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Formula: Safe preparation and feeding

If you are feeding your baby infant formula, take the time to learn about it. It’s important to know how to:

  • safely prepare and store formula
  • follow your baby's feeding cues
  • feed your baby comfortably

Call 311 to speak to a public health nurse about feeding your baby formula. Public health nurses are available Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Infant Formula: What You Need to Know (Multiple Languages)

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if my baby’s formula has been recalled?

Occasionally infant formula is recalled by Health Canada. If you are feeding your baby formula, it’s a good idea to subscribe to alerts.

Is it safe to use an automatic formula preparation machine?

Automatic formula preparation machines are not considered a safe way to prepare infant formula for the following reasons:

  • Powdered formula is stored in a non-sterile container inside the appliance.
  • There is a chance of incorrect measurement of formula.
  • Water is stored in a holding tank and is not sterilized. Even if it is sterilized prior to adding water to the machine, it will sit at room temperature and could grow bacteria.

With what types of water is it safe to prepare formula?

It is safe to use sterilized, cold:

  • sterilized, cold tap water;
  • sterilized, cold bottled water (with low levels of sodium and other minerals); and
  • sterilized, cold well water that has been tested regularly (for bacteria at least three times per year, and nitrates once per year).

With what types of water is it not safe to prepare formula?

The following types of water are not recommended for preparing formula:

  • Any water that is not sterilized
  • Water from the hot tap
  • Softened water
  • Mineral water
  • Flavoured water
  • Vitamin water
  • Carbonated water
  • “Nursery” water
  • Distilled water
  • Highly fluoridated water
  • Purified water
  • Demineralized water
  • De-ionized water
  • Any other water with unknown ingredients (minerals, etc.) or where the safety of the water is unknown

When can I stop sterilizing formula equipment and water used to prepare formula?

According to Health Canada, there is no safe age to stop sterilizing equipment (bottles, nipples, etc.) and water used to prepare formula. Therefore, it is necessary to sterilize the equipment and water as long as you are feeding formula to your baby.

Can I switch brands of formula?

Before switching to a different brand or type of formula, get advice from your healthcare provider.

If my baby didn’t finish their feeding of formula, can I save it for their next feeding?

It’s important to follow your baby’s cues and let them decide when their feeding is finished. Any formula left over when your baby is finished their feed should be thrown out as bacteria may have been introduced from your baby’s mouth.

Can I use a bottle to measure the amount of formula to add?

No, as the measurements on a bottle are not accurate. Using a sterilized measuring cup is the most accurate way to measure formula.