How to prepare a bottle to use later

You want to prepare a bottle to use later? Here are your best three options on how to do it safely.
The safest way of preparing each and every formula bottle is to make it fresh when your baby needs it using sterile bottles. This is not always possible or practical, particularly if you are out for the day or leaving your baby in a care setting such as a childminder or nursery. The following guidance will help you to prepare your baby’s bottles in the safest way possible when you either need to transport a made up feed or are out/leaving your baby for a long period of the day and it is not possible for the feeds to be freshly made.

Use a carton of ready prepared milk:


If you are out for a long period of time and know your baby will be due a feed, assembling a newly sterilised, empty bottle with the teat and lid on and taking it out with you is the easiest and safest thing to do (the cartons are sterile)- Simply pour the milk carton into the bottle and it is ready. I realise that this could be an expensive way of bottle feeding, particularly if you are a busy parent and often out of the house, there are two other options:

Use a thermal flask:

If you are out and have no access to a kettle It is possible to make up a formula feed using your baby’s usual powdered milk. You will need to take the following items out with you:

  • Your baby’s empty bottle (fully assembled with teat and lid on and recently sterilised),
  • A sterilised storage container with the correct amount of infant formula powder in and
  • A sealed thermal flask containing freshly boiled tap water.
  • You can then prepare your baby’s bottle in the usual way when your baby needs it using the hot water from the thermal flask. Take extra care when preparing your feeds in this way as you are more likely to be within close vicinity of your baby. A good thermos flask should keep the water hot for several hours, bear in mind that it is recommended that the water should be at least 70 degrees celcius. Ensure the water has cooled to an appropiate feeding temperature before giving to your baby. You can test this by pouring a tiny amount on to the inside of your wrist.

    Prepare your baby’s bottle in the morning before you leave the house:

    If you or the person caring for your child are unable to prepare the feed in one of the above two ways when out and about, then the other option is to prepare you baby’s bottle in the usual way and to transport it. There are a few things you will need to know before doing this as there is an increased risk of bacterial growth when storing prepared formula feeds:

  • The bottle should be prepared in the usual way in the morning of the day you are transporting it, not the night before. (Preferably 1.5 hours before you are due to leave).
  • There is no need to cool the made up formula milk by running it under a cold tap.
  • It should immediately be placed at the back of your fridge for atleast one hour (never in the door).
  • The fridge must be a maximum temperature of 5 degrees delcius. You may want to invest in a fridge thermometer as the frequent opening of a fridge can affect its temperature. (If this is the case, select a lower temperature setting on your fridge).
  • Remove the prepared bottle of milk from the fridge only when you are ready to leave the house and immediately place it into a cool bag containing a frozen ice brick.
  • The feed will need to be consumed within the next 4 hours.
  • You can heat up your baby’s transported bottle by using either a bottle warmer or by placing in a bowl of warm water. Always shake it well.
  • The feed should never be left to warm for longer than 15 minutes and you should never use a microwave to reheat it.
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