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How to prepare and store bottles of infant milk?

Infant milk is available in two different forms. Liquid milk, which is sterilised and ready to use. Powdered milk, which needs to be mixed with water to reconstitute the milk. What equipment should I choose and how to I prepare a bottle? A little tour of the good practices to comply with!

Choosing the right equipment

For environmental health reasons, it is now recommended that we use glass bottles rather than plastic bottles.

 

At room temperature or reheated?

Even if baby can be given milk that is at room temperature, it is preferable to heat it up slightly in a bottle warmer or under the hot tap so that it is at 37°C for baby, just like breast milk. When baby is fed warm milk, it seems to be more digestible with fewer regurgitations. It is best to avoid using the microwave as this way of reheating can heat the milk up to extreme temperatures very unevenly, thereby causing a burn risk for your baby. What is more, microwaves destroy the probiotics found in some infant milks and modify the vitamins. It is recommended that you shake the bottle well and check the temperature of the milk by pouring a few drops onto the back of your hand or by holding the bottle against your neck before you give it to your baby.

EXPERT ADVICE: what kind of water should be used to prepare bottles?

If the quality of your water permits, you can fill the bottle up with tap water, subject to certain conditions. Your local town hall can tell you if your tap water is suitable. If it is, leave the tap to run for 1 to 2 minutes if you haven’t used the tap for a while, or 3 seconds if you used it recently, before starting to fill the bottle. Only use cold tap water because any water over 25°C may contain mineral salts and germs. The chlorine in the water will quickly evaporate if you put it to one side for a few minutes. Water should not be filtered or softened to avoid encouraging germs from multiplying and the tap should be kept in good condition (cleaning, descaling). The presence of medicinal product residues in water is currently an issue because these residues are not taken into account in drinking water standards.

If you are uncertain about the quality of your drinking water (particularly in cases of pipework containing lead), it is advisable to prepare your baby’s bottles with still bottled water, having first checked that it is labelled as being “Suitable for use in preparing infant food”, and ensuring that you don’t use a bottle that has been open for more than 24 hours.

The water that you choose should have a low mineral content, a dry residue at 180° below 500 mg/l (this information is provided on the label).

In the absence of drinking water or bottled water, cooled boiled water may also be used.

Note that in contrast to mineral water, spring water composition can vary over time, or come from several different springs, each with water of a different composition.

The key stages for a well-prepared bottle

  1. Wash your hands carefully using soap and water and then lay out the equipment on a clean worktop, ensuring that the bottle and teat are clean. These hygiene rules help prevent transferring germs to your baby.
  2. Fill the bottle up to the required mark.
  3. Only use the measuring scoop provided in the box of milk, ensuring that the powder is not heaped or pressed down into the measuring scoop as this will distort the quantities. Scoop up a measure of the powder from the box and simply even off the surplus powder using the tool provided in the box, or with a clean (to avoid contamination) knife to ensure that you have the correct dose and then add it to the bottle. Do not use your finger as the bacteria present on your hands may contaminate the milk. Count one even measuring scoop of milk powder for 30ml of water (the total volume obtained will be more than that of the water by itself). Always ensure that you measure out in 30ml doses and never in half-scoops as the quantities would be incorrect.
  4. After having closed the bottle, mix the water and milk powder by shaking the bottle energetically to prevent lumps from forming which could then block the teat.
  5. The bottle can be given at room temperature, but it is preferable to warm it slightly to around 37°C, which is temperature of breast milk.
  6. Quickly clean the bottle and teat as soon as the feed is over, with a bottle brush or in the dishwasher. The bottle and teat should not be dried with a tea towel, but should be left to air dry.

EXPERT OPINION: how much milk should you give your baby?

On your box of milk you will find instructions indicating the volume of water and number of measuring scoops to give your baby depending on their age. After the very first days, non-breastfed babies should be given an average of between 6 and 8 90 ml bottles over 24 hours, and towards 2 months, they should be offered about 5 bottles of 150ml over 24 hours.

It is important to note that these quantities are only averages that need to be adapted to reflect your baby’s appetite and how quickly they gain weight.

Never force your baby to finish their bottle if they don’t seem to want to: just like you, there are times when they will be hungrier than others. It is may be that they leave half of their bottle at one meal and then want more milk at the next meal: let them eat in accordance with their requirements! Similarly, the times that they want eat and the intervals between bottles can also vary: it is important to respect the baby’s rhythm.

Storing milk

Doses of powdered milk can be prepared in advice, but a bottle should never be prepared in advance: if you are planning on going out, take the required quantities of water and powdered milk separately and mix them just before the feed.

If your baby doesn’t finish their bottle, discard the remaining milk: a prepared bottle does not keep for more than an hour. The box of milk can be kept for about 1 month after opening, provided that is firmly sealed and stored in a cool, dry place.

