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Expert guidance on baby feeding: Part two

In this part two of three series, Hannah Spiring, Care Group Community Infant Feeding coordinator, discusses the importance of mothers who formula feed learning how to make up formula safely.

Posted on: 28 November 2023

Read part one

How to make powdered formula milk safely

The safest way to prepare powdered formula milk is by using water that is boiled freshly in a kettle and is at least 70oC. Research by First Steps Nutrition Trust has shown that when 1 litre of water is boiled in a kettle if it is used within 30 minutes it will remain above 70oC.

It is important that all bottles and teats are washed and sterilised between every feed. Also, surfaces used for preparation should be cleaned and good hand hygiene is maintained.

The water should always be placed first into the bottle before the formula is added, always following the manufacturer instructions. The bottle then needs to be shaken gently and cooled to a temperature suitable for the baby to drink, either by holding the bottle under cold running water or standing it in a bowl of cold water. We do not recommend the use of rapid cooling devices or formula prep machines because the water isn’t the correct temperature when mixed with the milk. Before giving the milk to the baby, test the temperature with a few drops on the inside of the wrist.

Links to further guidance 

Information about safe preparation and the latest research about prep machines can be found via the link below:

Making infant milk safely

Watch a useful video that shows guidance around the safe preparation of the formula via the link below: 

Safe preparation of formula video

Further information for parents on making up baby formula is available on the NHS website via the link below: 

How to make up baby formula NHS website 


As health visitors, it’s important that when we discuss infant formula with parents, we don’t recommend any brand, however, we advise that first milk is used until the age of one. Follow-on milk is not required as babies can move onto cow’s milk from 1 year of age. Adhering to this ensures that we are following the UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes Resources. We are bound to follow this guidance because we are Accredited as Baby friendly. 


Learn more about different types of infant milk

Learn about plant-based alternatives for over 1 year olds.

There is no vegan formula milk and soya milk is not advised for under 6 months and only over 6 months on advice from a health care professional.

Learn about soya protein-based infant formula.


For more information, please email Hannah: