Infant Formula Safety Guidelines
The following guidelines from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) dietitians will help you make sure formula is safe to feed your baby. Designed for children undergoing a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, these guidelines apply to all children.
Commercially sterile ready-to-feed and liquid-concentrate formulas should be used when available and nutritionally appropriate. The powdered form of infant formula should be used only when commercial, sterile liquid products are not available.
- Do not buy or feed your infant formula beyond the expiration date. All formulas are marked with a “use by” or “use before” date to ensure a fresh, high-quality product.
- Return any formula that is out of date at the time of purchase to the store where you bought it for exchange or reimbursement.
Sterilizing Bottles & Nipples
- Sterilize all equipment and water used in preparing infant formula.
- Use a dishwasher, if available, to wash bottles, nipples, lids, and rings.
- Otherwise, wash in hot, soapy water. Use a brush to clean the inside of the bottle.
- Rinse a minimum of three times with the hottest tap water (180°F). If unsure of rinse-water temperature, dip bottles, nipples, lids, and rings in boiling water for 30 seconds.
- Use clean tongs or two forks to transfer boiled equipment to a clean towel to drain before filling.
Storing Opened Formula
- Tightly cover and immediately refrigerate opened cans of formula. Use within 48 hours.
- Place prepared formula in clean, sterilized bottles. Refrigerate and use it within 24 hours.
- Infant formula should not be frozen because physical separation of the product may occur.
Methods of heating infant formula include:
- Heating the formula separately in a pan and transferring to a clean, sterilized bottle
- Heating the bottle containing the formula by placing in a pan containing simmering water
- Heating the bottle containing the formula in the microwave oven
- Use caution when microwaving, as the bottle may remain cool even if the formula in the bottle becomes hot enough to burn your infant.
- Factors influencing heating time include: 1) initial temperature of the formula; 2) size of the bottle; 3) variability among microwave heat settings.
- After heating formula, shake the bottle to evenly distribute the heat. Then check the temperature of the formula by testing a few drops on the inside of your wrist before feeding.