Preparing Your Baby’s Bottle

Cleanliness first.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • If you’re using liquid infant formula, clean the can lid and shake the can well before opening.


Your baby’s health depends on carefully following the label instructions:

  • Ask your baby’s doctor about the need to use cooled, boiled water for mixing.
  • Ask your baby’s doctor about the need to boil clean utensils, bottles, and nipples in water before use.
  • Wash and dry hands/work area thoroughly.
  • Make sure the container is undamaged, and check the appearance of the formula.
  • Do not use the microwave to warm formula; serious burns may result.

Proper hygiene, preparation, dilution, use and storage are important when preparing infant formula. Powdered infant formulas are not sterile and should not be fed to premature infants or infants who might have immune problems unless directed and supervised by your baby’s doctor. If product is being tube-fed, check with your baby’s doctor for tube-feeding instructions.

The instructions below are for bottle feedings.Failure to follow these instructions could result in severe harm to your baby. For ingredient and nutrient information about the formula you are feeding, please refer to the can label.

  • Do not add water to ready-to-use formula.

Warming advice.

  • To warm a bottle, put it in a pan of warm water for no longer than 15 minutes, or hold it under warm tap water.
  • Never use a microwave to warm a bottle.
  • After warming, feed immediately and throw out the leftovers within one hour of the time you took it out of the fridge.

Planning ahead (but not too far).

  • Prepare a few bottles ahead of time—not more than 24 hours ahead for formula from powder, and not more than 48 hours ahead for formula from concentrate or ready-to-use forms.

Storage Instructions for Prepared Formula

Situation Instructions
Refrigeration Prepared from Power

  • Store at 35-40°F (2-4°C) no longer than 24 hours

Prepared from Concentrate or Ready-to-Use

  • Store at 35-40°F (2-4°C) no longer than 48 hours
Room Temperature Prepared from Powder, Concentrate or Ready-to-Use

  • Keep no longer than a total of 2 hours
  • If bottle is warmed, discard after 1 hour
After Feeding Begins Prepared from Powder, Concentrate or Ready-To-Use

  • Feed within 1 hour or discard
  • Do not refrigerate for later feedings

Keep it up to date.

  • Check the container for the formula’s expiration date. Always use formula by the use by date. Also check information about storing opened and unopened containers. Discard any prepared bottles or opened containers of liquid formula that are unrefrigerated for more than a total of two hours.
  • Discard any formula that’s left in the bottle within one hour after feeding begins.

Finding the Expiration Date

Infant Formula Cans

The expiration date is on the top or the bottom of the formula can. The type is embossed (raised).

Infant Formula Nursette BottlesThe expiration date is on the side of the label.Read Some Formula-Feeding FAQs