4605 - Infant Formula Preparation - Powdered

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services



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

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 - Wash your hands and clean the countertops 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.

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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 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.


Let your baby take breaks from drinking when he or she seems to want them.

Watch your baby for signs that he or she is full, and then stop feeding, even if the bottle is not empty.

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 bottle.
  • 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 decay.
  • 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.

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IDHS 4605 (R-05-23) Infant Formula Preparation - Powdered

Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois P.O. #24-0024 50,000 Copies