Infant Formula Safety Guidelines

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.

Expiration Dates

  • 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  • Return any formula that is out of date at the time of purchase to the store where you bought it for exchange or reimbursement.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.

Heating Formula

  • 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:
    • Initial temperature of the formula
    • Size of the bottle
    • 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.