How to Make a Bottle for Baby

Close up of mother preparing baby formula
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Baby is hungry, which might mean it's time to make a bottle. Never prepped a bottle before? No worries! Here's how to make a bottle for baby.

Baby formula is used for feeding infants under one year of age. Breastmilk is the best choice, of course, but if that isn't possible, parents need a safe substitute. A formula can meet your baby's nutritional needs, as long as it is prepared properly.

The first step in making a bottle using any kind of baby formula is to wash your hands.

Just like any other food preparation, you should avoid contaminating baby's food with germs and dirt. You should also make sure the bottle, nipple, and any other parts are cleaned by washing and possibly sterilizing if needed.

It's also a good idea to check the instructions on any type of formula to make sure you're using it correctly. Some kinds of formula can look very similar to other types but have totally different instructions. One example is concentrated liquid formula and ready-to-feed liquid formula. The first must be mixed with water in order to be safe for baby, while the second would be too diluted if water was added. However, they can look almost alike when you put them in a bottle.

Powdered Baby Formula

  1. Read the directions on the formula can. Formula concentrations can vary by brand, so always check to be sure you're adding the right amount of formula powder to the water.
  2. If you're opening a new can of baby formula, wipe the lid with a wet cloth to remove dust and dirt before opening. Be careful of sharp edges on the metal lid and can.
  1. Turn on cold water at the sink and let it run for 30 seconds to one minute before preparing baby formula. This is said to reduce the possibility of lead or other contaminants in the water.
  2. If you have been instructed to boil water before preparing formula, be sure to bring the water to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. You should not boil the water more than once, as this can change the concentration of minerals in the water.
  1. Fill a clean baby bottle with cold water. If you have boiled the water, let it cool before pouring it into the baby bottle. Measure the water carefully before adding any formula powder. Do not add formula powder first, as the powder in the bottom of the bottle will mess up the measurement of the water.
  2. Add the correct amount of formula powder to the bottle of water. Generally, one level scoop of powdered formula should be mixed per two ounces of water. However, this can vary by brand, so double check the directions on the formula can. Remember to replace the lid on the can of powdered formula.
  3. Put the lid on the baby bottle and swirl it gently until the powder formula clumps are well mixed into the water. Swirling is better than shaking, as shaking can create a lot of air bubbles that your baby may ingest, which can lead to painful gas.
  4. Warming the bottle is not required. If your baby prefers warm formula, you can place the bottle in a bottle warmer. You could also heat the bottle by placing it in a pan of hot, but not boiling, water for a few minutes, or hold the bottle under the hot water tap for a few minutes. Never heat baby formula in the microwave. Microwaving can result in hot spots that can severely burn a baby's mouth.
  1. Swirl the bottle after heating it, then turn the bottle upside down and let a few drops fall out on your forearm. The baby formula should feel warm on your arm, but not hot.
  2. When you are done feeding your baby, throw away leftover formula from the bottle. Bacteria from the baby's mouth is mixed with the formula during feeding. It's not safe to re-use leftover formula, even if it is refrigerated and reheated.
  3. If you'll be making several bottles of powdered formula each day, you could consider an automatic bottle maker. The Born Free Bottle Genius is one great model to try.

Concentrated Liquid Formula

  1. Shake the container of formula concentrate to be sure it's mixed up.
  2. Check the instructions to see how much concentrate to add to the bottle.
  3. Pour the concentrated formula into a clean bottle.
  4. Add the correct amount of water per the instructions. Do not add extra water as this could dilute the formula and reduce the nutrition baby receives.
  1. Put the lid on the bottle and swirl to mix.
  2. Heat the formula if necessary and swirl to reduce the possibility of hot-spots.
  3. Discard leftover formula from the bottle after baby is done eating.
  4. Store any open but unmixed formula concentrate according to the instructions, usually in the refrigerator.

Ready-to-Feed Formula

  1. Shake the container to mix the formula. If the formula is for colic or sensitive stomachs, swirl the container instead to avoid creating bubbles.
  2. Pour the correct amount of formula into a clean bottle.
  3. Warm the formula if necessary and swirl to distribute heat.
  4. Discard leftover formula from the bottle when baby is finished eating.
  5. Refrigerate any open containers of ready-to-feed formula or pre-filled bottles until it's time to use them. Check the instructions to see how long they can safely be stored once opened.