While a father’s role in baby feeding is limited by virtue of biology, if your baby is formula fed, it’s likely you will be handed a bottle and told to take over. You may even want to impress and prep the bottle.
There are some important do’s, don’ts and things to remember. Daddy’s Digest has curated a simple outline to help dads take the lead.
The step-by-step guide (adapted) below has been recommended by the National Health Service, UK.
Things to remember:
- Good hygiene is important. Pay close attention to your own hygiene and make sure all equipment is sterilized properly. This is key in preventing infections.
- Every formula manufacturer has different preparation instructions. Read, re-read and follow them to the T.
- Do not add extra formula when preparing a feed. Too much formula can make your baby constipated and too little will reduce your baby’s calorie intake.
- Do not add anything extra to the formula (sugar, cereals, rice etc.).
- Don’t nuke it. Microwaving formula will unevenly heat the feed and leave hot spots that may burn your baby’s mouth.
- Despite being sealed, tins and packets of formula may contain bacteria, which can multiply at room temperature. To reduce the risk of infection, prepare feeds as and when your baby needs them.
- Use only freshly boiled drinking water.
- All bottles are different and come with different bottle parts and configurations. Make sure to read the instructions provided by the bottle manufacturer to ensure that you are using the equipment correctly.
A simple step-by-step guide to preparing formula:
- Step 1: Fill the kettle with at least 1 liter of fresh water. Do not use water that has been previously boiled.
- Step 2: Boil the water. Then leave the water to cool for no more than 30 minutes, so that it remains at a temperature of at least 70 degrees Celsius.
- Step 3: Clean and disinfect the surface you are going to use.
- Step 4: Wash your hands. This is important.
- Step 5: If you are using a cold-water sterilizer, shake off any excess solution from the bottle and the teat, or rinse them with cooled boiled water from the kettle. Do not use tap water.
- Step 6: Stand the bottle on the cleaned, disinfected surface.
- Step 7: Follow the manufacturer's instructions and pour the amount of water you need into the bottle. Double check that the water level is correct. Always put the water in the bottle first, while it is still hot, before adding the powdered formula.
- Step 8: Loosely fill the scoop with formula powder, according to the manufacturer’s instructions and level it off using the flat edge of a clean, dry knife or the leveler provided. Different tins of formula come with different scoops. Make sure to only use the scoop provided in the formula tin.
- Step 9: Holding the edge of the teat, put it on the bottle. Then screw the retaining ring onto the bottle.
- Step 10: Cover the teat with the cap and shake the bottle until the powder is dissolved.
- Step 11: It's important to cool the formula so it's not too hot to drink. Do this by holding the bottle (with the lid on) under cold running water.
- Step 12: Test the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before giving it to your baby. It should be body temperature, which means it should feel warm or cool, but not hot.
- Step 13: If there is any made-up formula left after a feed, throw it away.
It is important to use this information as a guide only and seek the informed opinion of a childcare expert or qualified medical professional when in doubt.
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