Infant Formula

Health Canada recommends breastfeeding your baby. If you are trying to decide how to feed your baby, talk to your healthcare provider or check out Choosing How to Feed Your Baby.

If you have made an informed decision to use infant formula, Infant Formula: What You Need to Know provides information to help you choose, prepare, store and feed your baby infant formula. The sections below provide some highlights.

Choosing Infant Formula (click to expand) »
  • Use a commercial cow milk based infant formula, unless directed by your healthcare provider
    • Homemade formulas are not recommended because they do not have the nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop
  • Powdered infant formula is not recommended for:
    • Babies who are premature or had a low birth weight and are under two months of age
    • Babies with a weakened immune system

Check out Infant Formula: What You Need to Know for other important information.

Preparing Infant Formula (click to expand) »
  • Wash and sterilize all bottles and feeding equipment and sterilize water used to prepare formula. There is NO age at which it is safe to stop sterilizing equipment or sterilizing water when preparing infant formula.
  • To prepare formula, use one of these types of water:
    • Municipal tap water (unless there is a boil water advisory or a drinking water non-consumption advisory in your community)
    • Well water that is tested regularly to make sure it is safe
    • Bottled water that has no added minerals or vitamins
  • Follow the directions on the formula package for the amounts of water and formula
  • Automatic formula preparation machines are NOT recommended for use at home
  • Heat the bottle of formula in a container of warm water. You can also use a bottle warmer. Heating bottles in the microwave can create “hot spots” that could burn your baby’s mouth.

Check out Infant Formula: What You Need to Know for other important information.

Storing Infant Formula (click to expand) »
  • It is best to use formula immediately after preparing it.

Check out Infant Formula: What You Need to Know for other important information.

Feeding Your Baby Infant Formula (click to expand) »
    • Check to make sure the formula is not too hot before the feeding
    • Use your baby’s appetite to guide you on how much formula to feed. Follow your baby’s cues for hunger and fullness.
    • Throw out any leftover formula after the feeding. Never reuse, reheat or put it in the fridge to use later. Leftover formula may start to grow harmful bacteria after two hours.
  • Always hold your baby in an upright position when feeding. Cuddle, talk to and look at your baby while feeding.

Check out Infant Formula: What You Need to Know for other important information.

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Last updated: 2021-08-02