Getting formula ready in a hurry
All parents have been there – someone hasn’t sterilised the bottles, there is no made up formula in the fridge, and it is 3 am and your baby is waking the whole household and probably the street as well! You are half asleep, desperate to go back to sleep but need to get it sorted. Quickly. But above all safely because babies are more susceptible to disease.
Here are some tips!
- Wash your hands
- Get the steriliser on.
- Empty the kettle, fill with around 1L water or what you need and put it on to boil.
- Whilst these two things are happening, give the kitchen surface you will use a hygienic clean using quick squirt of anti-bacterial cleanser with a paper kitchen towel or an anti-bacterial wipe.
- I used to put some kitchen towel on the surface after this to be on the safe side in case I fumbled with the bottle.
- When the bottles are ready, being careful not to scald yourself from the steriliser or kettle, fill a bottle up to the required line with just boiled water from the kettle and assemble. Put the lid on.
- Depending upon the manufacturer’s instructions, you may need to add the formula when the water has cooled slightly, and if this is the case, cool the bottle slightly (keep the lid clear) under the cold tap whilst shaking it for just a couple of minutes to reduce the temperature a little. Not too much – you want the water to be hot enough to kill any bugs as formula isn’t sterile, so above 70°C is recommended when you add the formula. By the way, 70°C feels very hot to the touch!
- Add the formula following the instructions on the pack.
- Shake to mix and then cool rapidly under the cold tap OR have a pre-frozen wine or beer can cooler jacket to place the bottle in – this does the job very quickly indeed.
- Now you need it to be body heat – drop some on your hand to test it is not too hot – you should not be able to feel it touching your skin.
- Feed your baby.
- Screaming stops!
- Sleep (both of you hopefully).
Depending on the speed of your steriliser and kettle, this whole process should not take many minutes. The frozen cooler jackets for me were a life-saver! Get a few in the freezer. Try this out when all is calm to perfect the technique.
For more information see the NHS Guidelines or look on the web-site of your formula manufacturer.
Q and A
Q: Why do you need to fill up the kettle with fresh water each time?
A: You should not keep boiling the same water in a kettle for babies as it concentrates any unwanted chemicals in the water such as those causing hardness.
Q: Why do instructions say use 1 Litre of water?
A: Because they have worked out that if you leave one litre of water for up to 30 minutes it will still be hot enough to kill any bacteria in the formula (i.e. above 70°C).
Q: What is the optimum temperature for water when you add formula?
A: This will vary according to the manufacturer so check the pack. It must be above 70°C though to kill any bacteria.
Q: Should formula be sterile?
A: Dried foods are not completely sterile, as some bacteria survive even the drying process. However, manufacturers follow very strict procedures based on something called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) which was developed by the space industry to make sure astronauts didn’t get sick in space (think about it….)