Formula Feeding | A quick guide for newborn-3 months

For the safety of your baby, it is really important that formula is prepared correctly in a sterile and safe way. This is especially important during their first 3 months because your baby’s immune system isn’t strong enough to fight off some infections. Here’s how to do it:


  • Formula of choice
  • Boiled + cooled water
  • Bottles + teats with an age appropriate flow
  • Bibs or absorbent cloths
  • Formula dispenser optional
  • A safe way to warm the formula: Electric bottle warmer, pot of hot water
  • A safe way to clean + sterilise the feeding equipment: Microwavable steaming unit, UV steriliser, chemical sterilising tablets etc (read our guide on cleaning, sterilising and storing bottles and feeding equipment here)


  1. Pour cooled, boiled water into a sterilised bottle - how much you need depends on how much you are making 
  2. Following the directions on the formula tin, measure the right number of scoops into the bottle (using the scoop from the tin). Level off each scoop before you add the formula to the water. Seal the bottle with a ring and cap 
  3. Thoroughly mix the powder and water by swirling the bottle gently then giving the bottle a good shake
  4. Babies don't require warm milk but if you wish to heat it up, place the bottle in a small pot with a few inches of hot (not boiling) water for up to 15 minutes (never use the microwave as it can heat milk unevenly and create hot spots). You can also use an electric bottle warmer or simply run it under a hot tap until it reaches the desired temperature
  5. Check the temperature of the formula by tipping a few drops on the inside of your wrist - it should feel lukewarm  
  6. If your baby doesn’t finish all the formula, throw it away within an hour


    • Writing the date you opened the formula on the lid of the tin may be helpful. Any opened tins of formula should be thrown away after one month
    • Bottle feeding requires less effort from your baby and in some cases, their need to suck is not satisfied by bottle-feeding alone. Exclusively bottle fed babies may benefit from using a pacifier
    • When your baby drinks from their bottle, they’ll also swallow any air bubbles present in the milk. Be sure to burp your baby 1-2 times during a feeding
    • Night time feeding can be a brutal in those first few weeks. Prepare some easy to eat snacks and water to keep yourself awake and alert. I chose to chew gum - I found the minty flavour refreshing and woke me up, while the chewing stopped me from dozing off
    • Prepare measured formula in a formula dispenser for night time feeding. Lack of sleep can interfere with mental clarity and if you're anything like me you may lose the ability to count scoops at 2am. Having the formula pre-measured makes it a lot easier
    • Boil your water in bulk and store it in a sterilised, sealed container in the fridge or at room temperature for up to 24 hours
    • Carefully read the directions on the formula tin. Different formulas have different-sized scoops and you make them up in different ways
    • Always check the expiry date at the bottom of the tin
    • Find a brand of formula that suits your baby + budget and stick with it - chopping and changing is not recommended

    Always consult with your midwife, Plunket nurse or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns surrounding formula feeding. 

    Tania of LMB

    Back to blog

    1 comment

    So nice to see an unbiased, informative article on bottle feeding. I know almost all of the bottle feeding new mothers in my circle felt completely abandoned and discriminated by their midwives for bottle feeding. Personally I outright lied to my midwife, because I couldn’t be bothered dealing with the fallout, on top of everything else as a first time mum. I feel this reflects an area that is very poorly approached by many midwives. My daughter could not latch properly for various reasons, and the lactation consultant told me I could be relying on a nipple shield (which also didn’t work well) for several months. But even backed with this information, it was easier to lie to my midwife than feel bullied (and I absolutely did feel bullied).


    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.