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How to Prepare and Store Powdered Formula (CDC)

June 16, 2023


How to Prepare and Store Powdered Infant Formula

Are you feeding your baby powdered formula?

Follow these steps to prepare and store your infant formula safely.

Step 1: Make sure the formula is not expired and the container is in good condition (no dents, puffy ends, or rust spots).

Step 2: Clean the countertops and wash your hands with soap and warm water before preparing bottles. Use a clean bottle and nipple.

Step 3: Use water from a safe source to mix with formula. Tap water is usually safe, but contact your local health department if you are not sure.

Step 4: Use the exact amount of water and formula listed on the instructions of the infant formula container. Always measure the water first and then add the infant formula powder. NEVER dilute formula by adding extra water. This can make your baby sick.

Step 5: Shake infant formula in the bottle to mix. Do not stir.

Step 6: You do not need to warm infant formula before feeding. If you decide to warm the formula, place the bottle under running warm water or into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Avoid getting water into the bottle or nipple. This could contaminate the prepared formula. Test the temperature of the formula before feeding it to your baby by putting a few drops on the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, not hot.

Never warm infant formula in a microwave. Microwaving creates hot spots, which can burn your baby’s mouth.

Step 7: After feeding, be sure to thoroughly clean the bottle and nipple before the next use.

To learn about cleaning and sanitizing infant feeding items, visit

To learn about infant formula feeding, visit ToddlerNutrition/formula-feeding/index.html

Use Quickly or Store Safely

  • Use prepared infant formula within 1 hour from start of feeding and within 2 hours of preparation.
  • If you are not going to use the prepared infant formula within 2 hours, immediately store the bottle in the refrigerator and use it within 24 hours.
  • Throw out any infant formula that’s left in the bottle after feeding your baby. Do not refrigerate it to save for later. The combination of infant formula and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow.

Tips for Bottle Feeding

  • Watch your baby for signs that he or she is full, and then stop feeding, even if the bottle is not empty.
  • Let your baby take breaks from drinking when he or she seems to want them.
  • Position the bottle at an angle rather than straight up and down so the infant formula only comes out when your baby sucks.


  • Do not use a bottle to feed your baby anything besides infant formula or breast milk.
  • Hold your baby close when you feed him or her a
  • Always hold the bottle for your baby while feeding. Propping the bottle in your baby’s mouth can increase your baby’s risk of choking, ear infections, and tooth
  • Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle. Infant formula can pool around the baby’s teeth and this can cause tooth decay.
  • Do not force your baby to finish the bottle if your baby is showing signs of fullness.

If your baby is younger than 2 months old, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system, you may want to take extra precautions when preparing infant formula.

Visit to learn more.

Original handout courtesy of CDC

The information contained in this handout should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. Original handout included as part of NeoKit: Tools for Assessment and Care of the Newborn.

Inclusion in this handout does not imply an endorsement by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP is not responsible for the content of the resources mentioned in this handout. Web site addresses are as current as  possible but may change at any time.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not review or endorse any modifications made to this handout and in no event shall the AAP be liable for any such changes.

© 2023 American Academy of Pediatrics. All rights reserved.

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