Bottle Feeding

Bottle Feeding

Types of Formula Milk

Infant formula, also referred to as formula milk or baby formula, is derived from treated cows' milk to enhance its suitability for your baby.

 There are various reasons why you might opt for formula milk:

  1. If breastfeeding didn't go as planned.
  2. If you prefer a combination feeding approach, incorporating both breast milk and formula.
  3. If you are unable to breastfeed due to practical or health-related reasons.
  4. If you choose to exclusively formula feed.
  5. If you have completed breastfeeding.


Formula milk provides the essential nutrients for your baby's growth and development. However, it does not offer the same health advantages as breast milk, such as immunity against infections.

If you encounter challenges with breastfeeding and wish to explore alternatives, seek support from your midwife, public health nurse, or an online lactation consultant. They can guide various feeding options, including the possibility of returning to breastfeeding, if viable for you.

Avoid giving a baby under the age of 1 the following:
  • Regular cows' milk
  • Sheep's milk
  • Goats' milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Oat milk
  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk

The recommended formula for newborns is the First Infant Formula, and it should always be the preferred choice until your baby reaches 1 year old.

Formula milk typically contains two types of proteins found in cows' milk—whey and casein. First Infant Formula is primarily based on whey protein, which may be gentler on digestion.

Numerous brands of first formula milk are available in the market, all subject to regulations ensuring they contain the essential ingredients necessary for your baby.

Identify the First Infant Formula by the prominent number 1 on the packaging.

Formula for Hungry Babies

Formula designed for hungry babies has a higher content of casein compared to whey, with casein being a protein that poses a more challenging digestion process for infants. This particular formula is often marketed as suitable for infants with greater hunger. However, there is no substantiated evidence indicating that infants fed with this formula experience improved settling or longer sleep durations. Suitable for use from birth, it is advisable to consult with your Public Health Nurse (PHN) before introducing hungry baby formula.

Follow-On Formula It is crucial not to introduce follow-on formula to infants under the age of 6 months.

It is not recommended to switch to a follow-on formula at the age of 6 months, as it does not offer any discernible benefits for your baby. First infant formula can continue to be the primary beverage for your baby until they reach 1 year of age.

Exercise caution when distinguishing between follow-on formula and first infant formula, as their labels may closely resemble each other. Carefully read the label to avoid any confusion, noting that follow-on formulas typically display a prominent number 2 on the packaging.

What you need

For proper preparation of formula milk, ensure you have the following:

  1. A hygienic work surface
  2. A minimum of 6 bottles, along with their respective lids, discs, and teats
  3. Formula milk
  4. Access to a safe water supply
  5. A kettle
  6. Essential cleaning tools such as a bottle brush and a small teat brush
  7. Sterilizing equipment, such as a chemical, steam, or microwave kit
  8. Tongs for securely handling equipment during the sterilization process.

For sterilizing equipment, steam proves to be the most effective method. There are both plug-in and microwavable options accessible.


Additionally, you can utilize:

  1. Boiling water
  2. A chemical sterilizer

It is advisable to avoid UV sterilizers as they employ ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation technology. Currently, there is insufficient research to confirm the safety and effectiveness of these machines.

Instructions for preparing baby formula:
  1. Boil 1 litre of cold tap water in a kettle.
  2. Allow the boiled water to cool in the kettle for a maximum of 30 minutes, ensuring it reaches a temperature of at least 70 degrees Celsius.
  3. Thoroughly clean your work surface.
  4. Wash your hands with soap and warm water, drying them with a clean towel.
  5. Carefully follow the formula label's instructions to determine the required amounts of water and powder.
  6. Pour the precise amount of 70-degree Celsius water into a sterilized bottle, being cautious as water at this temperature can still cause scalding.
  7. Use the provided clean scoop to add the exact quantity of formula to the boiled water, resealing the packaging to protect it from germs and moisture.
  8. Securely screw the bottle lid and shake thoroughly to ensure proper mixing.
  9. Rapidly cool the feed by holding the bottle under cold running water or placing it in a bowl of cold water, making sure the cold water doesn't exceed the bottle's neck.
  10. Verify the temperature of the feed by shaking the bottle and placing a drop on the inside of your wrist—it should feel lukewarm, not hot.
  11. Feed your baby.
  12. Discard any unused formula left in the bottle within 2 hours.
  13. If your baby is a slow feeder, use a fresh feed after 2 hours.
  14. After each feed, clean and rinse the bottle and teat.

Learn more about preparing baby formula here.

Adding other items to your baby's bottle:

Adding foods to your baby's bottle can:

  • Cause damage to their teeth, even if they do not have teeth yet
  • Lead to them gaining too much weight

Refrain from offering anything to your baby aside from breast milk or infant formula until they reach a minimum of 17 weeks, preferably closer to 26 weeks. Avoid introducing sugar, rusks, or baby rice into your baby's bottle, and do not include any medications in their feeding.

Other drinks:

If your baby is formula fed, you can give them cooled boiled water. Do not give your baby any fruit juice. This includes pure, diluted and unsweetened juices.

