Mixing infant formulas safely

by | Feb 8, 2016 | Birth to 6 months, Bottle feeding, News

I had promised I would write something about formula mixing, which seems so easy, I often get asked…”and can I use mineral water” and “do I need to sterilize the bottle after 1 year of age”? So I do think there are still questions to be answered.

I am going to start with the basics, which to make sure your hands are clean. In addition to that it is important to read the instructions on the tin on how to mix the formulas as there may be some differences between formulas. I know, this seems logical, but the amount of times I have had parents telling me, they add extra water because it makes the bottle last longer at night or they add and extra scoop here and there because they think their baby needs more. Diluting and concentration should ONLY occur under guidance by a healthcare professional to establish if this is safe to do and required. So as a rule of thumb, in the UK you mix 1 scoop per 30 m/1 oz water for formulas. This does not mean you “tap” or “scrape”  the scoop against the tin to level it off,  but do this with a dry flat knife. The feeding equipment needs to be sterilized and you do this until your baby is 1 year of age. Bottles that are not properly cleaned can lead to thrush or diarrhoea and/or vomiting because of bug contamination. Official guidance can be found here.

There seems to be also confusion about the temperature of the water for mixing feeds. Currently the guidelines indicate for tap water to be used, which is then boiled, left to cool for no more than 30 min, so that the temperature is around 70C when the powder is added. It does sometimes happen that you do not have a safe tap water supply when you are traveling or taking a long haul flight. If you  do use bottled water, then it is important to check the label to make sure the water contains:

•less than 200 milligrams (mg) a litre of sodium (also written as Na)
•no more than 250mg a litre of sulphate (also written as SO or SO4)

In future I will write more about  specialist formulas, like those suitable for children with food allergies, as these are different to standard formulas.