THE STORAGE OF FORMULA MILK
Several people have been asking me about the storage of formula milk as they have heard that there is new advice available. Things certainly have changed over the last few years, therefore I'm hoping this weeks blog may clear up some of those uncertainties.
Most people are aware that breast milk is a natural food for your baby and provides them with everything they need nutritionally for the first six months. However, some people choose to bottle feed for various personal reasons. Whichever choice you make, it is important to follow the latest advice as much as possible.
Some mothers decide to mix breast and bottle feeding although it is best not to offer formula feeds for the first 6 weeks so that you can build up a good supply first.
If you do breastfeed for a short time then decide to change to bottle feeding, some antibodies will be passed to your baby which will help to fight infection, and if you then decide to change back to breastfeeding, you may find that you need to express your milk to build up a good supply. Your midwife, health visitor or breastfeeding supporter should be able to give you the support you need.
The Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency have produced some new safety advice when using powdered infant formula milk, as it is very important to ensure that it is prepared in the safest way possible.
Powdered infant milk is not a sterile product, and can contain bacteria such as Enterobactor Sakazaki and Salmonella even though the tins and packets are sealed. This can cause life threatening infections if the feed is not prepared correctly. To reduce the risk, it is important to make up the formula milk with water at a temperature of around 70 degrees C as this temperature will kill off these bacteria. Therefore you should boil the kettle and then leave it to cool for no more than 30 minutes.
Very young babies are more at risk so it is better to use commercially sterile, liquid ready-to-feed products for premature or low birth weight babies.
Further changes to advice given is about what to do if feeding your baby away from home.
To ensure adequate safety when you are out and about at feed time, you will need to take with you;
- A measured amount of infant formula powder in a small, clean and dry container.
- A vacuum flask of hot water that has just been boiled.
- An empty sterilised feeding bottle with cap and retaining ring in place, which can be removed when you're ready to make up the feed.
Make up a fresh feed only when you need it. The water must still be hot when you use it otherwise any bacteria in the infant formula may not have been destroyed.
Remember to cool the bottom half of the bottle under cold running water before you feed it to your baby. The vacuum flask does not need to be sterilised but should be clean and only used for your baby. The boiling water should kill any bacteria in the flask. If the flask is full and sealed, the water will stay above 70 degrees C for several hours.
If you prepare a feed at home to take out with you, it should be stored for at least one hour in the rear of the fridge. You must then transport it in a cool bag with an ice pack and use within 4 hours. If you haven't got an ice pack or access to a fridge, then the bottle should be used within 2 hours.
- If a made up bottle is stored in a fridge it should be used within 24 hours.
- If a made up bottle is stored in a cool bag with an ice pack, it should be used within 4 hours.
- If a made up bottle is stored at room temperature it should be used within 2 hours.
Alternatively, an easy way to remain safe, is to use ready prepared liquid infant formula when you are out.
Take a look at the award winning "Chillipeeps" innovative teats that attach to all pre-prepared formula cartons and also juices for the older babies.
I hope you found this blog interesting and informative and I welcome your comments and views.