Pre-preparing formula and storing it in the fridge can be a great time saver, and time is precious when you've added the care of a baby to your life. However, baby formula must be prepared safely and according to the manufacturer's instructions to ensure your baby doesn't get sick.

Storing unmixed formula

It’s best practice to keep baby formula in the container you bought it in. This reduces the risk of cross-contamination with food residue and bacteria. Store all baby formula containers according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which will usually indicate a cool and dark dry place.

Hygiene and preparing water

The manufacturer will specify instructions for preparing formula, but you should always consider the following steps before preparation:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap.
  • Ensure the area that you’re using to prepare the formula is clean and clear.
  • Tap water can be boiled in a kettle and left to cool covered for 30 or so minutes.
  • Test the water using a sterile thermometer or with a few drops on the inside of your wrist. If it’s comfortable and doesn’t sting, it’s okay to use.

Mixing formula

Follow the measurements specified by the manufacturer to get the quantity your baby prefers. Because your baby’s stomach and appetite are constantly growing, it’s always best to over-cater than under-cater.

Follow precisely any directions the manufacture specifies regarding mixing, swirling or shaking the formula.

Feeding and storing formula

  • Use formula within an hour of mixing.
  • If formula is left at room temperature, you must discard it after one hour.
  • Although formula is safest if used immediately, you can store formula in the fridge for up to 24 hours after mixing. Opt for the back and centre of the fridge.
  • If your baby prefers warm formula, never use the microwave.
  • You can heat formula up within its container or bottle by placing it in a bowl or a saucepan of warm water with the heat turned off. You can also buy bottle warmers for this purpose.
  • After heating, swirl the formula to distribute the heat and liquid evenly.
  • Don’t reuse mixed formula that your baby has fed from.
  • Parents and caregivers who are sick should avoid preparing formula.