Bottle-feeding your baby

If you're planning to bottle-feed with expressed breast milk or infant formula, we have some tips to help you feed your baby and keep them safe and healthy.

First Infant Formula: This is suitable for newborns and should always be the first formula you give to your baby. Your baby can stay on this formula when you start to introduce solid foods at around six months, and continue on it throughout the first year.

When your baby is one year old, they can start to drink whole cows’ milk.

You can speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP,  if need more information about bottle feeding your baby.

Preparing to bottle-feed

You'll need several bottles, teats and a bottle brush, as well as sterilising equipment, such as a cold-water steriliser, microwave or steam steriliser.

Make sure you sterilise bottles and teats until your baby is at least 12 months old. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling sterilised bottle and teats.

If you're using infant formula, follow the instructions on the packaging carefully when you make up the feed.

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.

Bottle-feed 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 leave your baby to drink a bottle on their own.

Never prop or lean the bottle against a:

  • pillow
  • self-feeding pillow
  • any another support

Doing this could cause your baby to choke.

Make sure that you are sitting comfortably. Hold your baby close to you and look into their eyes when feeding. This helps the baby feel safe and loved.