How to clean a bottle

The bottle should be cleaned as quickly as possible after the milk has been consumed. Rinse the bottle and accessories in cold water. Then, using a long brush (swab or bottle brush), wash the bottle with hot water and little washing-up liquid. Do the same with the teat and the screw top(s). Rinse thoroughly and leave the various parts of the bottle to air dry, never use a tea towel. Put away in a clean place.

The swab must be washed and rinsed after each use.

The bottle can also be washed in the dishwasher, provided that it is rinsed beforehand. In this case, wash all the accessories (apart from rubber teats) on a full cycle at a temperature of at least 65°C that includes drying.

Expert opinion: should bottles be sterilised?

Expert opinion: should bottles be sterilised?

If all the equipment is cleaned thoroughly, sterilisation is not a necessity, but can be done during the first months.

There are various techniques used to sterilise bottles depending on what equipment you have available:

  • specific electrical steriliser,
  • microwave,
  • in boiling water.

Sterilisation should always preceded by thorough washing.

There is no need to sterilise if you clean bottles in a dishwater with a programme > 65°

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Questions / Answers

If your baby is allergic to cows milk proteins, seek the advice of your doctor. They will help you find the best alternative.

Your baby knows when they are hungry and when they have had too much to eat. You must respect their appetite and never force them to finish what is on their plate. Just like adults, your baby may have more appetite on one day than on another and may not always want to finish what you give them for various reasons. Nonetheless, it is important to make sure they have an appetite at mealtimes by restricting how much they snack between meals and always offer them age-appropriate sized portions.

Dietary diversification generally starts between 4 and 6 months. Certain signs indicate that your baby is ready to accept other foods apart from milk, particularly the fact that they seem to be very interested in what you have on your plate and watch you eat by following your movements. They may also mime chewing and they know how to let you know that they have had enough to eat. Diversification takes place slowly. Different products are introduced progressively and with certain textures.

For more information and advice on dietary diversification, take a look at our tools:

Rest assured, a baby who is still hungry will quickly let you know. A baby who is full also knows how to show it it you! It is important to respect baby’s rhythms and their signs that they are full. Never force them if they are not hungry. If the quantities prescribed by your doctor don’t correspond with what your baby actually consumes, don’t hesitate to talk to them about it.

Making up a bottle is very easy. There is nothing complicated about it, you just need to apply a few hygiene rules and use the right quantities. Don’t hesitate to take a look at our detailed illustrated tutorial and you’ll soon be making up bottles like a pro!

After 12 months, other foods can be introduced into baby’s diet and quantities can be increased. For more information, refer to our calendar of flavours and textures.

Furthermore, milk is still an essential part of baby’s diet after 12 months. It is therefore recommended that between the ages of 12 and 36 months, you continue to give baby a 3rd stage growth milk, specially formulated to fulfil the nutritional requirements of babies in this age range: they are low in protein and contain the nutrients that baby may be lacking, such as iron and essential fatty acids.

After 6 months, infant milk is still just as important! Between 6 and 12 months, it is possible to give baby a 2nd stage follow-on milk.

Additionally, at 6 months at the latest, dietary diversification has started and baby can be given different foods in addition to milk (breast milk or infant milk). For more advice on what baby can eat between 6 and 12 months, quantities and textures, refer to our calendar of flavours and textures.

Nactalia follows WHO recommendations and encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. If you cannot or do not wish to breastfeed, talk to your doctor who will be able to prescribe a suitable 1st stage milk. Between 4 and 6 months, baby’s diet can be diversified and other foods can be given to baby, provided that they are a suitable texture. For more advice, follow our calendar of flavours and textures.

Up to the age of 3, baby has very specific nutritional needs. In particular they need more iron, calcium and essential fatty acids than an adult.

“Normal” milk, or cows milk, which the whole family drinks is generally too rich in proteins and lacking in iron for baby. Infant formula fulfils their needs more effectively.

Between 1 and 3 years, the dairy equivalent to be consumed is 500ml/day. The minimum recommended amount of growth milk (which is specially formulated to provide all of the nutritional requirements of babies in this age range) is 300 ml/day, which is then supplemented with other dairy products to make the recommended 500ml.

Cows milk does not fulfil the specific nutritional requirements of baby before the age of 1.

Between 1 and 3 years, cows milk can be given to baby, but it is preferable to continue with growing-up milks : they contain less protein and all of the nutrients which baby may be lacking, such as iron and essential fatty acids.

Between 0 and 6 months, opt for exclusive breastfeeding and if you cannot or choose not to breastfeed, seek the advice of your doctor. Between 6 and 12 months, it is possible to give baby a 2nd stage follow-on milk. Between 1 and 3 years, it is preferable/advisable to give baby a 3rd stage growth milk.