Fruit juice can damage their teeth even before they have fully emerged. It can also give them a 'sweet tooth' and a preference for sweetened drinks.

Do not give your baby tea. Tea will reduce your baby’s iron intake.

Before you feed your baby a bottle:

  • Check that the Milk is lukewarm.
  • Sit in a safe, comfortable position.
  • Make sure the bottle teat is full of milk.

Check the bottle Temperature:

Make sure the milk is lukewarm. It should feel warm to the touch and not hot. Hot bottles can cause burns and scalds.

Check the temperature by shaking the bottle and placing a drop of liquid on the inside of your wrist. Do this before you give the bottle to your baby.

A formula-feed bottle will need to be cooled down after being made. Cool the feed quickly by holding the bottle under cold running water or place in a large bowl of cold water. Make sure the water does not reach the neck of the bottle.

If using a bottle that has been prepared in advance, warm it by placing it in a bowl of warm water. Make sure that the level of the water is below the neck of the bottle. You can also use a bottle warmer. Do not warm it for more than 15 minutes.


Bottlefeed Position:

Sit in a position that is comfortable for you and your baby.

Always hold your baby in your arms and hold the bottle in your hand.

Never prop or lean the bottle against a:

  • Pillow
  • Self-Feeding Pillow
  • Any other support
Paced bottle-feeding

When bottle-feeding your baby, it's important to pace the feed. This helps your baby control how much milk they drink and how quickly they feed. Paced bottle-feeding is a great way for the baby and carer to get used to bottle-feeding. It helps to make bottle-feeding as stress-free as possible for your baby. It can also reduce the risk of overfeeding.

 Follow the steps below to get started:
  1. Sit your baby upright in your lap and hold the bottle in a horizontal position.
  2. Tickle your baby's top lip with the teat of the bottle until they open their mouth.
  3. Let your baby take the teat into their mouth and suck.
  4. Tilt the bottle slightly towards your baby so the teat is full of milk.
  5. When your baby pauses, tilt the bottle down or remove the teat. This allows your baby to rest for a moment.
  6. Alternate feeding and pausing - pay attention to your baby's cues and stop when they have taken as much as they need to.
  7. Do not force your baby to take more if they decide to stop or show signs they've had enough

This works well because your baby can control the milk flow. If your baby is over 6 months and does not like a bottle, you can use a cup with handles on it. Only put a small amount of liquid into the cup initially until your baby learns how to feed. This will help you to avoid spilling and wasting milk.

After the feed

At the end of the feed, sit and hold your baby upright and gently rub or pat their back for a while. This will help to bring up any wind. Winding your baby will help get rid of swallowed air. Throw away any milk not used within 2 hours of starting the feed. If breast or bottle-feeding in bed, always return your baby to their cot for sleep. This will help to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (cot death).

 Responsive bottle-feeding

Responsive feeding means being aware of your baby’s cues or distress and responding to them. This can mean picking up on the early signs of hunger before your baby even cries. Feed your baby if they are hungry and stop if they are full.

 Tips for responsive bottle feeding:
  •  Make sure you or your partner do most of the feeds.
  • Encourage your baby to root for the teat. 'Rooting' is a reflex where babies will turn their heads towards something that touches their cheek or mouth and make sucking motions with their mouth.
  • Do not rush the feed.
  • Never force your baby to take a full feed.
Bottle Feeds away from home

Vomiting After A Feed:

Many infants occasionally expel small amounts of milk and regurgitate some during burping, which is typically a normal and nothing to worry about.

To minimize vomiting, ensure your baby remains in an upright position for 30 minutes after a feeding session. If you encounter issues with vomiting while bottle-feeding, consider using a smaller teat. Larger teats with faster flow rates might trigger your baby's gag reflex.

It's common for some babies to bring up more milk than others post-feeding. Although this may be concerning, especially if your baby appears upset, as long as their weight gain is satisfactory, there is likely no cause for concern.

Talk to your Public Health Nurse or GP if your baby seems to be in pain, the vomiting is forceful, or you are concerned about your baby.

Storing and Warming feeds:

When it comes to the storage and warming of bottle feeds, it is recommended for safety reasons to:

  1. Prepare a fresh feed each time it is needed.
  2. Provide the feed to your baby as soon as it has cooled to the appropriate temperature.

This is crucial because warm milk creates optimal conditions for bacterial growth, particularly when kept at room temperature.

Safe Storage of Bottles

To securely store prepared bottles:

  1. Follow the steps for safely preparing baby formula when making up the bottles.
  2. Position cooled bottles at the back of the refrigerator, ensuring that the fridge temperature is 5 degrees Celsius or lower.
  3. Discard any feed not utilized within 24 hours.
Warming up refrigerated bottles

To warm up refrigerated bottle feeds:

  1. Remove the bottle from the fridge just before you need it.
  2. To warm the bottle, place it in a bowl of warm water, making sure the level of the water is below the neck of the bottle. You can also use a bottle-warmer. Do not warm it for more than 15 minutes.
  3. Check the temperature of the milk by dripping a little onto the inside of your wrist. It should feel lukewarm, not hot.
  4. Throw away any feed that your baby has not taken within 2 hours of starting the feed.