The safest way to provide nutrition for your child is exclusive breastfeeding. There will be times when babies receive infant formula. It’s important to know the guidelines for preparation and storage to avoid contamination. Make sure your family and day care providers know these, too.
A good rule, for all food, is to always wash your hands after diaper changes, sneezing, handling raw meat, petting animals.
Formula contamination happens in the factory, sometimes in the home. To minimize that risk, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that infants two months and under receive only formula in a can. Powdered formula is not sterile, whereas canned formula is.
Here are the basic rules for preparation and storage.
• Check expiration date. If the container is damaged, don’t use it.
• Wash your hands and the area where you’ll be working.
• Boil the water that you’ll be using with formula powder.
• Follow the directions to measure and mix correctly.
• A bottle of formula needs to be consumed in two hours or tossed.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O) has guidelines to reduce contamination. It is more detailed than this short blog. Please read it.
Cleaning is important and fairly simple:
• Using hot water and soap, or a dishwasher, will get the bottles, etc. clean enough. You can buy a little basket that holds the little parts in the dishwasher.
• Any food for your baby should be heated in a pan of warm water. Microwaving causes uneven heat pockets and that’s dangerous.
Breast milk is a live, not a prepared, food. You can store breast milk at room temperature for 6-8 hours. To clean a breast pump, scrub the parts and bottles in hot soapy water, then rinse in hot water. Once in twenty four hours is fine.
Life is full of germs and messes. Your children are naturally building their immune systems, partly through exposure. You also protect your child by following these precautions.