Progressing from the breast to the bottle corresponds with weaning baby, or in other words is the moment when baby stops breastfeeding and starts using a bottle or starts to have a more varied diet if they are between 4 and 6 months old. It is an obligatory step that can take place very calmly if the transition is managed gently.

To guide you in this transition and help you wean baby gently, we have prepared lots of advice and tips which you can find in our article “A gentle transition for successful weaning”. For even more advice, take a look at our tools for mothers:

Each infant milk has a different flavour and it takes time for baby’s body to adapt. It is recommended that you introduce the new formula progressively, alternating it with the previous one.

Weight gain is not significantly different between breastfed children and those fed with a bottle. Additionally, regular, continuous weight gain is fundamental during baby’s first months. There is no need to worry, each baby is different and grows at their own rate. However, if you are concerned about your baby’s weight, don’t hesitate to talk to your paediatrician.

If you have chosen industrial infant milk, it does not usually cause intestinal gas.
However, if your child is suffering from minor physiological problems such as intestinal gas, certain milks have been specifically formulated to reflect these requirements. For example, Nactalia AD-LF milk has been specially formulated to help babies who are sensitive to lactose to recover from the temporary or permanent symptoms of lactose intolerance, such as intestinal gas, irritation and diarrhoea.
We recommend seeking the advice of your doctor.

Note that intestinal gas may also be the result of colic since babies cry a lot and swallow air

Food allergies are common in children.
Breastfeeding remains the best protection against allergies. Even if breast milk only provides partial protection against the risk of future allergies, no infant formula does any better.
Additionally, if you have chosen an industrial milk, it may be that your child is allergic or intolerant to the lactose or the cows milk protein present in the milk that you have chosen. Solutions are available for children who are sensitive to this kind of allergy, such as the milks containing extensively hydrolysed proteins which have proven to be effective in clinical studies.

However, if this is the case and before doing anything else, we recommend that you consult your doctor.

If you have chosen industrial infant milk, it does not usually cause constipation.
However, if your child is suffering from minor physiological problems such as constipation, certain milks have been specifically formulated to reflect these requirements. For example, Nactalia COMFORT milk has been specially formulated for the dietary treatment of intestinal problems such as constipation.
Before choosing your milk, we recommend seeking the advice of your doctor.

If you observe minor physiological problems in your baby, such as colic, regurgitation, constipation or diarrhoea, this can mean that the infant milk you are using is not fulfilling the requirements of your baby (even if gastrointestinal problems are very common during the first few months of life).

In any case, there is no reason to worry, solutions are available! But before choosing, we recommend that you consult your doctor.

The quantity of milk baby requires each day depends on their age. Note that Nactalia follows WHO recommendations and encourages exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. For more information on how much milk to give your baby each day, you will find instructions on your Nactalia box indicating the volume of water and number of measuring scoops to give your baby depending on their age.

It is important to note that these quantities are only averages that need to be adapted to reflect your baby’s appetite and how quickly they gain weight.

Never force your baby to finish their bottle if they don’t seem to want to: just like you, there are times when they will be hungrier than others. It is may be that they leave half of their bottle at one meal and then want more milk at the next meal: let them eat in accordance with their requirements! Similarly, the times that they want eat and the intervals between bottles can also vary: it is important to respect baby’s rhythm.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months as breast milk is the optimal form of nutrition for a baby.

If you cannot or do not wish to breastfeed, it will be necessary to choose an infant formula suited to the child’s age. These infant formula fulfil their nutritional requirements, both in terms of macronutrients (lipids, carbohydrates, proteins) and micro nutrients (vitamins, iron, zinc and other minerals…), as well as the absolutely essential provision of calcium.

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor to advise you in your choice of milk.

Breastfeeding is the best way of fulfilling baby’s specific requirements. This is why Nactalia encourages and recommends breastfeeding up until the age of 6 months. If you cannot or choose not to breastfeed, your doctor is the most suitable person to advise you.

Attentive to the needs of mothers and their babies, our scientific teams have studied in depth the composition of breast milk and have devoted their efforts to formulating infant milk formulas that best meet the baby’s natural needs and specific metabolism.

Nactalia offers a range of different formulas to provide the necessary nutrients to ensure your baby grows and develops healthily.

Making sure that baby grows healthily is the n°1 concern for parents!
And achieving this starts in the very first days of life, ensuring that baby gains weight, regularly, every month.
Breastfeeding is the best way of fulfilling baby’s nutritional requirements. However, if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, the infant milk formulas of Nactalia have been formulated to provide baby with all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth.

Each child has their own specific requirements and children do not gain weight in the same way. So don’t worry!
But if you are feeling overly concerned about your baby’s weight, then talk to your paediatrician.

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