Formula feeding

Sometimes, for various reasons, mothers use formula rather than breastfeeding.

The emotional health of the mother is also important and mothers should not feel guilty if they have been unable to breastfeed. Formula feed is man-made milk that is designed for babies and can be used as an alternative to breastfeeding. Formula feeding is perfectly safe, but you must ensure you take care every time you make a bottle.

Make up a bottle safely

It’s really important to carefully clean everything you use to bottle-feed, and to sterilise everything to kill germs that can make your baby very sick. Wash and sterilise the bottle and teat, using a steam steriliser or sterilising solution. After this, use the milk powder to make the feed.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Fill the kettle with fresh tap water and boil it.
  • Let it cool down but not for more than 30 minutes (it needs to be at least 70°C to kill germs).
  • Put the water in the bottle.
  • Add the milk powder with the scoop.
  • Put the cap on the bottle and shake it to dissolve the milk.
  • Test if it’s too hot by dripping a little milk onto the inside of your wrist – it should feel just warm, not hot.
  •  If it’s too hot, run the bottle under cold water and test it again.
  • Only make one bottle at a time. The advice today is to make a bottle fresh for each feed.

The how-to of bottlefeeding

When your baby shows you they're hungry, make up the bottle safely. Sit comfortably with your back supported, and hold them in your arms. Your baby may feed a bit, fall asleep and wake up for more. Keep the teat full of milk so they don’t take in lots of air. When your baby is finished you can gently burp them – hold baby upright and rub or pat their back to bring up any wind.

Did you know?

Germs may start to grow in the milk if it’s not used right away. To be safe, store it in the fridge and re-heat it gently, but throw it away if it’s still unused after two hours. Don’t try to make your baby finish the bottle if he’s had enough.

You and your baby after the birth

  • A breast pump.


    Expressing milk is a way of extracting milk from the breast, and this can be done by hand or by using a pump.

  • Yawning baby.

    Coping with sleepless nights

    It’s really hard to stay cheerful if you’re being woken up every couple of hours every night. Try to remember that it won’t last too long.

  • Mum playing with baby.

    You and your baby

    Imagine what it’s like for your baby, doing everything for the first time.

  • 'FAQ' written in pink chalk on black board.

    Formula feeding FAQs

    Your questions about formula feeding answered.

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