Making Up Bottles For Your Formula-Fed Baby: Single Bottles or Batch Make?

formula-fed babies

beeki / Pixabay

Guidelines for pregnancy and babies change all the time. At one point in time it was safer to put babies on their front to sleep and now it has been found that laying them on their backs is better to prevent cot death/SIDS.

So, it made sense for my husband and I to research the guidelines for formula feeding our second daughter born last month. It seemed things had certainly changed in the last few years. With our first, we made up feeds for the day and stored them in the fridge but this time the midwife when leaving the hospital told us it wasn’t the way to do things; each feed would have to be made up as and when required.

Protecting Babies from Bacteria

Babies’ immune systems aren’t as strong as ours. They are still developing and babies under two months in the UK haven’t had any vaccinations. They only have immunities passed on by their mothers, and those are only temporary.

Powdered formula has bacteria in it, so following guidelines is important. Making up the feeds as stated will help to kill off the bacteria and protect delicate little stomachs.

I get this, but there’s one problem. Making up every single feed, waiting for water to cool and not batch making bottles isn’t practical in the real world. It’s fine during the day when we’re at home, but what about at night when we wake up to a crying baby because she’s hungry? Okay, five or 10 minutes of crying isn’t going to do her that much harm and we can console her while we wait for bottles to cool after being made up.

But what about when we’re travelling? At the end of the month, we’re going to a family wedding. What are we supposed to do when we’ll be on the road for eight hours or more? What about when we’re at a venue that may not have a kettle to hand?

Batch Making Bottles Safely

It did lead to me researching bottle making guidelines online. When I do my research online, I always check the website that I’m reading from; especially when it comes to medical advice for any of us. The only sites I trust are those run by health organizations or trusted baby websites; and I don’t read forums!

I’ve read BabyCenter.co.uk and the NHS website and both seem to say the same thing. Batch making is a possibility, but there are strict guidelines to follow. Looking through them, it looks like some things haven’t changed that much after all.

Batches need to be made according to the instructions on the formula. For my formula—and I use Cow & Gate—that means making them up with cooled boiled water. The water should not have been left standing for longer than 30 minutes. Putting the formula into hot water kills off the bacteria. The water should have been placed in sterilised bottles, which isn’t a problem as I do four at a time in my microwaveable steriliser.

The made up bottles then need to be placed in the fridge, and they need to be consumed within 24 hours. That means I can make up six at the start of the day and that will see me through until the next morning. I tend to make them before going to bed, though, so I’m not rushing around first thing trying to handle bottles, breakfast and getting my elder daughter ready for nursery.

Make Bottles in Advance Without a Fridge

Making a batch of bottles without a fridge isn’t possible. When left at room temperature, the formula needs to be consumed within two hours. If kept cool in a cool box then it needs to be

making up bottles

beeki / Pixabay

consumed within four hours. Really, keeping one bottle cool in a box is fine if you’re travelling and know that the feed will be taken within four hours.

When travelling, there is the possibility of using a flask to store boiled water. The bottles can be made up on demand then, and the water should last for a number of hours; long enough to travel.

That will be fine for the drive, but I then had the question of while away. I won’t have access to a fridge, so what’s the safest way to batch make my bottles for a formula-fed baby?

The honest answer is there isn’t an option. Luckily, the hotel we’re staying in is where the wedding is held, so I’ll be able to go up to the room to make bottles. But I’m thinking of something else…

Using the Pre-Made Formula

Powdered formula is no longer a must. There is now the option of buying the pre-made liquid formula. This is something we used the first few days of our daughter’s life once we were home from the hospital (we’d got it for the hospital, only to find out that the midwives had their own that they wanted us to use).

These pre-made options are great. You just pour into a sterilised bottle and you’re good to go. You can warm up if wanted, but they can be drank from room temperature.

I’ll be taking these with me to use in the hotel for the wedding later this month. It will mean little risk of bacteria (there’s no method to get rid of all risk), and I don’t have to keep going up and down to hotel rooms.

If you’ve been wondering about making up bottles for your formula-fed baby, I hope this helps. Finding this information has certainly helped me. Not only will things be less time consuming but I know how to keep my baby’s little tummy safe from harm.

Please note that all information is taken from research online and is not medical/feeding advice. This is information I’m using to make the best decision for my child. It is also based on UK sites for UK formula.


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