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Bottle-Feeding - Promoting Healthy Growth and Development

Buying formula and supplies

Try to buy your formula and supplies before the baby is born. You can buy infant formula as a liquid concentrate or a powder that you mix with water. Formulas also come in a ready-to-feed form, which costs the most. Always use an iron-fortified formula unless your doctor advises otherwise. If you have questions about which infant formula is right for your baby, talk with your doctor.

When you buy baby bottles and nipples, make sure you have a supply of small bottles [about 4 fl oz (120 mL)] for your baby's first few weeks. You may want to buy a variety of different bottle nipples so you can experiment to see which type your baby prefers.

Preparing infant formula

Some things to keep in mind when you prepare infant formula:

  • Powder formula may contain some bacteria. Make sure you have clean, safe water to prepare infant formula. Until your baby is 4 months old, boil the water—even bottled water—for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it cool before you mix it with the formula. You may want to check with your local water supplier about your water's fluoride level.
  • Wash your hands before you prepare formula. And make sure the equipment you use, including the mixer and the top of a can of powder, are clean.
  • Add the required amount of water to mix the formula. If you add too little water, it can upset your baby's stomach and may harm his or her kidneys. If you add too much water, your baby will not get the nutrition he or she needs.
  • Cover the prepared formula and store it in a refrigerator. It should be used within 24 hours.
  • Soak dirty baby bottles in water and dish detergent. Wash bottles and nipples in the upper rack of the dishwasher or hand-wash them in hot water with dish detergent. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to sterilize the equipment you use for formula preparation and feeding.
  • In some cases, doctors recommend adding a thickening agent to a baby's formula. Before you use one, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. If you have any trouble feeding your baby, talk to your doctor or nurse.
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