Bottle feeding and sterilising feeding equipment safely
This information is full of useful advice on how to bottle feed your baby, what you'll need to keep evrything perfectly clean and safe for your little one.
Breastfeeding is best for baby - is at all possible breastfeed for the first 6 months. You can find out more within our breastfeeding advisory card or from your midwife or health visitor.
- Bottles (standard or wide neck).
- Appropriate teat flow for your baby.
- Bottle and teat brush.
- Expressed breast milk/formula milk powder (or ready-to-use cartons).
- Sterliser (steam, microwave or cold water).
- Milk powder dispenser.
- Bibs nd muslin cloths.
- You may require faster flowing teats and possibly different bottles e.g. anti-colic as your baby grows and develops.
- Bottle bag.
- Whether you're using expressed breast milk or formula, careful and thorough washing and sterilising is essential.
- Use a bottle and teat brush to help you clean all te equipment thoroughly before you put it in the sterlising unit.
- Always wash your hands before you take any items out of the steriliser.
- When using sterilising units, read the instructions carefully and practise using the unit before you actually need to use it.
- Always wash your hands before making up a feed.
- Carefully follow the formula milk manufacturer's instructions.
- Powdered formula comes in a tin or box and is not sterile. To make up formula milk safely, feeds should be made up with water at 70°C (i.e. using the water within 30 mins of boiling) to kill any potential bacteria.
- Make up a feed when you need it. It is now not safe to make up a batch of bottles to store in the fridge.
- Always add the recently boiled water to the bottle first and then add the powdered milk to the water - the right number of scoops of formula powder will depend on your baby's age.
- Place the cap on the bottle and then shake from side to side to mix the powder and water together.
- Cool the feed down by placing the bottle in a jug of cold water. Always shake the bottleand check the temperature (with a few drops on the back of your wrist) before feeding your baby.
- If your baby is unwell or premature, follow all these instructions and maybe consider using ready-make formula milk for the first few months (as it's already sterile).
- Throw away any unused milk - whether breast or formula, it's not safe to reheat or use it later as it is the perfect bredding ground for bacteria.
- Feeding your baby - whether by bottle or breast - is a perfect time to communicate with your baby by smiling, making eye contact, stroking your baby's face and giving your baby your full attention.
- Bottle and teat care - always replace any damaged, cracked bottles or teats straight away.
- Health Visitors and Dietitians recommended that babies stop using a bottle and change to a beaker or cup before 12 months.
- Remember to keep everything clean and sterlised for the first year.
- Giving baby a feed is a great chance for Dad or grandparents to bond with your baby.