the top off there, and just put a little bit onto your wrist. Now, obviously, this is still too hot, because I have just prepared it. But it should feel lukewarm and not too hot, at which stage, it’s perfect to feed your baby. Now, that bottle will keep for two hours and it’s perfectly fine to feed within those two hours. After the two hours, it’s important to discard that bottle and to make up a fresh one. So if you have a baby who’s a slow feeder, after two hours, if they are still feeding, you may need to make up a new bottle at that stage.

So while it is best to make up each bottle freshly as required, you can make up a batch of bottles and store them in the back of the fridge. It’s important not to store them on the fridge door, as the temperature there may vary throughout the day, as the fridge has been opened and closed. So make up each bottle as we’ve explained, using the sterile equipment, and levelling off your scoops, and store them in the back of the fridge. Then when each bottle is taken out, the two hour rule applies. So each bottle, once it has come out from the fridge, needs to be used within two hours. If after 24 hours, you still have some bottles in the fridge, they must be discarded and start again by making up a fresh batch. Always follow the guidelines on the pack when you’re making up bottles. You can see here, there are step-by-step guidelines from washing your hands, freshly boiling your water, right through to having the bottle ready for your baby for their feed time.