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Infant Formula - buying, preparing, storing, and feeding

Follow these tips for safely using infant formula.

Buying, Preparing, and Storing Infant Formula

The following tips can help you buy, prepare, and store infant formula:

  • DO NOT buy or use any formula in a dented, bulging, leaking, or rusty container. It may be unsafe.
  • Store cans of powdered formula in a cool, dry place with a plastic lid on top.
  • DO NOT use outdated formula.
  • Always wash your hands and the top of the formula container before handling. Use a clean cup to measure the water.
  • Make the formula as directed. DO NOT water it down or make it stronger than recommended. This can cause pain, poor growth, or rarely, more severe problems in your baby. DO NOT add sugar to formula.
  • You can make enough formula to last for up to 24 hours.
  • Once the formula is made, store it in the refrigerator in individual bottles or a pitcher with a closed lid. During the first month, your baby may need at least 8 bottles of formula per day.
  • When you first buy bottles, boil them in a covered pan for 5 minutes. After that, you can clean bottles and nipples with soap and warm water. Use a special bottle and nipple brush to get at hard-to-reach places.
Feeding Formula to Baby

Here is a guide to feeding your baby formula:

  • You do not need to warm formula before feeding. You can feed your baby cool or room-temperature formula.
  • If your baby prefers warm formula, warm it slowly by placing it in hot water. DO NOT boil the water and DO NOT use a microwave. Always test the temperature on yourself before feeding your baby.
  • Hold your child close to you and make eye contact while feeding. Hold the bottle so the nipple and the neck of the bottle are always filled with formula. This will help prevent your child from swallowing air.
  • Throw away leftover formula within 1 hour after a feeding. DO NOT keep it and use again.


American Academy of Family Physicians. Infant formula. Familydoctor.org Web site. Updated November 2014. familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/pregnancy-newborns/caring-for-newborns/breastfeeding-formula/infant-formula.html. Accessed July 20, 2017.

American Academy of Pediatrics. Feeding & nutrition. Healthychildren.org Web site. www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed July 20, 2017.


Review Date: 5/14/2017

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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